Industry Feed

Sony rolls out host of IP, cloud-focused updates for broadcasters

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Sony has unveiled a range of updates across its professional media product lines focused on IP, cloud and imaging.

“For the last year, in the face of unprecedented circumstances, Sony has been working tirelessly to match the changes in market needs with useful and pragmatic innovations,” said Theresa Alesso of Sony.

“As remote, distributed production coupled with efficient workflows become the standard way of working, we will continue to introduce technology-based around IP, Cloud, AI, and Imaging quality that enables customers to transform their business.”

IP Updates

Sony has added two compact IP extension adapters, the HDCE-TX50 and the HDCE-RX50, which will provide the current HDC camera line-up with IP capability in 4K.

With their HFR features allowing up to 6x slow motion in HD, when using with HDC-5500 system camera and an optional license, HZC-HFR50, these adapters are expected to be indispensable for efficient resource and asset sharing for existing HDC users. Both models are planned to be available in December 2021.

Sony also announced an 8K ST 2110 Interface option board and SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) Agent Software, both expected to be available in October 2021.

The new Interface board, UKCU-8001, enables IP operation for the 8K system and has already seen adoption at CCTV in China.

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Focus on Remote Production

Sony recently expanded the XVS series of switchers with the introduction of the XVS-G1, a 4K-ready, company, entry-level option.

A new firmware update for the rest of Sony’s switcher line is enhancing functionality and is planned for release in June 2021.

Version 3.6 provides an Inter-Group Connection function that will connect multiple switcher control stations, making it particularly beneficial 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.

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, expected in June 2021.

Sony’s unique Adaptive Rate Control function is designed to provide a more stable connection, optimized for the network environment and available bandwidth. Supporting RTMP/RTMPS (Real Time Messaging) Protocol, the cameras will directly stream to social media platforms through a simple and quick connection. The new application, “Virtual Cam Driver for Remote Camera,” is also planned to be released in June 2021, and enables remote cameras to be used as web conferencing tools.

Cloud Technologies

Media Solutions Toolkit is a new suite of cloud-based microservices, designed to give media companies the power to build systems that address their specific production, workflows and management needs.

Within the Media Solutions Toolkit, businesses will choose and combine several types of cloud-native, specialized services, each addressing a particular function, like import or workflow management. Because each microservice can work independently of the others, customers can upgrade, add, remove or scale them as needed—with minimal disruption of service.

While designed for cloud and hybrid environments, the Media Solutions Toolkit will also be deployable on-premise. Additionally, it can integrate with existing Sony applications, such as the Ci cloud platform and third-party applications. The Media Solutions Toolkit is planned to be available in May 2021.

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 allowing the content to be safely secured in a single location.

Workflow Updates

Sony 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.

Sony’s range of XDCAM camcorders will have successive powerful upgrades. The 4K shoulder camcorder, PXW-Z750, expands the 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.

Also planned for later in 2021 is a firmware update that will provide the PXW-Z280 handheld camcorder with HD 120fps support and equip it with enhanced cloud capability, providing benefits that augment remote operation and offer faster media relay.

In addition, the FX9 and FX6 will receive firmware upgrades to support 4K 120p RAW output with an external recorder[i], planned for May 2021. Later in 2021, FX9 Version 3.0 firmware will have new features such as an Anamorphic mode to display 2x and 1.3x desqueeze and Cinemascope frame lines in the viewfinder, on top of the announced features such as the addition of S700PTP, a Center 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 PVM-X3200 (32”) 4K HDR production monitor. This new model, which is planned to launch in October 2021, benefits from TRIMASTER technology and supports an all-white luminance of 1000 cd/m2. It also matches 100 percent of the color gamut of the industry-leading BVM-HX310 TRIMASTER HX master monitor, ensuring continuous color 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.

SR Live for HDR Workflow

Sony’s SR Live workflow focuses on creating the 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 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 also see an improved integration into an HDR workflow. SR Live Metadata will be recorded with greater detail in a recording file as a result of 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 unit, HDRC-4000, via USB or email, instead of just relying on an SDI link.

In May 2021, Sony is planning to 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.

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