Gearhouse Boosts Production Quality for Live Cricket Coverage with Hitachi HDTV Cameras

Mobile broadcast and production specialist cites balance of reliability, performance and cost as significant to success

Cricket is perhaps second only to soccer in popularity in the international sports world. This is especially true in the West Indies, where eight teams spanning 18 nations recently competed in the NAGICO Super50 2015 Regional Cricket Tournament. Gearhouse Broadcast, a global leader in TV broadcast solutions across mobile production, systems integration and equipment sales and rentals, supplied the onsite broadcast and production facilities in Trinidad for the two-week tournament — relying exclusively on HD/SD broadcast cameras from Hitachi Kokusai Electric to raise the production quality across the acquisition chain.

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Employing 16 Hitachi cameras, Gearhouse captured the on-field action across three venues for worldwide broadcast, including 15 matches seen live on the ESPN network. The acquisition chain featured 12 Hitachi SK-HD1200 cameras for general coverage and four of the company’s new Z-HD6000 cameras for unmanned operations. Both models provided the Gearhouse team with exceptional picture quality, reliability in challenging weather conditions and comprehensive camera control.

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According to Marc Genin, managing director, Americas for Gearhouse Broadcast, the wet and humid tropical climate of Trinidad was chief among his reasons for choosing Hitachi cameras for the tournament.

“These are long days, and the weather changes rapidly,” said Genin. “The atmosphere is very wet and when it rains, it rains hard. The rain stops play, but the cameras stay out there. They remained reliable under circumstances where we would expect failure. The design and quality of these are cameras are apparent in their construction, and we had no performance issues for the entire two weeks. This is true of our experience with Hitachi cameras worldwide. We regularly operate in environments that are particularly unfriendly to electronic equipment, and have yet to lose a camera in three years.”

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Remarkable fluctuations in sunlight are also common in Trinidad due to the often-quick onset of cloud cover. Genin notes that this is where the Z-HD6000, which Hitachi formally introduced in late 2014, particularly shines. The Z-HD6000 incorporates 3 MOS imaging sensors, which nearly eliminates video noise, vastly improves dynamic range and offers superb color rendition. The MOS sensors also reduce signal support electronics, lowering manufacturing costs and offering stable and precise operation throughout the camera lifecycle.

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“Ordinarily, unmanned cameras typically require color correctors to match the images to the main coverage,” he said. “We didn’t require external color correction as we easily matched the Z-HD6000 pictures to the look we were seeking. The MOS sensor has excellent image reproduction characteristics while giving our shaders plenty of latitude to offer more pleasing pictures across the board. At the end of the day, Hitachi helped us raise the quality of the entire production compared to previous NAGICO tournaments.”

Though Gearhouse has other cameras in its portfolio, Genin expects to continue using Hitachi cameras for the majority of his outdoor sports productions, including the upcoming U.S. Open 2015 tennis tournament to be broadcast on ESPN in late summer.

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About Hitachi, Ltd.
Hitachi, Ltd. (TSE: 6501), headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, delivers innovations that answer society’s challenges with our talented team and proven experience in global markets. The company’s consolidated revenues for fiscal 2014 (ended March 31, 2015) totaled 9,761 billion yen ($81.3 billion). Hitachi is focusing more than ever on the Social Innovation Business, which includes power & infrastructure systems, information & telecommunication systems, construction machinery, high functional materials & components, automotive systems, healthcare and others.

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