Fox, CBS and ESPN Deploy New Sony Cameras for Sports

In its broadcast debut, the HDC-F5500 camera was used during Fox’s coverage of baseball’s American League Championship Series between Boston and Houston. (Image credit: Sony)

PARAMUS, N.J.—Sony Electronics has announced that Fox, CBS and ESPN have been using Sony Electronics’ new HDC-F5500 Super 35mm system camera in ways that brought an engaging cinematic aesthetic to the coverage of baseball and football games. 

The cutting-edge imaging technology in the Sony HDC-F5500 Super 35mm 4K Camera System provided shallow depth of field to heighten the passion and provide new cinematic looks of the action on and off the baseball diamond and football field, Sony said. 

“The HDC-F5500 camera was designed specifically for live event production, with feedback from the industry, so it’s fitting that its first public uses allowed it to capture some of the most anticipated sporting and broadcast events of the year,” said John Studdert, vice president, media solutions, Sony Electronics.  “With the implementation of the HDC-F5500, Fox, CBS and ESPN continue their commitment to amplifying audience engagement through artistic and innovative uses of technology. The emotion and competition of these games were elevated by the camera’s cinematic storytelling abilities. In addition, it seamlessly integrated with all of the other Sony cameras in use at these events, to enable new forms of expression for the production and viewers alike.” 

“The F5500 captured cinema grade images which matched the tone and quality of the main broadcast seamlessly with an interface that our operators use daily,” added Brad Cheney, Fox Sports vice president of field operations and engineering.

In its broadcast debut, the HDC-F5500 camera was used during Fox’s coverage of baseball’s American League Championship Series between Boston and Houston. It was equipped with a long box lens and positioned behind the first base dugout during games 3, 4 and 5 of the series.  Several replays showcased the camera’s creative capabilities.

CBS employed the HDC-F5500 during the football game between Chicago and Tampa Bay on October 24, capturing Tom Brady’s emotionally charged 600th career touchdown pass. It was used throughout the game both in a handheld configuration on the near sideline, as well as in a live application, providing an engaging cinematic look, Sony said. 

ESPN incorporated the system camera into the Monday Night Football matchup between Kansas City and New York on November 1, where the camera was integrated into the key sideline cart position. Content captured with the camera transformed the look and immersivity of several plays during the game and integrated with the complement of additional Sony HDC-series cameras also in use during the broadcast.

Highlights of the new HDC-F5500 camera system include a highly sensitive Super 35mm, 4K CMOS global shutter image sensor that enables lush images with several available color gamuts, as well as the use of PL mount 35mm lenses.  

The camera also features a high frame rate capability of up to 120fps, making it a valuable tool for sports production. A motorized 8-step ND filter allows for the precise selection of focus depth and works with a flexible shutter system for capture of fast-moving subjects. And it offers a highly sensitive imager, the HDC-F5500 for stunning pictures in both bright lighting and night games, Sony said. 

George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.