Miami Heat Rely on Canon BU-45H Robotic HD Cameras at Arena

The Miami Heat are currently utilizing four Canon BU-45H remote-control robotic pan-tilt-zoom HD cameras for broadcasts, giant-screen displays, and facility monitoring at its AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami. Two cameras are located inside the facility for game action and crowd shots while the other two are located just outside the arena for scenery and crowd shots.

Inside the arena, one Canon BU-45H remote control robotic camera is mounted just beneath the center-hung scoreboard and is used to capture wide overhead HD shots of game action and images of fans, which are used for broadcasts and shown on LED displays all over the arena, including the primary scoreboard’s 16-by-9-foot screens. The second BU-45H is mounted on the far end of the area behind the basket to provide grand HD wide shots for broadcast and display inside the arena.

“Our directors and producers love the BU-45H,” says David Vickery, director of broadcast services for the Miami Heat. “From a TV standpoint, it provides dramatic HD shots and angles that we want to use, making it very important as a production tool. Once we started using Canon BU-45H cameras, however, we realized how well they also worked for POV [point of view] shots. The great HD lens on the BU-45H enables it to zoom into a point of interest or back out for a really nice wide shot.”

Equipped with a weatherproof outdoor housing, the BU-45H is also used outside the arena for broadcast and facility service purposes. They are primarily used to capture POV shots of fans arriving at AmericanAirlines Arena and scenery shots of the Miami skyline.

The West Plaza camera captures fans arriving through the arena’s main gates for display on the 3,400–square-foot MiamiMediaMesh screen mounted to the exterior of the building. This BU-45H can also be used to capture shots of the Miami skyline for broadcast and to verify that the screen is working properly.

The East Plaza camera faces the waterfront side of the arena and is used to provide beauty shots of Biscayne Bay as well as coverage of the arena’s East Plaza, where the Heat marketing department stages events for fans.

The BU-45H combines an advanced Canon three-CCD HD camera with a Canon 20X optical zoom lens (4.5-90mm) and a sophisticated remote-control pan-tilt system. It employs three 1/3-inch (1,670,000-pixel) CCDs and delivers 1920(H) x 1080(V) 16:9 HD video via an HD SDI serial digital interface. The camera also includes a remote-control three-position ND (neutral density) filter, Canon’s advanced Auto Focus function, and Canon’s Image Stabilizer technology.

“The optical quality of the Canon BU-45H is outstanding,” Vickery said. “In addition to that is its built-in Image Stabilization feature. One of our outdoor BU-45H cameras sits on a pole and vibrates in the wind, so the Image Stabilization feature is key for us. A lot of other camera systems don’t even provide that type of feature.”

The BU-45H’s remote-control robotic pan-tilt mechanism is capable of extremely smooth pans of 340 degrees and tilts of 80 degrees (30 up, 50 down). Weighing in at approximately 37 pounds, the BU-45H’s outdoor housing is built to sustain extreme temperatures and it features a windshield wiper blade to keep the lens port clear.

“Since this building opened in January 2000, all of our camera systems have had Canon lenses,” commented Vickery. “The BU-45H is the best for both our broadcast and our POV needs. This extends from the HD picture quality of the camera itself, to its HD zoom lens, to its pan-tilt operation, and to its controller interface. The Miami Heat’s goal is always to produce video that keeps the crowd constantly entertained. The Canon BU-45H camera system is a big part of how we make the fan experience that much better.”