Bexel Arms MSU Spartans With ‘Coach’s Camera;’ Custom Builds Housing

When the Michigan State Spartans took to the field for the 2015 football season, “reach higher” was more than just the team motto. It was also a call to technological excellence from their innovative coaching staff. Michigan State University’s football department has a full time video staff, and they wanted to record every home game and stadium practice from an additional end zone perspective. The footage would never be aired, but would prove invaluable for the team’s inhouse coaching applications. The university came to Bexel ESS looking for a solution to meet their particular end zone needs.BexelESS

“When Michigan State approached us with this project, they needed to install a camera in their stadium’s north end zone, but it needed to meet very specific requirements,” notes John Mills, business development manager for Bexel ESS. “They wanted to get a very good camera angle, but we needed to be concious of aesthetics and sight lines, all while working around a number of video boards that had recently been installed in the target area. The camera mounting also needed to be quite stable, and the entire unit needed to withstand Michigan football season weather.”

Bexel ESS proceeded to design, build and install a fully enclosed, completely weatherproof camera housing for the “coach’s camera,” that has both a heating and cooling element inside, as well as a “windshield wiper” on the front glass that can clear rain to get a clean camera shot. Inside the case, Bexel ESS installed a Panasonic AW-HE870 HD broadcast camera with a 20x optical zoom lens.

“We mounted the camera on a custom designed pole that was high enough to get over the top of the video boards, but also provided the stability that’s needed to deal with the harsh elements like wind and rain, as the camera can’t afford a lot of movement,” says Mills. “We sourced a local vendor in Michigan to construct the steel specialty pole, along with some additional stability structure. So the camera can see over the boards, but it is unobtrusive enough not to distract fans from the game or the video content.”

In addition, Bexel ESS ran a fiber optic line from the camera back to the sideline area, connecting to a customized case that housed all the equipment needed to manipulate and operate the camera. The case houses a monitor with a camera controller and a recording device.

“On game day, or for practice, they can walk in, open up the case, slide out a shelf, turn on the monitor, and have full operation of the camera in a matter of minutes,” says Mills. “They can easily pan, tilt and zoom, recording exactly what the coaches want to capture. We have a great relationship with the ‘team’ at Michigan State, and it was a pleasure to work with them on this project. They were very happy with our solution, and they gave a shout-out to the fantastic installation team we had on site. Bexel ESS is ideally suited to projects of any scale, and we love coming up with innovative ways to help our customers deliver.”