Sony, Fujinon Gear Score Key Role on ‘Monday Night Football’

Sony camera and Fujinon lens handle close ups for goal line plays
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Sony camera and Fujinon lens handle close ups for goal line plays

WAYNE, N.J.—As teams got closer to the end zone, ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” broadcasts would often bring viewers closer to the action with goal-line close-ups. To so, ESPN worked with Fletcher Sports for the 2017 NFL season, which provided Sony HDC-4800 4K ultra-high frame rate cameras with Fujinon PL 20-120mm Cabrio lenses to capture goal-line plays during game broadcasts.

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The combination of the Sony and Fujinon equipment allows Fletcher Sports to use what was once considered a “specialty camera” for live-game production in real time.

“In the past, a lot of 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 Ed Andrezjewski, Fletcher Sports program manager. “Now with the camera quality 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.”

High-speed cameras are now being placed at the same level of the main game cameras, which require them to have a wider angle lens. The Fujinon PL 20-120mm Cabrios provided the angle, clarity and speed the broadcast was looking for, enabling camera operators to zoom out to capture every player on the field as well as zoom in to determine if the ball crossed the goal line.

The PL 20-120mm Cabrio lens has a detachable servo drive unit to allow it to be used as a PL lens or an ENG-Style lens. It features flange focal distance adjustment, macro function and is LDS and /I metadata compatible. The lens weighs in at 2.9 kg and features a T stop of T3.5 end-to-end. In addition, it covers a S35-sized sensor; is fitted with a nine-blade iris; and is equipped with all lens data outputs.

ESPN has one more remaining NFL broadcast this season, the AFC Wild Card game between the Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs on Jan. 6.