At NAB 2014 Sony has announced a new lineup of software and hardware options set to enhance Sony’s ever-growing 4K lineup. The focus on 4K isn’t anything new for Sony, the company has been one of the innovating forces behind the technology for the last few years, eagerly awaiting for the average consumer to start investing in the upgrades.
“4K content creation is certainly on the rise and not just in traditional broadcast and production,” said Alec Shapiro, president of Sony’s Professional Solutions of America group. “It adds new dimensions to 2K sports broadcasting, providing greater detail to blow up shots for slow motion replay and it’s the best way to future-proof the content you are distributing in 2K today.”
As for 4K cameras, Sony detailed the F65, F55 and F5, the compact NEX-FS700 and PXW-Z100 4K camcorders. Sony also has 4K switchers, a 4K server, 4K production monitors, as well as an OLED 4K monitor in development, and 4K projectors for movie theaters and large venues.
“If you’re considering large sensor acquisition technology, the obvious choice is a Sony 4K camera,” Shapiro said. “And for any application and budget, Sony has a 4K solution. That’s why we’re expanding our NAB theme of Beyond Definition, adding 4K for 2K, 4K for 4K, 4K for all.”
Sony 4K cameras are shooting dozens of TV shows including Rake, Masters of Sex, Mom, Community and The Blacklist. Upcoming motion picture projects shot with Sony 4K cameras include Spike Lee’s newest movie, Screen Gems’ “Think Like a Man, Too,” Sony Picture’s holiday release of the musical “Annie,” “A Million Ways to Die in the West,” and “Tomorrowland” — all shot with Sony F55/65 cameras.
Online networks are also changing the way people enjoy their entertainment content, and Sony 4K cameras are again playing a leading role. Sony’s own online network, Crackle, shoots many of its programming on F55s. Sony is outfitting YouTube’s new production facility in New York and its facility in Los Angeles with F55s and other state-of-the-art equipment and Hulu’s new original series “Deadbeat,” premiering this week, is shot with Sony F55s.
Sony 4K technology is also used by the fashion world, for oil exploration, and for medical education and training.
Sony Technology News at NAB 2014
For the F55 and F5 4K cameras, Sony is announcing the addition of Apple ProRes on-board recording and the addition of the AVID® DNxHD® codec as future hardware upgrade options for its F5 and F55 CineAlta 4K cameras. The F5 and F55 already offer four choices of recording formats: HDCAM SR, XAVC, 50 MBPS 422, and RAW. Customers will also have the choice of upgrading their F5 to an F55, with the same imager, color filter array and 4K on board recording and live signal output.
Version 4.0 firmware update for the F5 and F55 provides picture cache recording, user generated 3D LUT support, and many other requested features at no cost.
For the F5 and F55 cameras Sony is also introducing the ENG and documentary dock, a dockable shoulder mount with on board audio control, rear XLR inputs, wireless mic holder and much more.
The F65 also benefits from a powerful firmware update, Version 4.0, which adds wireless streaming to a tablet application, support for live color grading, and importing of 3D LUT’s.
Sony’s MVS-7000X and MVS-8000X production switchers now have real time 4K processing capabilities, and prior models can also be upgraded. The switchers have a new control panel with a flexible, modular design.
At NAB Sony is featuring Optical Disc Archive, a cartridge housing 12 optical discs and a specialized drive unit, an ideal solution for large-scale, long-term image data archiving. Sony is also introducing a tape digitizing server can facilitate the conversion of tape based assets into optical disc files. Sony is also announcing that the 2nd generation of Optical Disc Archive will achieve 3.6TB capacity, with the 3rd generation achieving high capacity of 6TB. The Golf Channel is the first U.S. broadcaster to adopt Sony’s Optical Disc Archive system.
Sony’s “Ci” Media Cloud Services is addressing storage and workflow challenges at many organizations. Over the past year, Ci has been utilized by NBC Universal, The Weather Company, USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, Raycom Media, Producers Guild of America, Turner Broadcasting, Locarno Film Festival, Crackle Productions, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, and more. Ci has been leveraged in a variety of ways – from uploading, storing, and sharing 100MB+ media files, review of dailies, and archiving of content to promo distribution, film submissions, and classroom work.
Sony’s Vegas Pro 13 is the latest upgrade to its video editing family. Vegas Pro 13 adds a tablet app for remotely reviewing projects with clients and team members, the ability to work with XDCAM Proxy footage using Sony’s wireless camera adapter, stronger archiving, and XAVC rendering among other features.
For Sony, NAB would not be complete without a mention of XDCAM. Already a standard from ENG to sports to reality TV, Sony is continuously enhancing its XDCAM line-up and evolving its workflow, in response to the ever-increasing demands of video production professionals, including:
Continued expansion of Professional Disc based products, New codecs to match users’ storage, bandwidth and quality needs, new wireless workflows to move footage from the field to the edit suite faster; a 4K addition – the PXW-Z100 handheld camcorder.
Two of Sony’s widely used XDCAM memory camcorders — the PMW-400 and PMW-300 — will support XAVC this summer through a firmware upgrade that makes them even more flexible in news reporting to program production.
Sony is also enhancing its XDCAM products with wireless workflows and better audio performance. The CBK-WA100 wireless adaptor clips onto a camcorder for new levels of wireless freedom. The adaptor even records its own ultra-light proxy files, which users can transfer via wireless LAN. Sony is advancing wireless mic integration for XDCAM handheld cameras with the Multi Interface, or M.I. shoe, providing a simple, one-step connection between the wireless mic receiver and the camera.
Sony is adding new high performance XCAM products: the PDW-850 XDCAM HD 422 shoulder mount camcorder, PXW-X180 camcorder and the PDW-HD1550 recorder. The new products are equipped with a host of features for greater operational performance. The PDW-850 incorporates a newly-developed 2/3-inch CCD image sensor, and the PDW-HD1550 recorder supports both 3-layer (100 GB) and 4-layer (128 GB) high-capacity Professional Discs.
The PXW-X180 Handheld Solid-State Memory Camcorder features a newly developed 25x optical zoom Sony G Lens with 26 mm wide angle. The PXW-X180 records in MPEG HD422 at 50 Mbps, a format widely preferred by broadcasters and production houses today, and XAVC Intra 4:2:2 and Long GOP, which enables 10-bit sampling for high-definition recording with rich tonal expression. It can also record AVCHDTM and DV. Wireless file transfer of captured files is also enabled to help the workflow.
The PXW-X180 is the first Sony professional camcorder to feature a new variable neutral density (ND) filter. This new device has been developed to electronically control density and enable continuous setting adjustment from 1/4ND to 1/128ND with simple dial operation. Using the filter in conjunction with different iris and shutter speed settings, depth of field and brightness can be adjusted. This allows 1the use of shooting techniques such as slow shutter shooting as desired in daylight and other bright light conditions.
(update: more info on the as7 model in particular can be found in the next article here)