Sony announces latest technologies for more flexible workflows

Apr 23, 2021

Sony has announced 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.  

Kajita Hiroshi, head of media solutions, Sony Professional Solutions Europe 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.”

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 has announced 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 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. 

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, optimized 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.  

Sony furthers its range of cloud-based solution to support the growing demand of remote and distributed production. A solution that enhances the connection between cameras and the cloud is also currently under development. 

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 type of cloud-native, specialised 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. The Media Solutions Toolkit will be available from May 2021, as a subscription, a managed service or via licenses. While designed for cloud and hybrid environments, it will also be deployable on-premise. It will also integrate with existing Sony applications, such as the Ci cloud platform and third-party applications. 

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.  

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. 

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. 

Sony is also introducing a new addition to the professional monitor line-up, the new PVM-X3200 (32”) 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 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 will also support internal conversion of HDR to SDR and 4K to HD for further usability. 

Already adopted by several organizations 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.

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