By David Grapentine, Senior Videographer, Phoenix Suns
The Phoenix Suns have been longtime Sony users, so when we were recently looking for a new ENG camera that would transition us from optical-based discs, Sony was at the top of our list. We were already familiar with the Sony form factor and menu structures, and we’re also using their HDC-3100 portable fiber cameras as our main systems in fixed stations around the arena, so the learning curve would be minimal.
As we explored our options, we knew we needed something versatile that would streamline our efforts to not only capture content, but provide assets to different parts of our organization in real time. That’s when we were introduced to Sony’s new PXW-Z750 shoulder mount camera. In addition to numerous beneficial features including a lighter file transfer, a global shutter and 4K, it provides high quality imagery even in lowlight scenarios.
We are excited by the powerful integration this new model offers to connect our team and allow us to easily collaborate and share content, enabling a more engaging fan experience. Being able to shoot and distribute content quickly without worrying about digitizing and transferring allows us to elevate our game day presentation and enhances our communication to viewers in the arena and at home. The speed at which we can now build out packages is very attractive, as is the ability to push things out to social media in a matter of minutes.
Another great feature of the PXW-Z750 is its ergonomics. Often, shoulder mount cameras can become uncomfortable after using them for long periods of time. This camera is very well balanced and provides reliable results every time. I like that I can just grab and go and shoot at a moment’s notice without a ton of setup. We also appreciate that the Z750 integrates seamlessly with many of our existing lenses and accessories, which provides significant cost savings and complements our multiple Sony HDC-3100 system cameras and BRC-X400 POV cameras to offer a consistent look that can be color matched effortlessly.
We quickly became familiar with the Z750 as we began using it and realized its feature set and adaptability made the camera a great choice for more than just game day storytelling. When we started our control room renovation, we used the opportunity to refresh our camera technology. We’d come to value the flexibility the PXW-Z750 offered, which is why the organization decided to purchase two additional cameras for RF usage. This enables the team to use the powerful PXW-Z750s for all of our additional content creation needs in and out of house including pre- and post-game efforts, and on dark days we can use them our multi-camera shoots, community events, player profiles, pieces for the web and social media, as well as music series and entertainment experiences at the arena. Those entertainment and fan engagement experiences will put the camera’s global shutter to work and help accurately capture the true spirit of these events.
Another key selling point is the camera’s integration into the Sony ecosystem that we’re already using, including NavigatorX for archival and storage and Ci for secure cloud-based collaboration and sharing. It provides us with a sense of continuity and accessibility, which benefits our workflow in the long run. We’ve worked with Sony for many years and we feel that they’re more than just a vendor selling us equipment – they’re a partner providing us with comprehensive solutions.
We also appreciate that the camera can grow with our organization as our needs evolve. With capabilities for 4K, HDR and high frame rate, we’re ready for the future. It’s helpful that we can expand the camera’s power through simple additions like adding a network dongle or LTE connection. Ultimately our goal is to implement a streamlined workflow that allows us to be ahead of the curve, with our camera technology leading the way.