Ikegami Serves Up Cameras for U.S. Open

Tennis fans watching this year’s U.S. Open will see the tournament in HD, as captured by F&F Productions, an American provider of mobile production facilities. Specialists in HDTV coverage of sports and entertainment events, F&F Productions will be using two of its state-of-the-art 47-ft. Double Expando mobile facilities – GTX-16 and GTX-15 – as well as a full complement of Ikegami HDK-79EC HD Native Multi-Format CMOS Camera Systems and the HDS-V10 tapeless GFCam HD Camcorder.

Ikegami HDK-79EC HD Native Multi-Format CMOS camera systems were chosen by F&F Productions for coverage of the U.S. Open, which begins next week.

“We’ve been using Ikegami cameras exclusively for many years,” states George Orgera, founder and CEO of F&F Productions. “From image quality to reliability to service, we are very pleased with the performance of Ikegami. We have outfitted the GTX-16 and GTX-15 with the very best HD production equipment available to provide our clients and their viewing audiences with the ultimate in image quality, as well as the ultimate in audio quality, and a comfortable, efficient working environment for the production staff.”

F&F Productions deploys its mobile vehicles nationwide. The GTX-16 and GTX-15 parked at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City for the U.S. Open are both capable of accommodating up to 24 CCU’s with three complete video positions. Both trucks also carry Ikegami SE-79D System Expanders to configure the HDK-79EC HD CMOS cameras as either “hard” or handheld units. Each System Expander includes a 9-inch 16:9 color LCD viewfinder with an especially wide viewing angle and low lag, which are critical for location use.

Cool, Multi-Format HD
The Ikegami HDK-79EC employs three 2/3-inch 2.5 Mega-pixel-specified CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductors) image sensors, which provide such advantages as reduced power consumption, multi-format HD video capture, and high-speed imaging capabilities. These 1920H x 1080V active-pixel CMOS sensors are switchable between interlace and progressive readout modes. Providing a full 16:9 aspect ratio, the HDK-79EC’s CMOS sensors can deliver 1080/60i, 1080/24p, and 720/60p HD. Also available are optional 50Hz formats, 1080/50i and 720/50p, and high-speed dual-link 1080/60p, and – for Super Slow Motion – 720/120i.

“Thanks to the Ikegami CMOS technology used in the HDK-79EC’s, all of these HD formats are native, which is fantastic,” Orgera notes. “Whichever one our clients want – whether for sports or for sitcoms or episodics – we can do it. Camera operators also love the HDK-79EC’s because the reduced power consumption of their Ikegami CMOS sensors makes the cameras cooler to the touch. They’re also lighter-weight.”

The HDK-79EC features a docking-style camera head that can be easily configured for use with either triax or SMPTE fiber cable from the same CCU for excellent flexibility in field-production applications. That CCU (model CCU-890M) is a full-digital camera control unit that includes a built-in broadcast down-converter and a simple front-panel switch for selecting camera-cable type.

Tapeless Production
The Ikegami HDS-V10 tapeless GFCam HD camcorder that F&F Productions has on hand at the U.S. Open serves as an ENG camera for interviews with players and coaches, local beauty shots, and other highly mobile applications. Using MPEG-2 compression and the MXF file format for an open-codec HD/SD recording architecture compatible with all leading edit systems, the GFCam is a rugged 2/3-inch three-CCD camcorder that records to non-proprietary removable GFPak Flash media.

Other products in Ikegami’s GFSeries product line include the GFStation GFS-V10 Flash memory studio deck, GFS-P10 GF Station Portable half-rack-wide portable player/recorder, and the GFS-V10PL GF Player desktop playback unit. GFPak media provides up to 128GB capacity (for 4 hours of 50Mbps HD) and includes a convenient USB port for instant access to file-based HD video even when a GFPak isn’t installed in either a GFCam or deck or player.

“We’re glad we have the GFS-V10 deck in the truck,” Orgera says. “We insert the GFPak into it for instant playback.”

Also employed by GTX-16 and GTX-15 at the U.S. Open are Ikegami HDL-50 compact full digital HD cameras for POV shots. These small, lightweight “box”-style cameras can be mounted atop high vantage points for unmanned “bird’s-eye-view” shots. A fully digital camera, the HDL-50 employs 2.5 Mega-pixel CMOS sensors for native multi-format HD operation, including 1080/59.94i and 720/59.94p directly from the camera head.

Inside GTX-16 and GTX-15, meanwhile, Ikegami HLM-1750WR and HLM-2450WB Multi-Format HD LCD monitors provide space-saving, color-accurate HD displays in the video-control area. Lightweight despite their 17- and 24-inch wide-aspect-ratio 16:9 screens, both offer low power consumption and multiple signal inputs for versatile video monitoring.