Friday, March 25, 2005

Keep your binoculars in. This is the giant screen age!

Keep your binoculars in. This is the giant screen age!
Vijay Times

THE M Chinnaswamy Stadium has a new look. It has got a fresh layer of paint. There are those colourful chairs placed neatly and in order. There are those advertisement hoardings all across the boundary line and it still is that lush green outfield. And there’s something else, which catches your eye, literally. And that one thing may well lead you to believe you are entering the famous Wanderers Stadium or for that matter the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground). That’s the effect the giant video screen has added to this lovely venue.

Most cricket venues around the world these days have these giant video screens. And the beautiful Chinnaswamy Stadium too has joined that list. And what better occasion than an Indo-Pak clash to start proceedings!

The Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) has kept up with the demands of the sport and been up to date with the progress in technology. The giant screen is only the logical ‘next step’ the KSCA could have taken. The KSCA has tied up with a South African-based company for the installation of the screen. “It is not a novel idea as such. We wanted our facilities to be up to date with the times. We wanted to do it earlier but the costs were a bit high. But now, we got a good pricing and a good quality screen and we opted to upgrade our facility. It is a much better screen than the ones seen in Chennai, Chandigarh and Kolkata. The screen in Chennai costs Rs.4 crore and that is a 10-years ago technology. We got the latest in terms of technology for Rs. 2 crore. If you take a look at it, even in the day time, the picture is very clear,” says Brijesh Patel, the secretary of the KSCA.

Despite having the latest in terms of technology, spectators were not able to see the slow motion replays, mainly the referrals to the third umpire. This is being done so as to comply with the International Cricket Council (ICC) regulations. “We’ve been told not to show slo-mo replays of doubtful decisions,” says Lorna Kerr, the production manager for the giant screen display. “Perhaps those instructions have came to us to avoid crowd disturbances,” she says. The South African-based company is involved in the design of state-of-the-art multimedia communications systems, providing displays, control equipment and software for a multitude of applications. Their main areas are scoreboards, video display screens and combined text and graphic messaging displays with real time data capabilities. They provide solutions for sport, business, entertainment and the transportation markets. They first started out with airport signs and have installed most of the airports in South Africa with LED boards.

A three member team two of them women – Lorna Kerr, Sue Abbott and Nikola Merdjurac came to Bangalore two weeks for the installation.
“It is our first cricket installation in India,” says Lorna. On how the entire system operates, Lorna says, “There would be four people starting with the Scorer, who feeds the scores into the computer. Then, there is the Production Manager who sends out the information to the Mixing Desk. The Production Manager is the one who gets the various messages done like welcome messages, interesting statistics about the ground, the name of the umpires, the statistics of the opening bowler and the opening batsman, wagon wheels, batting charts. He is the sort of the ‘archives’ guy who gets out all the details and sends it to the mixing desk. The person at the Mixing Desk is the one who decides what goes when. And that is done through the software called MX70. And then, there is the Field Spotter whose main job is to spot the players on the field and co-ordinate with the desk so that they can pick up the relevant stats regarding a player,” says Lorna and adds, “It is the television scoring software that we use.”

And it is not easy as it seems. There is a lot that goes into making it a success. “There are a lot of preparations which goes on. We have to create a lot of signs. And the pages we display and have are different. It varies depending on the size. And we have to work according to the size of the board,” says Sue.


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