The NFL playoffs are not only home to the league’s best
12 14 teams, but also the best technology around (unless when it comes to deciding what is or isn’t a fumble, right Colts-Bills?). We got a taste of this during the wild card matchup between the Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks, when FOX cut to its handheld 8K camera.
Just look at it capturing two-time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald:
The NFL in 8k is pic.twitter.com/QmzzBEfPR6— Joe Pompliano (@JoePompliano) January 9, 2021
This seriously looks like a trailer from a future Madden or some other video game featuring insanely ripped men.
How does FOX produce extra-sharp pictures like these? By not going with a traditional camera normally used for broadcasts as Brandon Costa explained on Twitter when 8k technology was first used earlier during the season:
Lots of love for the end zone camera angle in DC. And it’s justified. The shots are gorgeous.— Brandon Costa (@SVG_Brandon) December 20, 2020
According to FOX, it’s actually NOT a traditional “broadcast” camera. Instead, it’s a Sony mirrorless on a handheld gimbal.
You can see the op in this clip. pic.twitter.com/N6twrXjhI5
FOX uses a mirrorless Sony α7R IV on a handheld gimbal, Brandon explained. That setup, by the way, is comparatively easy to assemble at home: all you need to get the same images is around $5,000 and a bunch of NFL players lying around.
Also, let Brandon rain on your 8K parade a bit: he pointed out in a follow-up post that the camera would not actually shoot at that resolution but rather at 4K: “It’s being transmitted on the backend at 1080p. So this is actually just really good HD.”
Still, the end result is impressive nevertheless. I mean, it makes Aaron Donald look even more uber-human than he already appears to be.