Live from CFP Championship: In an Industry First, ESPN Will Mount a 4K-capable Super Slow Motion Camera on SkyCam

Network to deploy Sony’s new HDC-P43 to provide unparalleled coverage

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Slow motion replay technology has seen tremendous advancements over recent years but at Monday’s production of the College Football Playoff National Championship Game, ESPN will try something truly unique by placing a 4K-capable super slow motion camera on SkyCam.

Sony's HDC-P43 will be mounted on SkyCam during the telecast of the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game.

Sony’s HDC-P43 will be mounted on SkyCam during the telecast of the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game.

ESPN will debut the new Sony HDC-P43, a POV-style camera featuring a three 2/3-inch 4K imaging device and B4-mount lens mount during Monday night’s telecast by affixing it to SkyCam. The P43 is designed as a companion model to the HDC-4300 system camera which is sprinkled throughout Raymond James Stadium here in Tampa.

“The camera looks fantastic,” says John LaChance, who heads up Remote Production Operations at the College Football Playoff Championship Game for ESPN. You are taking that unique SkyCam aerial look and now putting a high frame rate super slow mo camera on it. The live footage is much more crisp, much more detailed. And now, when you go to a replay look, you can give the fans at home a super slow mo look from the SkyCam. That’s a great combination.”

Key production personnel in the ESPN compound say they have never had an angle of this combination of image quality and slow motion capability on a camera that can get as close to the action as SkyCam can.

“For me, the camera looks about 20 percent better than the camera that is normally on it,” says Derek Mobley, who will be lead director on tonight’s main game telecast on ESPN. “The picture really pops live. For replays, SkyCam is one of our most replayed cameras and…with this super mo, there is no motion blur and the picture is super clear.”

Mobley says his strategy of using the camera will not be overly aggressive and the effort is not intended to turn SkyCam into a traditional slow motion replay look, but it does provide unique coverage of plays such as tipped passes, goal line stands, and other action down in the trenches.

Adds Ed Placey, Senior Coordinating Producer for ESPN: “To have a super slow mo on that camera and on an angle that close to the action that can also give you that added resolution quality in replay: that’s pretty good.”

ESPN has tested the concept on a couple of regular season games but is yet to go to air with it. The camera from Sony is still in its demo phase in the United States and is not yet available for purchase outside of the United Kingdom.

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