Whether it’s on the gridiron, the baseball diamond, the basketball court, or other competitive arenas, the University of Oklahoma (OU) is going into the 2011 season with high expectations for its successful athletic programs. OU also has high standards for its in-house video coverage of these events, as evidenced by its recent addition of a half-dozen HD zoom lenses from Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging. As part of its upgrade to full HD location and studio productions, OU chose Canon XJ86x13.5B extended telephoto and XJ86x9.3B long-zoom HD field lenses, two HJ14ex4.3B wide-angle portable HD zoom lenses, an HJ22ex7.6B long-zoom portable HD lens, and a KJ20x8.5B cost-effective portable HD zoom lens.
“Our video production philosophy is to bridge technology and tradition so that we can entertain, inform and inspire,” said Brandon Meier, executive director of video production for the OU Athletics Department. “We want to entertain our fans – watching on the big stadium screen and on TV at home – with HD video that educates them about our great traditions and inspires them to cheer on their team.”
OU’s new Canon lenses will be utilized in their new SoonerVision studios inside the football stadium. The studios are used to produce upwards of 100 broadcasts a year, as well as in-stadium entertainment and TV broadcasts. “We made an HD equipment investment that will have to last us 10 to 15 years,” Meier noted. “We have gone as high-end as our budget will allow on all of our newest equipment so we can produce broadcast quality HD productions for years to come.”
Leading the charge in providing coverage of dramatic up-close-and-personal OU sports coverage will be the university’s Canon XJ86x13.5B extended telephoto and XJ86x9.3B long-zoom HD field lenses. Both part of Canon’s DIGISUPER line of high-performance field (and studio) lenses, each XJ86 has built-in Shift-IS Image Stabilization technology, for obtaining steady images even at the furthest zoomed-in distances. The XJ86 model series is Canon’s most popular long-field HD zoom lens in the emerging fleets of HD mobile production facilities, and is used by producers for many leading U.S. sports telecasts. As with all Canon DIGISUPER lenses, the XJ86 features an advanced, computer-aided lightweight design, specialized multilayer coatings on each optical element, and Canon’s second-generation digital servo systems for improved ease of operation. This exclusive technology also provides: superb tactile control of zoom, iris, and focus; precision repeatability of settings; and microcomputer compensation of lens-focus breathing (the inadvertent alteration of field-of-view when camera operators adjust the focus control).
OU sports coverage will also have the benefit of two Canon HJ14ex4.3B wide-angle portable HD zoom lenses, which combine an extended 14x zoom range with a minimum focal length of 4.3mm and an angular field of view of 96.3 degrees at the wide end of the 16:9 HD aspect ratio. These performance specs make the HJ14 the widest-angle portable HD lens in the industry. The 14x zoom range of this lens reaches to 60mm (120mm with extender), which greatly expands creative options for the acquisition of crystal-clear, and virtually distortion-free HD video images. Canon’s mastery of computer-based optical design techniques and specialized multilayer optical coating technologies ensures excellent imaging performance without distortion for the HJ14, which Meier’s team will mount on portable EFP-style HD cameras deployed by OU’s mobile production vehicle.
Further extending OU’s creative production capabilities is its new HJ22ex7.6B portable HD zoom lens, the longest-focal-length portable HD production lens offered by Canon (without an image-stabilization system). A flexible, multipurpose lens exhibiting high optical performance and ease of operation, the HJ22 is designed for long-distance shooting combined with wide-angle capture (7.6mm field of view) in a lightweight (4 lbs.) form factor. An added advantage of the HJ22 is its Digital Drive unit that enables camera operators to precisely pre-set zoom position/speed, focus and iris settings, if desired. This feature is built into many Canon portable HD zoom lenses, including the HJ14ex4.3B described above.
The sixth Canon lens purchased as part of OU’s HD equipment upgrade, the KJ20x8.5B portable HD zoom lens, is part of Canon’s cost-effective HDgc lens series, which combines high picture quality, ease of use, and sophisticated operation for use with the new generation of affordable HD ENG/EFP-style camcorders. Compact and lightweight (2.8 lbs.), the KJ20 offers excellent optical performance and also features Canon’s exclusive Shuttle Shot function, an advanced servo system that enables camera operators to zoom back and forth between any two pre-set focal-length positions for added versatility in various production situations.
“When Sooner fans tune in to watch our games they expect to see the same level of quality that they see on network TV,” concluded Brandon Meier. “On the big screen live at the games, they also expect the best. They want to see the same quality they see on the big screens in pro football stadiums. That’s why we chose to invest in broadcast-quality equipment in all phases of our upgrade to HD.”