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University of Idaho Deploys 6 Hitachi Z-HD500 Cams for Vandals Football Webcasts

Video Production Center produces game-day entertainment including highlights and replays that display on the stadium's 20x10 foot Daktronics display, as well as the Dome's HD Cable TV system, and the VandalXtra live game webcast
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Hitachi Kokusai Electric America, Ltd., today announced that the Video Production Center (VPC) at the University of Idaho, in Moscow, Idaho, uses six Hitachi Z-HD5000 HDTV studio/field production cameras to produce high-definition video during Idaho Vandals football games. 

At  the ASUI-Kibbie Dome, the University of Idaho’s 16,000-seat covered football field where the Division 1 Western Athletic Conference team plays, the VPC produces game-day entertainment  including   highlights and replays that display on the stadium’s  20x10 foot Daktronics display, as well as the Dome’s HD Cable TV system, and the VandalXtra live game webcast. 

As U-Idaho’s in-house video production service, the VPC also produces and webcasts HD video of convocations and commencements held at Kibbie, as well as the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, a prestigious, annual jazz music event that draws thousands of visitors to the University.   

“While we bought these new Hitachi HD cameras to replace aging SD cameras, they’ve taken our video production to a whole new level,” said Dave Tong, manager/producer for the Video Production Center, which is part of the Creative Services unit of U-Idaho’s Communications and Marketing department.  “These cameras give us great picture quality, dependable performance, and useful, convenient features—like the ability to store operator settings for faster easier setup at future events.”

Equipped with Fujinon XA20sX8.5 HD lenses, the six Hitachi Z-HD5000 cameras are workhorses that are constantly on the go. They are part of a fly pack that includes a NewTek TriCaster 855 integrated production switcher, NewTek 3Play 820 HD replay system, and Sony HVR1500A HDV/DVCAM VTR, along with six Hitachi CU-HD500 camera control units and six Hitachi RU-1000VR remote control units.

The gear is packed into four road cases and transported by van wherever events are taking place on campus, including the Kibbie Dome,  the University Auditorium, the Idaho Commons as well as the VPC’s own  studio within the Student Union Building (SUB).  

The purchase of the cameras coincided with the University’s 2011 renovation of the Kibbie Dome—which included new skyboxes, safety improvements, and fiber cabling runs—that was financed by state funding as well as private donations.  VPC took that opportunity to obtain its own financing to upgrade the Kibbie Dome’s video production control room, including broadcast quality HD cameras that could maximize the fiber cabling and the new HD TV system in the suites, club deck, and press box areas, including the official’s replay review system. 

“We chose the Hitachi Z-HD5000’s because their three 2/3-inch CCDs produce superior native 1080i HD imaging and the fiber adapters take full advantage of the stadium’s fiber cabling,” Tong explained.  “The CCU’s integrate all the operational features we were looking for at an economical price.”  The CU-HD500 CCU provides many features including two tally lights, two return video sends, power, two intercom channels, and a dedicated teleprompter channel per camera. 

“Before we started using these Hitachi cameras, we were spending a lot of time resolving technical issues or searching for spare parts,” Tong continued. “They’ve proven to be high-quality yet cost-effective camera systems in every regard.”

The Hitachi cameras capture every aspect of Idaho Vandals football, including game action, crowd shots, fan appreciation activities, and the team’s entrance from the tunnel onto the field. The TriCaster ISO-records camera signals and the program on its hard drives, webcasts live shows, outputs video for big-screen display, and outputs video to the Sony HDV VTR.

U-Idaho webcasting also gives a global audience the chance to appreciate cultural and arts events taking place at the University, such as the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, a premiere jazz music event now in its 44th year.  Student performances at the Young Artist Concerts can be seen live or on demand at the University’s website, or purchased as commemorative DVDs.  The Hitachi cameras also provide the IMAG for the concerts inside the Kibbie Dome during the festival, which features world-class jazz musicians. 

The Hitachi package was purchased through Hitachi dealer VMI, Inc., in Spokane, WA.

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