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Case Study: Providing a 4K Camera Game Plan for 49ers Studios


Challenge

In today’s evolving digital media landscape, NFL fans have an endless thirst for compelling content about the team and players they love and root for every week. The video production units of professional teams are now being tasked with providing a steady stream of innovative coverage to feed the appetite of their fan base, and the San Francisco 49ers are setting the bar for team/fan interaction and accessibility.

During the 2013 off-season, Robert Alberino, the new Executive Producer for the San Francisco 49ers created a groundbreaking new in-house production group, “49ers Studios”, to focus on sharing unique stories associated with the 49ers. Now fans have access to their favorite team, not just during the football season, but 365 days a year. 

Under Robert’s direction, 49ers Studios consists of Emmy award winners, social media experts and talented writers, who have created engaging new shows about the team and a complete refresh of the 49ers website, 49ers.com.

4K is a cornerstone of the acquisition and delivery strategy for 49ers Studios and their new home, Levi’s Stadium. When putting together their camera specifications, Robert selected the 4K-capable Sony PMW-F55 as one of the key components of this strategy.

One initial assignment for Robert was to kit out the F55 packages for the wide range of shooting situations that his crew would encounter. He explained, “The challenge we faced was that we were headed down a familiar road, sports production, with a familiar partner, Sony, but without familiar gear. We were blown away with the images that the Sony F55 was delivering and knew it was going to be the camera for 49ers Studios to build our new platforms with. We just didn’t know how to rig them properly so they would act like the cameras we were used to shooting with in the field for so many years prior.” 

AbelCine’s Liz Davis, Production Sales, and Andy Shipsides, Director of Education, worked directly with Robert in an on-site consultation to specify the lens and accessory configurations that best matched the needs of the 49ers crew. “Out of the blue, I made a call to AbelCine, as I had done so many times in the past, to get ideas of how to accomplish such a goal. Instantly they had ideas, and even more importantly, solutions to this,” said Robert.

The system and lens choices needed to serve dual roles: as a quick-to-configure hand-holdable rig, to be able to run around with during field practice, and to function equally as well producing high-quality, high production value “beauty” content for weekly sizzle reels. The lens choices needed to provide maximum flexibility as well as a wide range of focal lengths.

Solution

Liz and Andy introduced Robert and his team to various lens and camera rig options, which they were able to test and shoot with on site. Robert and his team opted for the Fujinon 19-90 Cabrio zoom for use in shooting the bulk of their handheld content. They also opted for two ENG Canon lenses coupled with IB/E HDx35 adapters in order to have long focal lengths for shooting across the field.

AbelCine delivered three F55 packages fully configured and ready to shoot on arrival. The camera systems were technically prepped, preloaded with the latest firmware, packaged and labeled for the crew in advance. “Within a month, we were capturing images and comfortable with a sports rig AbelCine had customized for us,” said Robert.

Through their digital and social channels, 49ers Studios ensures that fans are closer to their team than ever before. As the 2013 football season gets underway, AbelCine is proud to play a part in the technology component of the 49ers’ efforts.

 

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