Live From NAB 2017: Sony Acquires Crispin Automation, Showcases IP, HDR, and More
Sony’s NAB booth highlights innovations in imaging, high dynamic range (HDR), IP, and media solutions that enable the creation of dynamic content and increase workflow efficiencies for a range of applications and productions. And the company also opens the show with a new acquisition, acquiring Crispin Automation and expanding Sony’s technical footprint.
The acquisition allows Crispin and Sony to combine their respective expertise in broadcast- and production-workflow applications to offer customers a turnkey source for content distribution and management. Sony has previously worked with Crispin on several projects, most notably the Public Media Management master control and cloud-based distribution service for PBS and TEGNA’s Media Clearinghouse project, which automated the process of distributing syndicated programs across its entire group.
Both projects relied on Crispin’s master-control automation and Loading Dock technologies, as well as tight integration with Sony’s Ci media cloud services, as critical components.
“In addition to driving the latest technological trends and innovations, Sony is honing our focus on the customer experience to become a long-term, valued partner for our customers,” says Mike Fasulo, president/COO, Sony North America.
Camera systems like the HDC-4300 and HDC-4800 will make the Sony booth a hot bed of interest from sports-content creators. And for those looking for new faces as well as new technologies, NAB 2017 marks the first show for Katsunori Yamanouchi in his new role as president of Sony Professional Solutions Americas (for more info on Sony introductions and Yamanouchi, please click here).
“At NAB, we will be displaying new products, updates to current products, and a range of workflow solutions that meet the ever changing needs of customers and even incorporate their feedback — from 4K live production and HDR to IP live production, media solutions, asset management, and everything in between — allowing them to be in control of their future,” he says.
According to Deon LeCointe, senior manager, IP production technology and sports solutions, Sony Electronics, cameras are just one part of the bigger picture.
“Beyond the camera,” he says, “there is HDR, IP, and a full range of media solutions that meet the demands for today and the future. And we have 4K and HDR capabilities throughout our product line, including instant HDR for lower-scale productions. It enables simple shoot and editing in Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) where there is no need for color correction.”
Sony’s compact camcorders — the FS5 and Z150 — support this workflow using the HLG recording function for easy and instant file-based workflows.
The newest component of Sony’s SR Live workflow is the HDRC-4000 convertor, allowing HD and 4K signals to enter an HDR production environment. SDR sources can be upconverted with the appropriate color space to accommodate any flavor of HDR. This versatile technology allows SDR archive, commercials, or feeds to be easily integrated into an HDR production.
At the show this year, Sony further evolves its 4K live solution adding metadata workflow to provide efficient content management over a Share Play-enabled network, allowing users to save significant time from production to on-air.
For HDR, Sony offers system, workflow, and choices of recording formats that deliver unprecedented flexibility in every HDR production. Sony has already established its SR Live for HDR workflow, a straightforward system enabling an efficient workflow for simultaneous production of 4K HDR and HD SDR.
Sony is also expanding its HDR capabilities through two enhancements, HD HDR live broadcasting and instant HDR workflow. Sony can offer the widest choice of video formats depending on users’ production requirements.
Sony is also highlighting its IP live-production workflow. Broadcasters around the world are increasingly embracing IP for its proven ability to deliver quality live 4K video, audio, synchronization signals, and control data through a single network cable. At NAB 2017, Sony is highlighting its IP end-to-end capabilities, as well as its compatibility with industry standards, such as SMPTE ST2110, ST2059, and NMOS IS-04.
John Studdert, VP of sales and marketing for media and sports, Sony, says that the company’s IP efforts now allow a customer to build an all-IP control room exclusively around Sony products and that those products are compatible with various IP standards, including support of SMPTE 2110, which is considered by many to be the future of IP transport.
Other highlights include XDCAM Air, a cloud-based ENG subscription service. This comprehensive workflow platform is designed for speed to air, from shooting to postproduction, harnessing the power of cloud computing and XDCAM.
“XDCAM Air allows our customers to steam content to air faster and more efficiently,” says Studdert. The system allows great quality delivery via Wi-Fi or LTE and enables a camera to be controlled remotely in the field.
Version 1.0 will be released in June and will provide intelligent functions: live streaming, XDCAM mobile compatibility, and metadata workflow. XDCAM Pocket is XDCAM Air’s mobile application, which can turn a smartphone into a small ENG camera by transmitting a quality live stream through the mobile device’s LTE network using QoS stream mode.
XDCAM Air will be interoperable with most systems, from both Sony and third parties. Sony will continue to develop new features and workflow for XDCAM Air, with further versions planned to support content management, enhanced device control, and edit integration with NLEs.
Sony will also look to continue to increase its media-asset–management offerings, including Media Backbone Hive that orchestrates all phases of the familiar, tried, and trusted news workflow that thousands of broadcasters depend on. RTV Oost, a regional broadcaster in The Netherlands has selected Media Backbone Hive to streamline and future-proof its news operations, becoming the first European regional broadcaster to introduce the end-to-end media-production solution from Sony.
One part of the Media Backbone is NavigatorX, delivering easier, quicker, and more efficient asset and workflow management. Designed to suit multiple modern workflow environments, it allows users to manage assets in a range of formats, with flexible options for production, archiving, and workflow automation.
Also new is Ven.ue, an end-to-end, cloud distribution, OTT, and e-commerce platform that can be used as a single solution for avails management, content prep, ingest, and digital distribution. Ven.ue Unlimited lets broadcasters, aggregators, and distributors capitalize on more than 1 million hours of premium licensable content spanning hundreds of content owners in more than 20 languages through a secure centralized cloud repository.
Also on display is Optical Disc Archive Generation 2, providing a secure long-term archive based on Sony’s proven optical-disc format, rated with a 100-year shelf life, and designed to achieve 3.3 TB capacity on a single cartridge.
Acceptance of Optical Disc Archive has been steadily growing with networks like the Golf Channel and others on board. Developers and vendors can incorporate Optical Disc Archive Generation 2 into their own compatible products, with Sony ready to provide technical support to facilitate product development. The latest partner products for Optical Disc Archive include NLTek for Avid Interplay, QStar Archive Manager, SGL FlashNet, StorageDNA DNAfusion, and XenData.
Also look for the new LMD-B240, an LCD basic Full HD production monitor with a lightweight and slim body for easy installation with natural ventilation (no cooling fan). The monitor features Sync-Free Side by Side function. SDI and HDMI inputs, as well as HD, SD, different frame rates, interlace, PsF, and progressive can be configured. The monitor delivers low signal-processing latency and focus assist that works with the main image.
And for those looking to improve the speed of content ingest, the AXS-AR1, an AXS memory, and SxS memory card reader that uses a Thunderbolt 2 interface, is a great option. The Thunderbolt 2 connector also enables daisy-chain operation. This new reader is Sony’s first to have AXS Memory A series and SxS Memory card slots. The versatile reader supports simultaneous recording workflow: RAW (or X-OCN) and XAVC (or MPEG50) files recorded by F55/F5 and AXS-R7.
Camera operators will be interested in the DVF-EL200, a high-quality fFull HD (1920×1080) OLED viewfinder for the F55 and F5 that offers easy focusing and framing. With nearly twice the brightness of Sony’s DVF-EL100 and enhanced usability, the viewfinder is durable and resistant and can be quickly and easily attached to the CBK-55CL viewfinder stay. It features an improved eye sensor for increased sensitivity and better positioning, along with enhanced brightness, contrast and peaking level settings.