COLLEGE PARK, Maryland—The University of Maryland Athletics Department recently completed an in-school technology update to increase spectator engagement at home and in person, including a camera upgrade that enabled the university to standardize on eight high frame rate (HFR) compatible Sony HDC-3500 systems. cameras and two BRC-X1000 pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras.
Josh Clayton, TerpVision Deputy Director of Athletics [the terrapin is the state reptile and official mascot of the university] and Video Operation, was instrumental in selecting cameras for the upgrade as it sought a way to meet the growing demand for content. The University of Maryland conducted a blind shootout pitting Sony’s cameras against the competition.
“After reviewing the cameras, it was clear there was one option that was head and shoulders above the rest, and that was the Sony HDC-3500,” Clayton said.
The university, which already owned several Sony cameras and continues to use some, was also comfortable with the company’s cameras, their layout and the experience the university had with the support team. from Sony – all of which facilitated the selection of new models, he said.
“Another important thing was image matching and ecosystem compatibility between our old triax cameras and these new HDC-3500s. The first time we turned on the cameras without actually painting, everything looked amazing. And that’s exactly what we wanted: for everything to work right out of the box and not have to worry about the details,” said Clayton.
The university embarked on the refresh in part to improve its video game, which includes feeding cameras to Big 10 networks, streaming and outside TV broadcast production, as well as meeting requirements display boards installed around campus at various sports venues.
“Our video card is 120 feet wide by 54 feet high and has a pixel count of 3600 x 1620, so we convert our 1080 frames and the end product looks amazing with these HDC-3500 cameras. They deliver a really nice picture and clear behind closed doors,” Clayton said.
“It becomes difficult to share our feeds with our trucks because they cannot compete with the images from the HDC-3500.”
The university leverages camera support for high dynamic range and selected Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) as the HDR approach because it offers the flexibility to support its large video cards, broadcast internal streams around the halls of sports venues and non-HDR also displays. “The flexibility of the HLG standard in HDR gives us an amazing crisp image on our huge HDR football panel and even looks great on our non-HDR center hanging at the XFINITY Center,” he said.
The acquisition of the HDC-3500 camera also includes two licenses for HFR capture, enabling 4x super so mo, which is frequently used for gymnastics, volleyball, baseball and football. “We brought in a second camera operator on matchdays who only focuses on the slow motion camera. And it’s not just the technical teams who have noticed the difference the HFR offers, the fans too,” said he declared.
The Sony BRC-X1000 PTZ cameras were a great fit for the university because they provide the resolution and color matching needed to fit easily into footage shot by the school’s other cameras, Clayton said.
The PTZ cameras also allowed Clayton to achieve a longtime production goal: capturing shots above center court for basketball.
“As the players are heading to the pitch for the warning, the cameraman lowers the camera and starts pressing the referee’s hand as he is about to throw the ball in the air. It’s amazing to see these new points of view,” he said.
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