New Zealand’s Westpac Stadium Builds New Control Room Around Broadcast Pix Granite

Westpac Stadium, a 34,500-seat multi-purpose facility in Wellington, New Zealand, has upgraded its video production capabilities with a complete retrofit of its control room in order to implement a widescreen presentation and digital production workflows. At the heart of the overhaul is a Broadcast Pix Granite 5000 video production system, which feeds video and graphics to two large replay screens installed at the north and south ends of the stadium.

“From day one, we have had a production room with capabilities in excess of what any other ground in New Zealand had,” says Craig J. Bain, Westpac producer/director. “We are just ensuring that we keep up with technology changes and features available for our various clients. We are really happy with our new system, and Broadcast Pix has been absolutely fantastic with support.”

Westpac hosts a variety of concerts and sporting events, and will host at least seven matches during the Rugby World Cup 2011 later this year. Before the upgrade, the 4:3 video production was stretched to fit the 16:9 replay screens. Through the Granite 5000, productions are produced in HD, then down-converted to widescreen SD for stadium replay (due to a fiber infrastructure that can only support SD). The 2 M/E capability of the Granite 5000 also allows Westpac to display a different presentation on each screen.

Systems integrator Gencom Technology installed the Broadcast Pix system in December. Bernie Huynen of Gencom Technology says the company was tasked with a finding a solution that “could be operated by one operator for small events and up to three or four operators on larger events.” An on-site demo convinced the Westpac Stadium Trust that the Granite 5000 could handle these operational demands.

The Granite 5000 replaced an aging 16-input Ross analog switcher, Inscriber CG, and clip server. Using the system’s built-in Fluent Multi-View, Westpac was able to reduce a large bank of CRT monitors to four dedicated 21-inch LCDs for the technical director. One of the monitors, showing all the sources is split to the CCU position, is used for camera shading. For visitors and other personnel, the control room also has three 42-inch LEDs on the wall, which are fed by a separate Harris multi-viewer. In addition, Gencom installed a separate Harris router for additional system redundancy.

Bain is particularly pleased with Fluent Watch-Folders, Granite’s built-in file management system, because he can access new graphics and clips that have been created during a live production. “It’s an amazing feature of the system. We’re loving it,” he explained. “Watch-Folders allow you to add content while the show is live. You can see it pop up and it’s ready to use.”