Fletcher Group, an Emmy Award-winning specialty capture production partner and equipment provider, was looking for a compact, lightweight, and easy to use camera that could shoot pristine 1080p HDR and 4K video right out of the box. As 4K and HDR production become more commonplace, having the flexibility to capture robust and enhanced imagery provides tangible advantages to production companies.
The company standardized on Sony’s new HDC-P50, a versatile 4K/HD/HDR/HFR system camera in a portable form factor. Boasting a 3-chip 4K Global Shutter imager with native 4K(UHD) resolution, High Dynamic Range, and a wide color gamut, the new camera packs a powerful punch in a lightweight, easy to transport body. This is precisely why the team at Fletcher felt the HDC-P50’s were the missing piece for their live productions.
Due to its size and adaptability, the camera has been used to capture numerous large scale sporting events. The company has found that it’s beneficial to shoot in 4K with the HDC-P50’s, even if a broadcast will be shown in HD. Seven HDC-P50’s were used to shoot tennis in 4K, and “there’s tremendous value in having those 4K images for zoom extraction,” said Dan Grainge, President and CEO of Fletcher Group. “We were able to zoom in on the ball after a play to make it look like the camera’s physically panning, tilting and zooming because of the cutout that we’re getting by recording the 4K information.”
Sony has hit the mark with this camera by having high frame rate and 4K HDR capabilities all in a small and switchable box camera. From a cost versus capabilities perspective, we found the versatility this camera offers to be superior to anything else on the market.
Dan Grainge, President and CEO of Fletcher Group
Grainge finds HDR presents a new world of possibilities. “We also just used the P50’s on the MLB All-Star Game in both 1080p and 1080p HDR and the versatility they offer is not available in any other current box camera,” Grainge continued. “While HDR is currently focused on premier events, when we’re using it, the quality and depth we’re seeing shines through. We’re seeing the capacity and benefits of HDR in all the areas we had hoped – from light differences, high contrast and different paint or color capabilities that offer much more depth. Simply, it brings a better image to the screen.”
Another benefit of the HDC-P50 is its compact size. This enables the program producer to shoot from new locations and vantage points. Grainge described, “The P50 allows us to put a 4K and HDR camera where we haven’t been able to in the past. We can now have cameras in small, hard to reach places like behind backboards and baseball diamonds, or in TV booths where traditionally, you can’t have a full-sized camera. It even enables high-end 4K HDR in specialized locations where previous cameras were too big.”
As Fletcher embraces its place within the NEP ecosystem, cameras like the P50 are helping them collaborate. “This is the first time we can take a camera and match it to the NEP truck cameras without upconverting or cross converting, without colorizing it – essentially without compromise,” Grainge explained. “In years past, we had not been able to match the higher quality of the truck camera, but now we can go in and offer the same quality camera that the truck is using.”