The 2015 Cricket World Cup was the 11th Cricket World Cup, jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand from 14 February to 29 March 2015. Fourteen teams played 49 matches in 14 venues, with Australia staging 26 games at grounds in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney while New Zealand hosted 23 games in Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, Napier, Nelson and Wellington. As part of the 2015 Cricket World Cup broadcast services specialist NEP offered viewers a true 4K experience by using Sony PMW-F55 4K cameras and a Sony 4K switcher.
NEP Director of technical services, Marc Segar explained, “We wanted to offer a true cinema style 4K experience and this led us to the Sony F55 cameras. We were already ordering new 4K capable Sony switchers, and so it made sense to work with Sony for the complete end to end solution.”
Nine PMW-F55 4K camera systems were used to capture the action and produce the dedicated 4K coverage with some of the camera feeds also downconverted to HD via the camera base station and provided for use in the regular HD production. In addition to the 4K resolution Segar and his team had to consider sensors and lenses. He added, “We wanted to capture the Cricket World Cup in 4K. Once that decision was made the F55 made perfect sense as we had also decided to use cinema style lenses and the F55 is a full 4K sensor camera so it was the ideal solution.”
Footage shot with the F55 cameras was transmitted to India for end users in 4K. To achieve this NEP employed a simple but effective workflow with Segar explaining, “The 4K output of the Sony switcher was encoded to IP and sent to India over fibre by BT Media & Broadcast, this was then distributed to home viewers via satellite and decoded on 4K set-top-boxes-. As a result the quality and viewing experience was excellent.”
Segar also went on to describe exactly why the Sony F55 was the ideal camera for the 2015 Cricket World Cup saying, “The F55 performed like a regular broadcast camera which is a big plus. We compared the F55 against the current range of 4K products on offer from other manufacturers including Sony’s own HDC4300. At the end of the day, for this project the choice of lens also helped drive the camera choice. That said the HDC-4300 is a very impressive product but the F55 also allowed us to offer PL mount lenses and a theatrical look for a live sporting event. No other camera option would have allowed us to achieve that.”
The cinema style lenses and large Super 35mm sized sensor of the F55 allowed for the desired cinematic look, but the camera also provided the flexibility to utilise the large traditional B4 mount broadcast lenses that have no equivalent in the cinema world. Using the Sony B4 adaptor enabled NEP to connect the high quality broadcast 95x zoom lens they required and thus get the close up shots at the centre of the pitch.
The F55 also offers high dynamic range, the widest colour gamut, and pristine image quality in HD, 2K, QFHD and 4K. To operate in a standard broadcast environment NEP used the camera with a CA-4000 camera adaptor and BPU-4000 that allowed the use of traditional SMPTE fibre cabling and standard broadcast RCP control panels, CCUs and accessories.
In addition to the 4K cameras there was also a dedicated 4K graphics package that was produced. The increase in resolution for these graphics made it possible to include more detail and higher resolution imagery for player photos and stats. Then by using the Sony MVS-8000X switcher’s 4K upconversion capabilities NEP were able to integrate HD only sources, such as a specialist shot analysis system, into the main 4K production. Finally monitoring was conducted on Sony PVM-X300 30” professional displays and a large Sony 4K Bravia to replicate the viewer’s final experience.