| Subcribe via RSS

Sony Offers First Peek at NAB Lineup

March 13th, 2015 Posted in Headlines, News Roundup By Ken Kerschbaumer

Sony recently took the wraps off a new corporate structure as well as a few of the new products that will be seen at NAB 2015 next month. Although some of the more exciting news remains secret until April 12, some highlights will already tantalize sports-production professionals.

In announcing the corporate changes, Alec Shapiro, president of the newly renamed Sony Professional Solutions Americas, Sony North America, discussed the new structure, which rolls Sony North America, Sony Canada, and the Ci Media Cloud Services division into a single entity.

“Our go-to-market strategy has changed, as we want to extend our core competencies across market segments like acquisition, storage, display, and lower-cost production,” he said. “There is a great desire for more and more content, but the cost of production is holding back that content creation.”

One step the company is taking to help increase the amount of sports content created is a renewed effort around the Hawk-Eye intelligent production system, which has been used at the past two Wimbledon tennis tournaments, as well as for cricket and European football, to help bring multicamera coverage to smaller courts without the need for a large production crew. Player-tracking technology allows a camera to automatically focus on a player and also track his or her movements.

“It addresses the need of the lower 80% of the sports market,” said John Studdert, VP, U.S. sales and marketing, Sony. “We have had a great year with the top 20% of the sports market, and it is a great part of the market, but we’re also interested in the other 80%. So we have created Hawk-Eye and will expand into intelligent production with the ability to use the unique player-tracking technology that started at Wimbledon.”

The system is currently in beta tests for basketball, and, according to Studdert, the results have impressed broadcasters who can’t afford to roll out a truck for an event but could afford to roll out a Hawk-Eye system.

“We’re really excited about where it can take us,” he said. “It can use up to 12 camera feeds [and] has color correction, and other settings [such as iris control] are right in front of the operator.”

Also new is the PMW-PZ1 deck, which offers playback of 4K material recorded on Sony SxS memory cards. It also allows simple copy and backup to a connected external USB storage drive.

And, although not all 4K developments are available for public consumption, Sony’s advances with respect to the XAVC format are. Rob Willox, senior marketing manager, content creation, Sony, noted that the goal of the latest developments is to democratize the use of 4K and move the format forward.

For example, a new 4K upgrade option for the PMW-F5 camera that XAVC recording and playback, 4K SDI and HDMI output, and simultaneous recording of XAVC 4K/QFHD and MPEG 50-Mbps 4:2:2 files. And there is now a native workflow for Apple Final Cut Pro, Avid Media Composer v.7 and up, Adobe Content Creator platform, and all major grading and NLE systems.

“XAVC can be used on a variety of products at the same time, from shoulder-mounted and handheld cameras to DSLR and Action Cam,” said Willox. “And XAVC has optimization of data rates for the different devices.”

It also more efficient than other formats: for instance, it can record in 4K at 24 fps in only 240 Mbps vs. 468 Mbps for ProRes422. More important, the data rates for XAVC stay the same when recording quality is increased to 422HQ while, for ProRes, they jump to 704 Mbps. The move to 60p recording increases the data rate to 600 Mbps, but dropping to 1080p/60 lowers the rate to 50 Mbps (or to 35 Mbps for 1080i/60p).

Sony will also introduce the BVMX300 4K OLED master monitor with 12-bit signal processing and dimensions of 29.25 in. wide, 19.25 in. tall, and 5.5 in. deep. The true-4K panel requires no scaling for any format and has accurate black levels, contrast, and a wide color gamut and dynamic range.