At NAB 2014, Sony is expanding its theme of “Beyond Definition,” highlighting new and enhanced professional A/V solutions that deliver the highest performance and most dynamic viewing experiences. Sony is showcasing its latest developments in 4K technology, including new technologies that address the needs of content creators and unite its vast network of products, systems, services and expertise.
Sony’s stand at NAB 2014 highlights a full range of cameras, camcorders, switchers, professional audio equipment and monitors, alongside solutions for customer applications from shooting through production to archiving.
New products are listed in detail below:
- 4K technologies for shooting, storage and viewing
- 8K Edge Blending stitching 4K footage
- Enhancements to PMW-F55 and PMW-F5 cameras
- Updates to PVM-A OLED & LMD-A LCD series professional monitors
- PDW-850 XDCAM camcorder and PDW-HD1550 XDCAM recorder
- HDVF-L770 and HDVF-L750 system camera viewfinders
- PXW-X180 XDCAM handheld camcorder
- MVS switcher developments
- UWP-D wireless microphone MI shoe adapter
Sony offers filmmakers the widest selection of 4K cameras, from the F65 used for major motion picture production, to the F5 and F55 cameras, and the new PXW-Z100 4K handheld camcorder (pictured above). Many of the most popular television series currently or soon to be airing are shot with Sony’s 4K cameras including: The Blacklist, Masters of Sex, Community, The Big Bang Theory, Trophy Wife, Mom, Rake (US version) and others.
Sony’s F65-based 4K Live Camera System with the combination of the PWS-4400, 4K/HD live server adds a new level of expression to live production, with its high-frame ability to shoot and record 4K 120p slow-motion images. To make use of a 4K Live Camera System based on the F55 launched last year, a new adapter was designed exclusively for the F65.
The 4K live camera system based on the F55 is now capable of high-frame rate HD capture at up to 360 fps, increased from conventional 240fps. At 60fps, 6X slow-motion can be replayed.
Sony’s new multi-port AV storage unit, model PWS-4400, is a 4K/HD live server system capable of supporting 4K/HD live production. It is XAVC ready and has four-channel 4K switchable inputs and outputs. It enables 4K 120 fps recording and HD 360 fps slow-motion image shot by the 4K live camera system. New HD functions are also added, such as the capability to do HD cut-outs from 4K images recorded, allowing zooming in on a goal scene and cutting it out in HD for replay. This brings new creative possibilities to producers of live television.
To handle the increased bandwidth of 4K, efficient encoding and decoding technologies are required. In 2012, Sony developed the high-picture quality video format “XAVC” that supports resolutions ranging from 4K to HD. XAVC is a flexible video format that makes it possible to reproduce high resolution and high frame rate content while keeping constant levels of data volume. In 2013, the “XAVC S” format was added, ideal for consumer 4K applications and furthering overall growth of the 4K market. The XAVC format and production workflow has been widely adopted as a standard video format in the industry. Up to this date, XAVC format supporters have risen to over 50, including editing software and hardware manufacturers.
The expansion of 4K has created the need for more robust archiving of high-bandwidth image data. Sony’s “Optical Disc Archive” data storage system has the longevity, robustness and intergenerational compatibility needed for image data archiving, and the line-up also features expandable Petasite™ library units with a maximum capacity of up to 1.5 TB for one cartridge. The capacity of one rack, composed of 6 libraries, is up to 800 TB.
To further the expansion of 4K, reliable and cost efficient transmission systems are required. The volume of information transferred by 4K video production is four times that of HD, meaning that as many as four times the amount of cabling may be necessary in comparison to HD (60p) production, adding significant costs and time to a production. Sony’s “AV over IP Interface” can transfer and switch in real-time 4K and HD video, audio, metadata and control and reference signals using a single network cable. This technology supports direct network connection of numerous types of production devices. It implements synchronous transmission to multiple points and noiseless source switching, and handles both HD and 4K video. Sony’s IP Live Production system, using an AV over IP Interface, is under development and planned to be available by the end of 2014.
Sony’s PWA-TS4 4K stitching software works with the PWA-TS1 Telestrator software to add a wider range of graphics to HD cut-out views.
Sony is demonstrating a technology exhibition of a 30-inch professional 4K OLED monitor. The monitor boasts 4096×2160 pixel resolution and colour reproduction with wide colour space under the Ultra High Definition standard, ITU-R BT.2020. The monitor is planned to be available in autumn, 2015.
Also, Sony will be showing entertainment content shot by the F65 in RAW to produce 8K x 2K panoramic images and projected by two sets of 4K projectors using 4K edge-blending technology, to give viewers immersive reality and excitement.
F55 & F5 Cameras
The F55 and F5 cameras continue to evolve, enabling wider applications. A prototype of an ENG/EFP (1) style shoulder buildup kit planned to be available in spring 2014, will be showcased that optimises the cameras for single-person documentary style shooting and live production work.
(1) ENG: Electronic News Gathering, EFP: Electronic Field Production
In addition to the cameras’ current XAVC, RAW, MPEG-4 SStP and XDCAM HD capabilities, development of an option board implementing major HD non-linear editing codecs is in progress.
With collaborative support provided by Apple, the F55 and F5 will be enabled to employ the ProRes codec, expanding the cameras’ creative potential and workflow flexibility. This advantage allows the F55 and F5 to be very straightforward choices for users of Apple Final Cut Pro.
In addition, the F55 and F5 will implement Avid’s DNxHD format. The two companies’ collaboration has so far proved workflow integrity with a successful track record of XAVC and XDCAM workflow development. Through Sony’s implementing of DNxHD, the collaboration enters into a next level.
These developments will provide content creators with even more workflow choices, to ensure maximum post-production flexibility, speed and simplicity.
To date, over 3,500 units of PMW-F55 and PMW-F5 have been shipped worldwide.
XDCam Firmware Upgrades
Sony’s XDCAM systems have emerged as the de facto standard for news production by broadcasters throughout the world. Sony’s XDCAM products have continuously promoted the development of file-based workflows, employing highly efficient MPEG-2 Long GOP encoding to enable rapid production and prolonged recording even at low bit rates. Now, Sony is also actively bringing its XAVC format and corresponding MPEG-4/H.264 Intra Frame and Long GOP encoding into the XDCAM product line – covering high resolution, high-bit-rate, high-frame-rate capabilities and low bit-rate production, extending the line’s usage into not only news production but also to TV program and commercial production. A new firmware upgrade adds XAVC support to the PMW-400 and PMW-300 memory camcorders, Sony is also working to further streamline XDCAM workflows in concert with the accelerated move towards file-based and networked-based implementations. Sony’s CBK-WA100 and WA101 wireless adapters enable network transfer and mobile viewing of proxy files, significantly reducing the time required to get time-critical location work on air. As its effort to offer a viable wireless workflow, Sony Media Cloud Services has built “Ci”, a cloud-based video production and collaboration platform for professional content creators. Furthermore, Sony is collaborating with Aframe and Forbidden Technologies, to accelerate a fast, efficient, trust-worthy new workflow. In addition, Sony’s MediaBackbone Conductor boosts the efficiency of the entire workflow, with comprehensive support for ingestion, editing, and distribution processes.
Sony’s professional monitor line up, the PVM-A OLED series and LMD-A LCD series are lightweight, slim and robust, and now upgraded by a new, free firmware Version 1.1, enabling better camera connectivity and easy recall of user presets and reset. At NAB, camera metadata display and a picture-and-picture function will be demonstrated. Sony’s TRIMASTER EL monitors have been well-received by critical users who demand professional-quality picture performance, resulting in total worldwide shipments of more than 30,000 units to date.
PDW-850 and PDW-HD1550
Sony’s XDCAM Professional Disc lineup is strengthened with the addition of two new products. The PDW-850 XDCAM HD 422 camcorder has a new 2/3-inch CCD; and the PDW-HD1550 XDCAM HD 422 recorder can record to both 100-GB (3-layer) and 128-GB (4-layer) high-capacity Professional Discs.
7-inch Full HD LCD Viewfinder
Sony has added two versions of a 7-inch Full HD LCD colour viewfinder, both using a high-definition LCD panel with 1920 x 1080 full HD resolution, to its line-up under the flagship HDVF-EL75 OLED 7.4-inch viewfinder. The HDVF-L770 offers a flexible position adjustment mechanism and large handle incorporating 6 assignable switches. The HDVF-L750 is a basic, easy-to use viewfinder, and various interfaces are available for multi-use of both viewfinders. Using a VF cable and V plate converter (1), the viewfinders can be attached onto HSC Series system cameras and XDCAM PMW Series camcorders in a studio configuration, with the ability to switch between return video and live image. The viewfinders can also be used with Sony’s 4K live camera system.
(1) only included with HDVF-L750
As a new addition to the XDCAM handheld line-up, Sony is introducing the 1/3-type Exmor 3CMOS camcorder PXW-X180. The PXW-X180 is equipped with the newly developed Sony G lens which boasts 26mm wide angle and 25 times zoom capability. A new variable ND filter system enables wide range and linear ND control from 1/4ND to 1/128ND. The PXW-X180 has XAVC Intra and XAVC Long-GOP recording capability as well as MPEG HD422, AVCHD and DV. As a workflow solution, a wireless LAN module is included to enable the use of Wi-Fi and Near Field Communication (NFC) functions for file transfer, monitoring and operating the camcorder remotely.
HDCE-200 Camera Extension Adapter
For further flexible live production operation, Sony’s HDCE-200 addresses the issue of supplying power to a camera when the camera control unit (CCU) is not used. By connecting the HDCE-200 to a baseband processor, users can supply power to the camera and transmit video signals between equipment using by a single SMPTE fiber cable. In addition, the HDCE-200 is capable of HD remote production when used with a third-party’s signal router.
CNA-1 Camera Control Adapter
Through a software upgrade, Sony’s CNA-1 camera control adapter is capable of remote control of 4K and HD camera systems, giving users centralised control of brightness and colour adjustment from a remote control panel located in a broadcast station. This remote production operation can also be used for new applications such as controlling Sony’s BRC series Pan/Tilt/Zoom cameras.
MVS-8000X and MVS-7000X Multi-format switchers
-4K options for MVS-8000X and MVS-7000X
A 4K software upgrade (BZS-7570X and BZS-8570X) adds real-time 4K processing capability to Sony’s existing MVS-8000X and MVS-7000X multi format switchers. Available effects include various wipe transitions, 2.5D key resizer, chroma key, MIX transition by aux bus and more. The MKS-8460X format converter board can up-convert HD video to 4K with Sony’s original database driven super resolution technology.
-Newly developed Control Panel for MVS-8000X and MVS-7000X
The switcher control panel for the MVS-8000X and MVS-7000X has been redesigned with a flexible modular design and includes RGB indicators on the cross-point buttons, and OLED display for better visibility. In addition, a newly developed LCD button with facility for user-customised legends provides more flexibility for function to button assignments. Networked data management is another new feature which allows data to be easily shared among connected MVS-8000X and MVS-7000X models. Sony is also demonstrating new operation capabilities using Tablet PCs. The new panel is planned to be launched by the end of year 2014.
Multi-Interface shoe adaptor for UWP-D series
The wireless receiver Sony’s recently launched UWP-D series wireless microphones can be attached to camcorders or interchangeable-lens cameras(3) that have an MI (Multi-Interface) shoe using the new MI shoe adaptor (SMAD-P3), eliminating the need for connecting cables. By using the MI shoe adapter, the audio signal can be passed from a wireless receiver to the camera. In addition, the wireless receiver can be powered from the camera and power ON/OFF can be controlled by the camera, simplifying power management.
(3) The SMAD-P3 is applicable to the new PXW-X180 camcorder and interchangeable lens digital cameras α7, α7R and α99. (as of April 2014).
Wireless Studio Mobile
Offering easy control of the DWX series Digital Wireless Microphone System without a PC, Sony has launched the Wireless Studio Mobile application for Android, capable of operating DWX transmitters or receivers by WiFi remote control from mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets(4). This control enhancement further builds the power and flexibility of the unique DWX system.
(4) Details of supported models TBA.
Sony is exhibiting at NAB 2014 in the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Centre, booth #C11001.
Excerpts from Press Release