Fletcher Sports Taps Sony Cameras, Fujinon Lenses for ESPN’s Monday Night Football
Close-up cameras covering the goal line have moved from the nose-bleed seats to level with the main coverage ‘game’ cameras during ESPN’s Monday Night Football. ESPN, working with longtime partner Fletcher Sports, is using Sony HDC-4800 4K ultra-high frame rate cameras with FUJINON PL 20-120mm Cabrio lenses for goal-line close ups for each Monday night broadcast. Because ESPN’s NEP EN-1 truck uses all Sony cameras, the Sony 4800 cameras easily integrate into the complement, enabling the director to cut to the 4800s live.
For Fletcher Sports, a company that has worked with ESPN since 1991 on the development of specialty cameras, the most exciting part of the Sony 4800/FUJINON lens combination is that cameras once considered “specialty” can now enhance the quality of live-game production in real time.
“In the past, a lot of the 4K and high-frame-rate camera systems, once you get up to the ultra-high frame rates, are pretty much there as just a replay tool,” said Fletcher Sports Program Manager Ed Andrzejewski. “Now with the camera quality that Sony brings and the lens quality FUJINON’s brought on for the 4K cameras, specialty cameras can be cut in live to your regular production.”
Previously, high-speed cameras used for replay shots were placed higher up in the stadium, which required a longer lens. “Now, with the cameras at the same level as the main game cameras, ESPN needed a wider angle lens,” added Ed Andrzejewski.
A variety of lenses were tested prior to the Monday Night Football season opener, and the FUJINON PL 20-120mm Cabrios fit the bill thanks to their wide angle, clarity, and speed. The zoom range enables camera operators to zoom out to capture every player on the field and, in the same shot, zoom in to determine if the ball crossed the goal line.
The FUJINON PL 20-120mm Cabrio zoom features an exclusive detachable servo drive unit, making it suitable for use as a standard PL lens or as an ENG-Style lens. It features flange focal distance adjustment, macro function, and is LDS (Lens Data System) and /i metadata compatible. The lens weighs just 2.9 kg and features a T stop of T3.5 end-to-end, a 20-120mm focal range. It covers a S35-sized sensor (Super 35 format) on a digital cinema-style camera. The lens is also fitted with a nine-blade iris to capture the most natural looking imagery possible. It comes equipped with all the lens data outputs that are required by today’s cine-style shooters. FUJINON’s PL 20-120mm Cabrio offers optical precision and zoom performance in a robust, lightweight, and affordable package.