Sony Electronics Inc. unveiled on 30 April 2020 new solutions and products developed in collaboration with the media industry to bring creative visions to life. Key highlights include powerful enhancements to Sony’s digital motion picture camera VENICE and full-frame camera FX9, and upgrades to its 4K HDR professional monitors. Sony also expands its portfolio of Ci cloud-based collaboration and content management tools with an enhanced hybrid asset management solution that unifies Ci and NavigatorX, as well as a new Media Analytics Portal.
“Our industry is seeing rapid evolution as the need to develop content for cross-platform distribution has transformed both the creative process and post-production workflows,” said Theresa Alesso, Pro Division president, Sony Electronics. “We are driven to provide the industry with essential technologies that enable them to continue efficient operation, even in difficult circumstances. We are also driven by our customers’ needs to optimize content for live broadcast, cloud-based management and storage, and OTT on-demand consumption. There is no such thing as single-platform distribution anymore. Our goal is to help customers maximize their return on investment with technologies that enable them to reach the broadest possible audience, across the widest array of distribution channels, and with the simplest production process.”
Unlocking new power from industry-leading imaging solutions
For 2020, Sony is expanding its imaging portfolio and product functionality, offering an enhanced range of solutions that maximize content quality and value and enhance the operations of content producers and broadcasters.
Cinema, TV program, commercial and documentary productions
- VENICE Version 6.0 firmware: Sony expands the capabilities of its digital motion picture camera VENICE to offer even greater creative freedom and usability for creators of features, episodic and short-form content. Launching in November 2020, Version 6.0 firmware supports the import of a new Advanced Rendering Transform (.art) file including a new “Technicolor look library,” addition of second user frame line and expanded HFR capabilities, among other new features.
- FX9 Version 2.0 firmware: The FX9 full-frame camera Version 2.0 firmware will expand shooting capabilities and improve its user operation. Launching in October 2020, Version 2.0 supports 4K 60p/50p recording through oversampling from a 5K cropped area of 6K full-frame sensor, 16-bit RAW external output and more.
Additional new VENICE and FX9 product features are detailed in the announcement, Sony Expands Filmmaking Versatility and Creative Freedom with VENICE and FX9 Full-frame Cameras Upgrades
Supporting News and Live Productions
- PXW-Z450KC Lens Kit Model: The PXW-Z450 4K 2/3” Shoulder Mount Camcorder will be available in a production package that will include a 18x zoom 4K lens, viewfinder and microphone. The PXW-Z450KC will be available in August 2020.
- PXW-Z1901 and PXW-Z280: Simple Live Streaming support in early 2021: Sony’s 4K handheld compact camcorders will be enhanced with RTMP/RTMPS FHD streaming capability, allowing users to live stream and upload to video content sharing sites and social media platforms quickly, anytime and anywhere.
- MSU-3500 and MSU-3000, Master Setup Unit, multi-camera remote control panel for system camera: The master setup unit is a control panel for camera configuration and maintenance. Both units are equipped with a new 7” WVGA LCD touch panel for better user visibility. The MSU-3500 is half rack with vertically orientation, while the MSU-3000 is a full rack width and is horizontally oriented. Both will be available in summer 2020.
- PDW-U4 XDCAM Professional Disc Drive Unit: The PDW-U4, to be available in January 2021, is a portable, easy to use Disc Drive Unit with high capacity up to 128GB (Write Once), 100GB (Rewritable) and supports four/three/two/single-layer XDCAM Professional Disc media. Adopting 4-channel DCHS (Dual Channel Head System) drive, the PDW-U4 achieves file transfer speeds of approximately 2 times (read) / 1.7 times (write)2– faster than the current PDW-U2. The PDW-U4 offers a fast workflow for ingesting camera record files and archiving the final edit.
Cross-portfolio support for HDR
With the demand for HDR content continuing to grow, Sony is fully committed to supporting HDR across its professional solutions portfolio.
- SR Live Metadata: SR Live workflow focuses on creating the best Live HDR and SDR programs simultaneously produced by a single production unit. Sony HDC camera settings are captured by the camera and sent throughout the production process. This allows the SDR production to be perfectly replicated, as intended by the shading craftsperson. Only the HDR signals need to be switched and routed, eliminating the need to add separate production staff to handle the SDR. SR Live Metadata is already supported by the HDRC-4000 HDR production converter unit and PWS-4500 production server. In summer 2020, Sony’s live production systems, such as HDC-series system cameras with in-CCU recording capability, will also be supported. In addition, file-based production systems, such as the PXW-Z750, PXW-Z450 and PXW-X4003 professional camcorders, will support SR Live Metadata with the application software Catalyst Prepare by the end of 2020.
- CBKZ-SLHL1- Optional HD HDR License for the PXW-X400: The PXW-X400 is an advanced 2/3” Shoulder Mount Camcorder that records a variety of broadcast quality formats. With optimal weight balance, low power consumption and flexible networking features, the PXW-X400 is a versatile workhorse for field production. Coming in July 2020, the CBKZ-SLHL1 optional software license will add 1080 60p/50p HDR capability to the model.
- PVM-X2400 and PVM-X1800 – update: Announced earlier this year, the PVM-X2400 (24”) and PVM-X1800 (18.4”) next-generation 4K HDR picture monitors with TRIMASTER technology support an all-white luminance of 1,000 cd/m2 and match 100 percent of the color gamut of the industry-leading BVM-HX310 TRIMASTER HX master monitor, ensuring color accuracy from production to post. After an official launch scheduled in July 2020, a future optional upgrade is planned in March 2021 that will enhance the monitors further by adding internal conversion of HDR to SDR and 4K-HD.
- XVS series production switcher update and new option board: In order to meet the growing demand for 4K HDR production, the XVS series switcher newly supports HDR conversion. Sony will also offer two new mix effect boards: the XKS-8215 for the XVS-9000/8000 switcher, and XKS-7215 for the XVS-7000 switcher. The new boards offer four fully functional keyers per 4K ME, with resizers, chroma key, and key priority. The HDR conversion support and these new boards will be available in early 2021.
Pushing the boundaries of efficiency with IP Live Production
As pioneers in IP, Sony has delivered IP Live production systems to more than 100 live studios and OB trucks as of April 2020, to customers such as Groupe TVA and NFL Network. Updates to several IP Live solutions will offer new efficiencies and ROI for broadcasters across the globe.
- Further Enhancement of Open Standards based production systems: Sony has been making significant contributions to the development of Open Standards based production systems. Sony’s IP Live production ecosystem conforms to the latest SMPTE ST 2110 and AMWA NMOS standards to truly enable interoperability for its customers to build the most advanced and future-focused systems using IP technology.
- SDI-IP Converter Boards update: The NXLK-IP50Y/IP51Y follow SMPTE ST2110 standards, capable of video signal conversions of HD, 4K, SDI and IP. Compatible with ST 2110-20/30/40 streaming formats and offering very low latency signal conversion, it is ideal for integration in real-time IP Live production environments. In September 2020, SDR/HDR and Up/Down Conversion licenses will receive an enhancement to add color correction. New licenses to support audio delay capability will be available at the same time.
Transforming operations with the cloud
Sony has developed a variety of services that leverage the cloud to streamline production, editorial and delivery workflows. The latest updates to the services include:
- Enhancement of Ci Media Cloud Platform: Designed to bring disparate systems and redundant file transfers into a single unified platform, Ci plans to have updates in May 2020, including launch of Ci Catalog. Ci Catalog streamlines asset management for large media enterprises and enables better management of finished assets, streamlining work for marketing, sales, distribution and archive teams.
- Enhanced hybrid operation of NavigatorX and Ci: Sony will provide a world-class hybrid asset management solution from June 2020, unlike anything the industry has seen. Customers will be able to manage content in any facility or in the cloud.
Integrating Artificial Intelligence into media workflows
- Media Analytics Portal: Sony’s newly launched cloud-based solution supports content creators with its diverse AI analytics models and services, including object recognition and speech-to-text through a single Web-based portal. It also seamlessly integrates with Ci Media Cloud Services, XDCAM air and Media Backbone NavigatorX. Whether used for sports content management or program production, Media Analytics Portal enhances media workflows by augmenting metadata and automating media processes for greater efficiency and productivity. Expected availability begins fall 2020.