NEP Group, a worldwide outsourced technical production partner supporting premier content producers of live sports and entertainment, announced today its acquisition of Fletcher Group, LLC (“Fletcher”), a Chicago-area company that provides the highest-end specialty ultra-slow motion and robotic camera systems. Fletcher has been in business for nearly 30 years and has delivered innovative angles for thousands of high profile events. The addition of Fletcher is consistent with NEP’s stated strategy to become the worldwide leader in Broadcast Services, and “camera capture,” both traditional and robotic, is an important part of the broadcast value chain.
“We’re excited to bring the innovative specialty cameras and talent of Fletcher’s staff into the NEP Worldwide Network,” said Mike Werteen, Global President, NEP Broadcast Services. “We’ve partnered with Fletcher on several events, so we know first-hand the quality of their work and shared commitment to delivering superior service. Through this acquisition, our clients now have access to cutting-edge ultra-slow motion and robotic camera technology and expertise along with NEP’s variety of broadcast services.”
Among their many solutions, Fletcher offers an AI-based proprietary, patent-pending auto-follow camera system designed to follow and record the movement of players. In partnership with NEP, the Fletcher Tr-ACE system was recently implemented on seven courts at Wimbledon. Fletcher also provided the technology for nine courts at the US Open to track players’ movements during matches on the outer courts. In addition, Fletcher invented several innovative proprietary camera angles now commonly seen by audiences worldwide: shots from “above the rim” on top of basketball backboards, in-net cameras for hockey and rail cams in front of press tables.
“NEP’s dedication to technical innovation and client service is impressive,” said Dan Grainge, President of Fletcher. “I’m proud of all we’ve accomplished at Fletcher and know that combining our talents and technology with an industry leader like NEP will take our business to the next level. It’s a great fit for us and a strong benefit to be able to add NEP’s broadcast services, media solutions and live event support for our clients.”
The Fletcher brand will remain, with Fletcher supporting NEP and its clients across the globe. Dan Grainge will continue to lead the Fletcher team and will report to Mike Werteen, Global President of NEP Broadcast Services.
Fletcher Group LLC, has appointed Richard Hingley as Head of European Operations. Based in the Fletcher London office, Hingley will oversee all European operations and large project management in conjunction with the Fletcher Head Office in Chicago.
Hingley has gained a wide range of industry experience over a 30+ year period, holding various product management and sales positions with leading manufacturers and resellers including Avid, Softimage, Quantel and Tyrell, as well as freelance pre-sales and workflow consultancy. He also brings outstanding practical production and technical skills honed as a demonstrator, trainer and stereographer on various 3D, grading and online editing tools; highlights include roles as Lead Stereographer for the FIFA World Cup 2010 and the Wimbledon finals from 2011-2013, and as 4K/8K Editorial Supervisor on the FIFA World Cup 2014.
Dan Grainge, President, Fletcher Group, said, “Richard has been working with us as a consultant over the past few years and when the opportunity arose with the departure of Haydn Parnell, Richard was seen as the obvious choice to take over. In an ever-evolving industry, Richard’s diverse technical and production background is ideally suited to help grow and promote Fletcher within the European marketplace.”
Richard Hingley commented, “I am absolutely delighted to join the Fletcher Group, a company with a rich heritage, a forward-thinking approach and a reputation for excellence. It’s an exciting time to join, with a roster of high calibre projects as well as the challenge of new technologies such as HDR, UHD and IP.”
Fletcher London’s most recent & exciting addition is the HDC-4800, Sony’s brand new 4K & 1080P Ultra Slow Motion System. The Sony 4800 System offers 4x/8x slow-motion in 4K and 8x/16x in 1080 with Sony’s brand new CMOS Imager.
The new but intuitive GUI for the Replay Operator makes producing stunning replays an easy transition for an experienced EVS Operator and with the ability to record up to 4 hours of an event in the base unit, it does not tie up multiple channels of EVS for 'all the time record'. This with real-time Flicker Reduction replays.
The PICO Ultra Slow Motion Live Camera System is designed to offer spectacular Ultra Slow Motion and previously unrevealed details from vantage points where no other camera has gone before. The PICO records at up to 300 frames per second in native 1080 HD. The system is based on a 2/3” CMOS 2K chip and guarantees high detail and unsurpassed light sensitivity. The unique de-flickering technology greatly reduces lighting related flicker in realtime.
Fletcher and EasyLook System have taken the PICO Ultra Slow Motion compact HD camera to new levels by creating a complete camera and replay chain. This includes the camera head, OCP Control of the CCU with rackable Iris, full replay multi block recording and dual single-mode fibre sheds. All of this packs neatly into two compact Peli cases with an accessory kit.
The X10 UHD can now be used in a wireless configuration for Sports and Entertainment Productions where being mobile and untethered alongside the action captures detail and emotion not seen before. This solution, capturing up to 2000fps, is lightweight, easy to operate and can be fully racked without the need for any direct cable connection. This makes the X10 UHD RF the first USM camera in the world to have this capability.
The RF solution is primarily the replay USM path but there is the option to continuously transmit the live camera signal as well. Racking communication is sent through a separate RF data link and in turn the transmitters can be hard-mounted to the rear of the camera or via a short umbilical to either an RF pole or a self contained rucksack. The X10 UHD RF is compatiable with Vislink and adaptable to a wide range of RF solutions.