Fox Sports used a Sony A7R IV during a broadcast to give NFL fans a more intimate and cinematic experience, according to a tweet from NFL Network reporter Mike Garafolo and article by Sports Video Group (SVG). The relatively inexpensive rig was deployed in the end zone and seamlessly intercut with the network’s broadcast cameras.
.@DangeRussWilson ➡️ @hollister_jacob— NFL (@NFL) December 20, 2020
📺: #SEAvsWAS on FOX
📱: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app: https://t.co/wVOF39iejf pic.twitter.com/qpq6xSjd60
Nicknamed “Megalodon,” the rig is made up of a Sony A7R IV, Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM lens, DJI Ronin-S gimbal, a field monitor and a 1080p wireless transmitter. Operator Mike Smole called it a “poor man’s Steadicam,” because the $10,000 price tag is a pittance compared to a broadcast camera and full Steadicam rig.
Fox Sports color corrected the signal to match its broadcast cameras, but otherwise it’s a straight 1080p feed out of the A7R IV’s micro-HDMI port. Crew members had already been using the rig to shoot tunnel walkouts and other pregame content, but Fox liked the look so much they decided to deploy it as an 11th camera for Sunday’s Washington-Seattle tilt.
With the fast wide angle lens, the camera delivered a shallow depth-of-field look while Smole was able to get right next to the players as they celebrated in the end zone, as the shot above shows. “People on our crew have been working with it all year, but we didn’t know your ordinary viewer would see such a difference sitting on their couch. It’s fantastic,” Fox SVP Mike Davies told SVG. Fox plans to use the camera rig for the rest of the year.