Sony announces a series of new upgrades and innovations across the full range of its professional media products and solutions aligned with leading industry trends focused on IP, Cloud, and Imaging. The market transformation is fuelled by the need to produce high quality content, from any location, through scalable and efficient workflows.
Anthony Kable, Content Creation Group Manager, Sony Australia commented: “For the last year, in the face of unprecedented circumstances, we at Sony have been working steadily to match the changes in market needs with useful and pragmatic innovations. As remote, distributed production coupled with efficient workflows, becomes the de-facto way of working, we will continue to propose innovations based around IP, Cloud and Imaging quality. These are tools that enable customers to transform their business.”
Bringing the power of IP to any type of business
As pioneers in IP, Sony has delivered IP Live production systems to more than 120 facilities and OB trucks worldwide as of April 2021, including customers such as Polsat and University of Alabama. Over the last year, there has been an increased demand for a more holistic end-to-end IP approach. In parallel, the appetite for workflow efficiency is also pushing many broadcasters and production companies to mandate an IP infrastructure for their productions.
With this context in mind, Sony announces two compact IP extension adapters, the HDCE-TX50 and the HDCE-RX50, which provide the current HDC camera line-up with IP capability in 4K. With their high frame rate (HFR) features allowing up to 6x slow motion in HD when using with HDC-5500 and an optional license HZC-HFR50, these adapters will prove indispensable for efficient resource and asset sharing for existing HDC users. Both models will be available in December 2021.
To respond to the appetite for IP beyond 4K, Sony is also delighted to announce its new 8K ST2110 Interface option board and SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) Agent Software, both to be available in October 2021. Adding to the CCU of the UHC-8300 8K camera system, the new Interface board UKCU-8001 enables IP operation of the 8K system. Thanks to the SNMP Agent Software UZCU-SNMP80, the board will allow operators to also monitor IP operations and change settings remotely. This new optional board has already been adopted by China Central Television (CCTV) in response to increased demand for 8K in China.
For customers looking to take advantage of IP technology to transform their production, Sony’s IP Live production system that now includes Nevion’s orchestration and SDN control software VideoIPath, provides the means to create reliable, scalable and flexible IP systems for convergent LAN/WAN infrastructures. The new version 3.0 firmware release of Sony’s IP Live System Manager, scheduled for May 2021, includes a south-bound interface to VideoIPath, thereby augmenting its existing broadcast control capabilities with VideoIPath’s network orchestration. Sony’s NXLK-IP50Y and NXLK-IP51Y SDI-IP converter boards, which enable SDI devices to be connected to IP networks, will also be upgraded in September 2021 to support NMOS (Networked Media Open Specifications), enabling them to be controlled by VideoIPath. Both these enhancements will allow customers to build more robust IP systems with an optimised cost.
All of the above new offerings support worldwide standards and specifications including SMPTE ST 2110 and AMWA NMOS.
Expansion of Remote production
Sony recently expanded the XVS series of switchers with the introduction of the XVS-G1, a 4K-ready, compact, entry-level option. Now, the rest of the line-up (XVS-9000, XVS-8000, XVS-7000 and XVS-6000) is enhancing its functionality through a new firmware update. Version 3.6, available from June 2021, brings Inter-Group Connection functionality which will connect multiple switcher control stations. This will be particularly useful for users needing scalable and flexible systems in multi-studios and remote setups. It also includes HDR conversion on 12G-SDI input through an optional license.
In order to meet the accelerated demand for remote environments, the BRC-X400, SRG-X400, SRG-X120 cameras will support the SRT protocol, bringing high quality video transmission with low latency, with firmware version 3.0, available in June 2021. Sony’s unique Adaptive Rate Control function provides a more stable connection, optimised for the network environment and available bandwidth. Supporting RTMP/RTMPS (Real Time Messaging) Protocol, the cameras will directly stream to social media platforms with a simple and quick connection. The new application ‘Virtual Cam Driver for Remote Camera’ is also planned to be released in June 2021, which enables remote cameras to be used as web conference tools.
Scalability and Agility in the Cloud
Sony’s Ci Media Cloud continues to add features to further enable secure remote collaboration in the cloud. Several new features, including Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) and advanced administrative controls, have been added to enable content owners to further protect their most valuable content. Ci’s newly added quality control (QC) features such as Source Quality Frame Preview and Frame-accurate Audio Meters enable remote teams to perform quality and compliance checks entirely in the cloud with a simple web browser – eliminating additional file transfers and content is safely secured in a single location.
Harnessing the power of high-quality content and powerful workflows
Sony is also announcing a range of upgrades and new products that will provide high quality content from capture to monitoring and create freedom of use through workflow efficiency.
Sony remains committed to offering innovative tools that empower creators and enrich storytelling. To this end, the company is currently developing a new 4K camera system to expand the HDC line-up. Its Super35 global shutter CMOS image sensor enables a shallow depth of field that enhances creative expression and provides cinematic bokeh that captures every nuance and emotion – all in an HDC form factor. The camera will be compatible with Sony’s existing SR Live for HDR workflow with HLG and S-Log3. The new model is planned to be available in 2021. Full details will be announced in the coming months.
On the camera front, Sony’s range of XDCAM camcorders will have several successive powerful upgrades. For instance, the 4K shoulder camcorder PXW-Z750 will have a longer cache recording duration through the version 3.0 firmware update planned for May 2021, adding more flexibility for use in news, documentary and natural history recordings to help capture critical moments.
A firmware update, planned for later in 2021, will provide the PXW-Z280 handheld camcorder with HD 120 fps support and equip it with enhanced cloud capability, providing benefits that enhance remote operation and offer faster media relay.
Also planned for May 2021, the FX9 and FX6 will receive firmware upgrade to support 4K 120p RAW output with an external recorder. Launching in 2021, FX9 Version 3.0 firmware will have new features including an Anamorphic mode to display 2x and 1.3x desqueeze and Cinemascope frame lines in the viewfinder, on top of the addition of S700PTP, a Centre Scan mode for Super 16mm lens and B4 Lens support with its adaptor.
Sony is also introducing a new addition to the professional monitor line-up, the new PVM-X3200 (32-inch) 4K HDR picture monitor. This model, launching in October 2021, benefits from TRIMASTER technology and supports an all-white luminance of 1000 cd/m2. It also matches 100 percent of the colour gamut of the industry-leading BVM-HX310 TRIMASTER HX master monitor, ensuring continuous colour accuracy from production to post. With the optional license PVML-HSX1 scheduled for June 2021, the PVM-X3200, PVM-X2400 and PVM-X1800 will also support internal conversion of HDR to SDR and 4K to HD for further usability.
Enhancement of SR Live for HDR workflow
Already adopted by several organisations such as Euromedia Group, Sony’s SR Live for HDR workflow focuses on creating the best Live HDR and SDR programs simultaneously through a single production unit. By using the new SR Live Metadata, Sony HDC camera settings are captured by the camera and sent through to the post-production process via an SDI link. Thus, the SDR production output perfectly matches the intention and settings of the grader. Sony is now expanding the equipment compatible with SR Live Metadata and enhancing the function to support efficient HDR production.
Sony’s range of shoulder camcorders, the PXW-Z750/Z450/X400 will see an improved integration into an HDR workflow: SR Live Metadata will be recorded with greater detail in a recording file thanks to the new firmware update planned for May 2021.
In April 2021, the Metadata based part of the workflow will be enhanced with the introduction of SR Live MetaFile. This will allow users to manage SR Live Metadata files shareable between Sony’s HDR production converter HDRC-4000 unit via USB or email, instead of just relying on SDI link.
Then in May this year, Sony will offer SR Live 3D LUT files that provide HDR/SDR conversion with the same image quality as Sony’s HDRC-4000 converter unit. By importing this SR Live 3D file, third-party converters that support 3D LUTs can also be used in Sony’s SR Live for HDR workflows, giving the system more flexibility.