Toronto Maple Leafs and Raptors TV stations powered by Panasonic DVCPRO
March 5, 2002

by -- Broadcaster Magazine

TORONTO (March 5) – The new team-owned Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors specialty sports channels are being closely watched as the potential future of sports broadcasting – and they’re achieving their goals using Panasonic DVCPRO.

Both Leafs TV and Raptors NBA TV were launched in Canada on September 7, 2001 as category 2 direct-to-home (DTH) digital channels. Leafs TV is dedicated entirely to the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, while the Raptors channel, which is run in partnership with NBA TV, is devoted to basketball and everything Raptors.

“We’re the first teams to own and operate our own TV stations in North America, so we’re being watched very carefully by other organizations in both leagues,” said Duncan Blair Operations Manager of Leafs TV and Raptors NBA TV, which are owned by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd. “It could be the future of sports broadcasting. Using the Panasonic DVCPRO equipment allows us to achieve our goals in a very cost-effective manner without compromising on quality.”

Pre- and post-game shows are all shot using up to three Panasonic AJ-D400P cameras. On the road, Blair says the ability to playback video directly out of the camera and send it back to the station is a huge benefit, saving reporters from having to travel with a playback machine. He adds that sometimes reporters and production crew also use the AJ-LT85 Laptop Editor to package their material before sending it back via fibre lines. There’s also dedicated fibre lines from the Air Canada Centre to the production studio, where material is edited and mastered on DVCPRO format.

Both stations share the 11,000 square foot production facility, which features one main on-site studio, a master control room, principal production area, including VTR and Edit Suites, a central equipment room housing all the technical hardware, and offices for staff. Edit and VTR suites house seven AJ-D850P Studio Component VTRs, two AJ-D250P Desktop Editing VTRs and five AJ-D455 studio editing VTRs.

“Everything is shot on DVCPRO and then transferred to our non-linear editing suites before converted back to DVCPRO for the master,” explains Blair. “Programs are loaded to our server for On-Air playback. For what we do, DVCPRO definitely meets our needs. It’s competitively priced and gives you good picture quality.”

Programming on both stations include broadcasts of games, pre-and post-game shows, live feeds from practices, features and documentaries.

“The DVCPRO format is ideally suited for specialty digital DTH stations,” said Gordon Stephen, Sales Support Manager, Broadcast and Security Systems Department from Panasonic Canada Inc. “It’s cost effective and, being digital, easily converted to meet current and future needs.”

Panasonic Canada Inc. (PCI) is a sales subsidiary of Matsushita Electric Corporation of America (MECA), the North American arm of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. (MEI) of Japan. MEI is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of quality electronic products for industry, business and the home. Panasonic Canada’s Industrial Division markets digital storage products, OEM components and subsystems to a diverse range of industries. For more information on Panasonic products, visit the company’s web site at www.panasonic.ca.



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