At NAB 2018, Sony focused on new workflows for new types of customers. The company is showcasing technologies and products for HD, 4K, 8K, High Dynamic Range and IP, enabling more creative options and greater flexibility for professionals.
Taking center-stage on the stand is Sony’s ultimate big-screen bezel-less Crystal LED display system, delivering huge 8K x 4K visual images with stunning picture quality. Ultra-real contents including unprecedented 8K 120fps video shot by 8K system camera UHC-8300 with 1.25-inch three 8K sensors are replayed to impress visitors. Sony’s exhibit will also feature new models and updates to solutions and services proposing the right mix for professionals’ needs to achieve their long-term success.
A combination of changing consumer viewing habits, unexampled industry consolidation and new business models has created a “sea change” in the media industry, according to Katsunori Yamanouchi, president of Sony’s Professional Solutions Americas group.
“Media customers need to deliver content anytime to any platform, in a range of different formats, and in high quality,” Yamanouchi said. “Often they need to do all this with fewer resources. Sony is continually adapting to meet our customers’ changing needs, helping them develop practical workflows to help them meet their technical and financial goals.”
Yamanouchi added that increasing acceptance of cloud technology has seen more companies move content and their operations into the cloud. Additionally, media companies need to maximise and monetise the global distribution of their content, while also balancing capital and operating expenses.
Sony’s Media Solutions Division
Sony’s Media Solutions Division formed in December last year is harnessing the power of cloud collaboration and automation to develop and bring to market customised technologies for content owners/creators, distributors and platforms. The group combines many of Sony’s technology resources designed to drive efficiencies at every stage of the media production lifecycle – from content acquisition to distribution to archive. Sony is continually expanding its professional solutions offerings, enhancing and developing options for real-time and non-real-time production such as XDCAM air, Media Backbone Hive, Media Backbone NavigatorX, Memnon digitisation and the Ci cloud platform. Ven.ue strengthens OTT and cloud-based content distribution and management capabilities. Sony acquired Crispin Corporation in April in 2017, adding master control automation and asset management.
Sony’s NAB 2018 New Products
At NAB 2018, Sony is highlighting its comprehensive and growing line of cameras and camcorders, with 4K and support for High Dynamic Range (HDR) available at every level.
Cameras and camcorders
Sony is expanding its XDCAM line of professional camcorders with its new flagship handheld PXW-Z280 and a 4K compact camcorder PXW-Z190.
PXW-Z280 equips the world’s first 4K three 1/2-type Exmor R CMOS image sensors, delivering high sensitivity of F12 (59.94p), long zoom ratio and deep depth of field, ideal for news gathering. In addition, 4K 4:2:2 10-bit adds vivid imagery and delicate colour gradation. The PXW-Z280 also supports 4K 50p/60p recording capability and 12G-SDI output, good for live event production. The enhanced network enables direct-to-air workflow featuring Sony’s Quality of Service (QoS) for live distribution of high-quality broadcast content using a Dual Link connection multiplexing two cellular networks. Versatile formats and interfaces also support the workflow. A 17x zoom lens and three independent control rings with end-stop allow manual control of focus, zoom, and iris for quick and precise adjustment.
PXW-Z190 carries newly developed three 1/3-type Exmor R CMOS image sensors capture RGB light independently and deliver 4K 50p/60p imagery with high resolution and a wide range of gradation. 4:2:2 10-bit ensures vivid and rich colour content in HD. The new model incorporates a 25x optical zoom lens to cover a wide focal range for multiple shooing requirements, with three independent lens rings to support intuitive operation.
Both models have Advanced Face Detection Autofocus (AF) including “Face Priority AF” and newly added “Face Only AF,” and Sony’s Electronic Variable ND filter ensures greater exposure control by smoothly varying the density of the ND filter during shooting while maintaining resolution and depth of field.
Sony is expanding its Large Format Sensor category with the new XDCAM handheld camcorder FS5 II. Complete with 4K HDR and 120fps performance and RAW capabilities, the new Super 35 mm camcorder combines outstanding image quality with an ergonomic modular frame. In addition to S-Log 2/3, the FS5 II supports Sony’s Instant HDR Workflow to produce HDR content for quick post-production without the need of grading. The FS5 II features an all-new look with a refined picture tone to capture natural highlights, subtle, alluring and well rendered facial tones and a softer tonal look emphasising portrayal of a person.
IP Live Production Solution
Sony’s IP Live production solution offers an alternative to the separate infrastructures of SDI for live production and IP for file-based production; creating a single, unified IP network. It lowers equipment costs and lays out a logical upgrade path to 4K, HFR, 8K and beyond. Broadcasters worldwide are embracing IP. Sony is a pioneer in this area with its Networked Media Interface. Sony is also investing in the future of IP Live interoperability with industry standards such as SMPTE ST 2110.
Sony is building SMPTE ST 2110 into its legacy and new products, making it among the first manufacturers to bring its entire portfolio of IP products into ST 2110 compliance. In addition to collaboration with many IP switch manufacturers, Sony and Cisco have announced a new global collaboration to create IP networking technologies for 4K/HD live production applications in the broadcast, media and entertainment industries. The agreement between the two companies will give customers worldwide an expanded range of flexible, proven and reliable IP systems.
Sony is expanding its IP Live Production system with a new camera control unit, the HDCU-3100. The 1.5U size of the compact fibre camera control unit brings IP capabilities to Sony’s system cameras, from the flagship 4K HDC-4300 with BPU-4000 series, including the new BPU-4500A, through to the HDC-2000 series and HSC fibre system cameras. Combined with a new HKCU-SFP30 option board, the HDCU-3100 is able to support SMPTE ST 2110 Professional Media over a managed IP Network suite of standards. The essential functionalities required for live production including tally, intercom and return video can all be provided through IP. Support for NMOS IS-04/05 is in future scope.
Sony’s new live production switcher, the XVS-9000, is designed to address the demands of advanced 4K and HD productions in the rise of High Dynamic Range (HDR) content. The XVS-9000 offers up to 80 inputs and 40 outputs in 4K and up to 160 inputs and 80 outputs in HD adopting the latest interfaces for both IP (SMPTE ST 2110) and 12G-SDI in 4K as well as hybrid system of both, for large sporting and entertainment events.
Archive and Storage Solution
Sony is unveiling the newest generation of its Optical Disc Archive System and announcing new agreements with partner companies. Qualstar Corporation entered into a Product Development Agreement with Sony to develop an Enterprise Class Optical Disc Library, and Mitsubishi Chemical Media Co., Ltd. has signed a License Agreement with Sony to produce Optical Disc Archive cartridges. Sony further enhances Optical Disc Archive with stable production and new addition of product line. Sony is also embracing an open platform approach for broad compatibility, providing technologies and support to encourage other manufacturers to develop complementary products for the technology.
Responding to voice of customers who are heading to 4K and High Dynamic Range (HDR) production, Sony releases firmware updates for BVM-X300 master monitor and PVM-X550 picture monitor. The common feature upgrades are, Flexible Area Marker enabling two flexible area markers freely set on one 4K screen, Time Code Display capable to display LTC and VITC time code at the top or the bottom of the 4K screen, and New Input Setting to simplify a flow of settings into one integrated assignable button, and the number of assignable settings are increased from 4 to 8. Moreover, High Brightness Mode is to be added to PVM-X550 delivering wider dynamic range to reproduce more realistic colours and to optimise 4K colour grading with over 180 per cent in HDR Peak Luminance as compared to the current PVM-X550.
Technology and Product Upgrades
Sony is helping customers extend the life of their current Sony technologies by continually introducing new upgrades, enabling new features and performance. These include:
VENICE full-frame motion picture camera – Sony’s next-gen CineAlta system began shipping two months ago, and it’s already well accepted by the market. At NAB, Sony is previewing upcoming VENICE features including variable frame rate and a newly developed dual base ISO 2500 mode.
UHC-8300 – Sony’s first 8K camera is showcased in US for the first time. 8K (7680 x 4320) 120p capturing format delivers well balanced high-resolution footage with an impressive deep depth of field and wide dynamic range, making it suitable for HDR footage. It can be used not only for 8K production, but also for 4K, generating 8K, 4K and HD signal outputs simultaneously. The camera gives complete choice to customers.
PXW-Z450 – this versatile 4K production camcorder is now even more flexible through a recent firmware upgrade for HDR support including high-quality S-Log3 shooting and recording, ITU-R BT.2020 colour gamut support, as well as HLG live output.
HXC-FB80 – This accessible entry into 4K- and HDR-ready studio and live production is based on a 3G-SDI platform with 1080/59.94p capabilities. The new system fits a range of commercial applications where professionals need high-quality HD with a “future-proof” path to 4K and HDR production.
Alpha camera connected to XDCAM air (Technological Exhibition) – Responding to the market expectation of the full frame mirrorless digital camera for the professional news gathering, Alpha is showcased with connection to the XDCAM air as a future possibility.
DWX Digital Wireless Microphone System – Sony Corporation collaborated with Blue Note Media Group to open “Sony Hall,” a new music venue in New York City March 2018. The hall presents world renowned performing artists across all music genres. Sony Hall is equipped with DWX Series digital wireless microphone system, provides high sound quality with reliable operation to deliver enhanced entertainment experiences to audiences.
For more information on Sony’s professional technologies at NAB 2018, visit the Sony website.