When the Washington Redskins kicked off the 2010 regular season against the Dallas Cowboys, its fans were treated to a completely new stadium experience thanks to a comprehensive HD upgrade to the FedExField video control room and infrastructure by Communications Engineering, Inc. (CEI).
The new system enables the event-day control room to originate HD programming and to transmit the signals to the new FedExField HD LED video displays and stadium-wide video distribution systems, and places the facility at the leading edge of NFL stadium technology.
The system features the ability to receive and record video and audio feeds from network TV production trucks, as well as video signals from the dedicated video replay system, cameras and other external audio and video sources. CEI was responsible for project management, space planning, final design, equipment procurement, systems integration, interfacing with the new 100ft-wide Daktronics video boards and data processors, installation, testing, and training for the HD upgrade. CEI has provided systems integration and service for the Redskins for many years, and handles game-day operations for the broadcast and audio/video systems at FedExField.
The fans experience a dramatic improvement in the video, graphics and sound, and CEI’s staff has seen significant advancements in the system capabilities and operation on game day.
The systems integrator was responsible for developing engineering and operational information, while producing conceptual and detailed designs for the FedExField control room requirements. The project included generating floor plans, signal drawings, schedules and power requirements, as well as designing operating consoles, furniture and interfaces to existing stadium systems. It is designed to integrate with the HD broadcast trucks at FedExField.
CEI also performed complete integration, testing and training at FedExField, while providing equipment and project management services for the entire modernization process, including schedule and budget controls. The system features new routing and production switching systems, monitoring equipment, fiber transmission equipment, intercom system and HD cameras.
One of the main goals was to improve the workflow in the room, and this was accomplished with more efficient digital equipment, improved consoles and a more effective layout. The existing control room was completely gutted to accomplish that goal. A key challenge was the deadline, because the facility had to be ready in time for the start of the football season. Also, CEI’s staff had to work in conjunction with contractor personnel because the space was being completely renovated at the same time.
The upgrade also included a file-based workflow system that allows easy audio and video clip storage and playback. Plus, the new control room features a multiviewer at every operator position, allowing many sources to be easily viewed and managed from anywhere in the room. The end result is a much more efficient system and a greatly enhanced experience for the fans.
New studio technology – nonbroadcast
Submitted by Communications Engineering, Inc.
CEI: Frank Giliotti, VP of technical services; Felix Pena, dir. of mechanical eng.; Matt Weiss, sr. managing eng.
Washington Redskins: David P. Donovan, COO; Lon Rosenberg, SVP ops.
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