Live from the US Open: 50+ HDR cameras set new benchmark as Fox Sports embraces HDR
Production of the 2019 US Open, won by the American Gary Woodland, included more than 50 cameras shooting in HDR, almost double the amount used last year.
Fox Sports vice president of field operations and engineering Brad Cheney told SVG that the additional 22 cameras helped to not only meet the needs of partners who wanted HDR but also gave an uplift to images that were ultimately delivered in SDR to the vast majority of viewers, allowing the beauty of the Pebble Beach Golf Links to shine.
“To grasp the beauty of this place you need to be in HDR,” he said. “When the sun is full it is mind-blowing how great it looks in HDR – but even the SDR side is gaining a lot as it is a much better picture across the board.”
One of the big questions with an HDR production that is also being delivered to SDR viewers is whether or not to shade the cameras in HDR or SDR. Fox is shading in SDR but with experts looking at HDR monitors and then helping the SDR shade team adjust the images as needed.
“We are still shading in SDR as that is our bread and butter: with HDR cameras and then wide colour gamut the course does look as amazing as it can,” said Cheney. “Even on overcast days there are parts of the clouds you can see in HDR that you can’t see in SDR.”
Of all the sports, opined Cheney, golf benefits the most from HDR. “It definitely makes the biggest impact in golf, but this is a turning point as we have a lot of HDR events this month and will continue to push it across the board,” he said.
Fox Sports had 28 cameras shooting in HDR in 2018.