August 18, 2023
3 min read
Panasonic Connect can provide professional AV solutions for a range of businesses and events. Here's a look at how and why one company is using Panasonic technologies to broadcast race meetings.
Sky Racing Queensland has chosen Panasonic to supply a variety of outside broadcast (OB), production and specialty cameras as the core of a major production upgrade that is transitioning coverage of thousands of thoroughbred, greyhound and harness races each year from a copper/triax-based to IP/fiber-based workflow as it plans an ultimate migration to a centralized REMI production hub here.
The company, which distributes race coverage to Totalisator Agency Board (TAB) venues, gaming apps, homes and internationally, selected Panasonic after a comprehensive assessment to provide OB, production and specialty cameras and other equipment for the upgrade.
“Our core business is to provide outside broadcast facilities for race meetings around Queensland. We also add hosts to most of our TAB Provincial and Metropolitan race days, both at the meetings and remotely and cover special events, such as barrier draws and awards evenings,” said Mark Bonnici, Sky Racing Queensland’s OB manager.
“We have a diverse range of shooting requirements and our old fleet of cameras and copper-based infrastructure was aging so we engaged with Mojo Media Solutions to start the evaluation process for replacement options," he added.
Sky Racing purchased multiple Panasonic AK-UC4000GSJ 4K studio cameras, AJ-CX4000GJ 4K field production camcorders with Videosys wireless backs and AW-UE100KEJ 4K PTZ cameras.
The camera refresh also served as an opportunity to transition from copper/triax-based production to IP and fiber, a move that fits in with Sky Racing’s bigger picture plan of creating a centralized REMI production hub.
“Moving to an IP/fiber-based workflow gives us improved human resources and equipment efficiencies by utilizing [SMPTE] ST 2110 and other IP based workflows like SRT and NDI to centrally locate our core operations. This means we now only need to transport essential equipment and personnel to the race meetings,” said Bonnici.
In addition to the cameras’ picture quality, reliability and value, another plus was Panasonic’s ability to offer a complete IP workflow across studio, field production and PTZ cameras with standard Remote Operation Panels (ROPs), he said.
Sky Racing also evaluated Panasonic’s PanaPod camera elevation units that may one day be used with the AW-UE160W/K PTZ cameras, said Sky Racing technical operations manager Jamie Ford.
“The shots from the AW-UE100KEJ and PanaPod were so smooth that we were getting calls from our Sydney office asking us just how we managed to get a camera jib and operator in such a small area,” said Ford.
Sky Racing’s new AK-UC4000GSJ studio cameras use a large 4K sensor with high-speed output in HD mode. The cameras output 4K via 12G-SDI and HD at the same time. The IP/12G/3G Interface Kit AK-NP600G – an optional accessory – can be equipped for ST 2110 support when required.
The new AK-HRP1010 ROPs are paired with the AK-UC4000GSJ 4K studio cameras and 4K PTZ cameras for control and paint. When paired with the AJ-CX4000 4K field production camcorders, the AK-HRP1010GJ runs remotely via a Videosys/DTC wireless back.
Sky Racing also has combined the AK-UC4000GSJ 4K studio cameras and AJ-CX4000GJ 4K field production cameras with its AW-UE100 PTZ cameras.
“The Panasonic studio and field production cameras combined with the premium PTZ cameras have enabled the team to get more creative with the shot selection without having to sacrifice on the picture quality or video performance, said Bonnici.
“The combination of these cameras with IP control also gives us the flexibility to address all of our shooting requirements, both local and remote, so we can decide which configuration best suits the activity of the day.”
While the centralized production hub is being built, Sky Racking’s existing workflow is based on live horse racing coverage produced out of an OB facility that uses multiple OB and ENG cameras while the new PTZ cameras are used in the studio and on site.
“…[S]ince using the Panasonic cameras, we now feel our production values and quality are as good if not better than any others in the market,” said Bonnici. “The fact that Panasonic is also able to offer a complete IP workflow across all of our new cameras with common operation panels enables us to be more innovative, take our production values to the next level and is simply the icing on the cake.”