NAB 2017: Sony’s Katsunori Yamanouchi Brings Global Perspective to U.S. Market
‘We continuously work together with our customers on our value proposition’
Katsunori Yamanouchi, president, Professional Solutions America, Sony Electronics, will be attending his first NAB Show as head of the division, but the role will be nothing new: for the past four years, he was president of Sony Europe.
“I moved to the U.S. a year ago and have learned a lot, as there are a couple of differences here,” he says. “This is my 28th year at Sony, and I have always been on the professional business side. Twice I was with Sony Europe, and this is also my second time in the U.S. I also had a chance to cover Latin America so I have gained global experience, which is very helpful in understanding the different cultures and dynamics.”
In Europe, he adds, there are leaders like Sky Sports or BT Sports in the UK, but the market is fragmented as some countries are thinking about advanced technology while others are more conservative. That gives a wide range of clients and needs, a challenge for any companies doing business on the continent.
“The U.S. is very commercially oriented, and, if they see a commercial benefit of a new technology, they will go for it,” he says. “Europeans have started 4K, but there is a significant opportunity for 4K in the U.S.”
The NAB show is less than a week away, and Yamanouchi sees four areas of focus for Sony.
“There is no question that we will continue to strive for better imaging technology, with a full lineup,” he says. “The second area is IP; many broadcast customers are adopting IP. Another big push is HDR; that is a big thing that will change the viewing experience. And [another issue is] how to make our customer’s workflow more productive with wireless to the cloud and file-transfer technology.”
While Sony’s customers have been undergoing a transformation, Sony has as well, working more closely with customers and potential customers to better understand their workflows and requirements.
“Our theme at NAB is Beyond Definition,” he points out, “and we continuously work together with our customers on our value proposition.”
Sony Electronics Marketing Manager Rob Willox points out some of those recent collaborations, especially with respect to the development of the HDC-4300 camera and testing of the HDC-4800 and P-43 cameras at events like NHRA races.
“The 4300 was the result of talking to various people in the industry and the 4800, which does super-slow motion, was used by Fox Sports at the World Series to shoot slow motion reaction shots of fans, something it was never intended for,” he says of the ever-expanding role slow-motion is playing in sports production.
One exciting development at NAB 2017 is that the base model of the HDC-4300 is going to be capable of shooting HD with HDR. The move removes what he terms a “levy” on those who wanted to just do HD work but previously needed to buy a 4K model.
“HD with HDR is really exciting because the beauty of the color is an answer for a lot of people as it is such a giant leap in image quality,” he adds.
Sony’s SR Live (Scene Referred Live Workflow) will have a big presence at NAB as it is designed to support HD-HDR-based production simultaneousl. The technology allows the 4300, 4800, and P43 cameras to convert the output to S-Log3, BT.2020, HD HDR as an intermediate format. That signal passes into the HDRC-4000 input converter unit (making its NAB debut) and then up converted and down converted as needed to output a 4K HDR signal, a 4K SDR signal, and an HD SDR signal.
Willox also points to the HKCU-2040 4K/HD-HDR boards that can be installed in the HDCU-2500 unit. That board allows for legacy cameras to also become part of a 4K, HD, and/or HDR production workflow, making it possible for clock cameras, steadicams, and wireless systems to enter the 4K and HDR era.