Challenge: To provide all-encompassing entertainment in the world's most modern baseball stadium, a highly complex video production system that connects with numerous technologies was needed.
Solution: The KAIROS IT/IP platform was chosen as the backbone of a full production system for synchronizing video, lighting, and sound.
Es Con Field Hokkaido, a revolutionary baseball stadium, opened its doors in March 2023 as a cutting-edge ballpark outfitted with two of the world's largest screens connected with the KAIROS video production system to enchant fans with breathtaking video, lighting, and sound. The concourse encircles the interior of the movable-dome stadium, which was built in Japan for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters baseball team. This is also the only ballpark in the world where fans can watch games from an on-site hotel or even hot springs and saunas!
To fully utilize gigantic 86-meter wide displays, programming that was not constrained to 16:9 ratios had to be generated. Panasonic's KAIROS IT/IP technology was chosen because it allows video with varying aspect ratios and resolutions to be intuitively overlaid. Furthermore, around 600 digital-signage screens were added throughout the stadium for immersive real-time viewing experiences. For extremely efficient operation, the systems are integrated via a central management system (S-CMS)*, together with lighting and sound.
Dynamic Production Thanks to KAIROS' Amazing Flexibility. KAIROS is a ground-breaking live switcher that uses CPUs and GPUs for video processing to provide a multilayered approach with no limitations on MEs or keys. Furthermore, KAIROS handles video with a wide range of aspect ratios for both input and output, which is hard to do with traditional live switchers.
“We wanted something new that people could experience only at our ballpark/stadium, so we set scalability and flexibility as the themes for our entertainment system. We knew that we had to constantly deliver new experiences involving the best and newest technology. The idea was for fans not only to enjoy the team's success, but also to be thrilled by memorable entertainment experiences throughout each game, and every time they come back. When I first saw KAIROS, I was truly impressed by its flexibility and design concept of unrestricted aspect ratio. In addition, I sensed that it had the potential to keep pace with the expected evolution of Es Con Field. In the past, complicated switchers could only be operated by technicians, but KAIROS is an amazingly intuitive system that entertainment producers can operate without restraint to achieve artistic expressiveness.” -Mr. Takafumi Morino, head of entertainment management for the ballclub's parent company
Seamless Integration with Proprietary Systems
"Together with Fighters Sports & Entertainment, we developed a proprietary system as the core of our real-time video production, integrating a sports coder, CG equipment and more, which we named ‘Metaball’. We also created a macro system to automatically activate KAIROS from Metaball via the KAIROS control protocol. Our goal is to provide live spectator experiences throughout Es Con Field. For example, if there is a home run or big play, the large screens and approx. 600 digital-signage displays simultaneously switch to the action. Of course, such action is unpredictable, so our CG team follows the game from a window in the control room, rather than via monitor, and then uses the KAIROS control protocol to send, for example, a 'home run' command from Metaball, after which KAIROS instantly displays the scene throughout the stadium. In the case of a conventional switcher, multiple people would have to operate the system simultaneously to capture and project the action. But thanks to KAIROS' high-level system integration, we can achieve real-time production with a single operator." -Mr. Shoji Kumamoto, representative director of SITE4D Inc.
Low-latency Connection with Hundreds of Digital-signage Displays
A CATV solution based on head-end technology manages around 600 digital-signage screens that display gaming and video entertainment together with light and sound, as well as advertisements and other information. With a half-second delay, multi-channel distribution is conceivable. When the audience celebrates, live footage is sent nearly instantly to all digital-signage screens in the concourse, restaurants, hot springs, and so on.
“Sitting in the seats to watch a game is one thing, but since Es Con Field is designed for enjoying games from practically anywhere, we installed approx. 600 digital-signage displays throughout the ballpark. Low-latency delivery was critical, so we adopted Panasonic's digital signage system to display content with less than a half-second delay. The result is that everyone can share the experience together, at practically the exact same moment.” -Mr. Takafumi Morino, head of entertainment management for the ballclub's parent company
Integrated Management for Extra Efficient Operation
Approximately 600 digital-signage displays may be turned on and off at the same time utilizing a touch panel in the control room and the integrated management system (S-CMS). In addition, the system monitors the status of all digital-signage displays and delivers notifications if there is a problem. For seamless production, the S-CMS is linked to KAIROS as well as large-screen, lighting, and sound systems.
"Linkage to all systems via the S-CMS has greatly streamlined our operations and reduced our staffing needs. But we are always striving to create new ballpark experiences, so rather than worry about cutting staffer, we focus on utilizing our comprehensive system to take on new challenges." -Mr. Takafumi Morino, head of entertainment management for the ballclub's parent company
Read the full article from Panasonic HERE