Live From the U.S. Open: Fox Sports Embraces HDR, With 50+ Cameras Setting New Benchmark

Fox nearly doubles the number of HDR cameras it used on last year’s edition

The 2018 U.S. Open production saw the use of 28 cameras shooting in HDR. This year, that number tops 50, which Brad Cheney, VP, field operations and engineering, Fox Sports, says meets the needs of partners who want in on HDR, gives an uplift to images that are ultimately delivered in SDR to the vast majority of viewers but, more important, allows the beauty of Pebble Beach Golf Links to shine.

HDR coverage of the U.S. Open showcases the unique beauty of Pebble Beach Golf Links.

“To grasp the beauty of this place, you need to be in HDR,” he says. “When the sun is full, it is mind-blowing how great it looks in HDR, but even the SDR side is gaining a lot, as it is a much better picture across the board.”

One of the big questions with an HDR production that is also being delivered to viewers in SDR is whether to shade the cameras in HDR or SDR. Fox is shading in SDR but with experts looking at HDR monitors and then helping the SDR shade team adjust the images as needed.

“We are still shading in SDR as that is our bread and butter. With HDR cameras and wide color gamut, the course does look as amazing as it can,” says Cheney. “Even on overcast days, there are parts of the clouds you can see in HDR that you can’t see in SDR.”

Of all the sports, he adds, golf benefits the most from HDR: “It definitely makes the biggest impact in golf, but this is a turning point: we have a lot of HDR events this month and will continue to push it across the board.”