Film program gets camera from Sony

Western Carolina University celebrated the gift of a state-of-the-art professional camera from Sony valued at nearly $100,000 on Friday, May 3, at the fifth annual Controlled Chaos Film Festival of student productions.

Chancellor David O. Belcher (right) applauds as a representative from Sony joins him on stage to celebrate the gift from Sony to WCU of an F65 camera.

Chancellor David O. Belcher (right) applauds as a representative from Sony joins him on stage to celebrate the gift from Sony to WCU of an F65 camera (left).

An F65 CineAlta camera, the equipment offers cutting-edge technology and a higher resolution than any other digital motion picture camera available today. Sony had roughly 400 pre-orders for the camera worldwide when the company began shipping the F65 in January 2012, and this year gifted less than a dozen to up-and-coming film programs across the nation.

“We are thrilled to be selected to receive one of these cameras, which are designed to shoot major feature films to be projected in the biggest and best theaters in the world,” said Jack Sholder, director of WCU’s Motion Picture and Television Production Program. “This camera will help us better prepare our students to work in the industry and to understand and gain experience with some of the most high-end equipment there is.”

While many movie theaters commonly project films in 2,000-pixel definition, the F65 features an advanced 8,000-pixel sensor and is Sony’s first professional camera to capture footage in a resolution of more than 4,000 pixels. The demand for 4K is increasing with more than 13,000 theaters worldwide now equipped with 4K projectors and with 4K television sets coming on the market. The camera was used to shoot “After Earth” with Will Smith and “Oblivion” starring Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman. Fox Sports is using the F65 to produce more detailed replays in high definition.

Arledge Armenaki, an associate professor of cinematography who was integral in working with Sony to secure the gift for WCU, described the camera as a formidable piece of equipment that is a quantum leap in camera technology.

“This camera has an astounding image resolution with a tremendous exposure latitude,” said Armenaki. “It can see into bright highlights and deep shadows. It surpasses the resolution for 35 mm film, the gold standard. It’s amazing.”

Upon hearing Sony would give an F65 to WCU earlier this semester, students in the film program cheered. Andrew Dyson, a junior from Spartanburg, S.C., majoring in motion picture production, said he’s excited about the kinds of shots students will be able to achieve with the camera’s cutting-edge capabilities. Students often rent advanced camera equipment for their senior thesis films to be able to enhance the quality of the footage – footage that students will be able to surpass with the F65.

Martin Meredith, enterprise and strategic accounts manager at Sony, said the company works closely with university and higher learning institutions across the country. Meredith was among representatives who visited WCU last fall to learn more about the program and its needs, and to participate in educational programming for students and faculty.

“We were impressed with the caliber of the students we met at WCU,” said Meredith. “There was a high level of energy.”

Meredith said Sony representatives will return to campus to host a learning session related to the camera when it is outfitted and look forward to hearing from students about how they are using the F65 to create films and the details of their experiences with the equipment.

For more information, contact Sholder at 828-227-2324 or