Sony elaborates on 4K Live Production Solution at IBC 2013

Last week’s IBC show saw Sony announce that it is taking its Beyond Definition theme to a new level by unveiling an array of solutions and services highlighted by the new 4K Live Production Solution.

4K Live Production is now readily available to professionals. Sony has also developed key products, systems and workflows from shooting to viewing with the 4K Live Production Solution.

The 4K live camera system employs the PMW-F55, with other major Sony 4K Live Production Solutions including a multi-port video server capable of 4K and HD recording through the efficient workflow of the XAVC video format and a multi-format switcher capable of real-time 4K signal processing.

When 30-inch 4K LCD monitors and 4K SXRD projectors are added, Sony can provide all the components necessary for building the complete 4K live production solution.

This new system not only delivers 4K resolution images, it brings new capabilities to HD productions. The use of a 4K live camera system allows for slow motion HD capture and replay at up to 240 fps. Newly developed 4K Stitching Software coordinates two 4K cameras to cover an entire playing field, enabling dynamic extraction of HD images from any part of the field. Using Telestrator Software, various graphics and player data can be added as an HD cutout. Sony is also offering migration to help customers move to live 4K production, including upgrades of existing HD equipment, and the use of components from other manufacturers.

“Today 4K video production is making impressive inroads in a growing number of venues—from movies, television programming, ad-film making, documentary production and more,” says Norbert Paquet, trade marketing manager, Live Production, 3D and 4K, Sony Europe. “Countries across the globe are now taking steps towards making 4K broadcasting a reality. As a pioneer in 4K, Sony shall continue developing new technologies that deliver spectacular 4K content to viewers across the globe.”

Sony successfully conducted 4K live production trials in a joint project with FIFA TV at the FIFA Confederations Cup 2013 in June, with the support of lenses from FUJIFILM Corporation (Japan), a proto-type 4K to HD down-converter and a video routing system from Miranda Technologies, a Belden brand (USA) and the world’s first purpose-built 4K OB truck from Telegenic (UK), co-developed with Sony Professional Europe.

Sony’s PMW-F55 incorporates a Super 35mm 4K CMOS image sensor with a global shutter. The camera delivers multiple shooting options for HD/2K/QFHD/4K with superb dynamic range, widest colour gamut and pristine image quality. Its modular style allows for a wide range of configurations to meet a large variety of customer needs. With its powerful feature set, the PMW-F55 sits at the center of Sony’s newly developed 4K live camera system.

To build the system, the CA-4000 camera system adapter is attached to the PMW-F55, and then connected to the BPU-4000 baseband processor unit together with the current camera control unit HDCU-2000 (or HDCU-2500) with optical fiber cable. This setup enables fine real-time adjustment of the camera’s 4K image, together with the remote control of intercom, return images and cameras. The CA-4000 includes all the functionalities required for live production, including a viewfinder interface. When Sony’s HDC camera series are included in the system, the BPU-4000 will ensure consistent colour reproduction of the camera’s 4K image. This overall system is then as easy to operate as any HD studio camera, keeping consistency with user interfaces and reducing setup time.

In addition, Sony’s newly developed LA-FZB2 lens mount adapter enables mounting of existing HD zoom lenses onto the PMW-F55, where they can be used to shoot 4K video.

As a result of these features, the PMW-F55 4K live camera system is ideal not only for pure 4K productions, but also for working with and extending the capability of existing HD systems, and for conversion of standard HD video into 4K in near future.

Meanwhile, the PWA-4KS 4K Stitching Software comprises an 8K x 2K-wide view of an entire field of coverage, such as a football pitch, shot by two 4K cameras. Any area on the composed view allows extraction of up to two HD views as if they were cutout images. By shooting the complete field of coverage, there’s no chance of missing a single moment of the action.

By deploying Sony’s PWA-TS1 Telestrator Software with the 4K Stitching Software, users can add various graphics and player information to the HD cutout views (for example, a player’s name, score and tracking information).  This capability can significantly raise the entertainment value of a live sports broadcast.

The PWS-4400 multi-port video server is suitable for both 4K and HD productions. It records 4K and HD content using as many as four 4K channels through the efficient XAVC video format. For 4K workflows, the unit generates a 4K XAVC file that can be handled easily in non-linear editing systems (NLE).  A smooth and intuitive user interface is provided by control software with a touch panel and an attached controller. 4K and HD video clips are able to be transferred interactively to and from external recording media through media software. It is also capable to replay up to 240 fps/200 fps HD slow-motion playback (4x slow motion when using 60 fps/50 fps) ideal for analysing important plays. The internal storage is 2TB standard (up to 8TB as an option).

PWS-4400 Multi Port AV Storage Unit

The 4K upgrade software (BZS-7570X and BZS-8570X) can add real-time 4K processing capability to the existing MVS-8000X and MVS-7000X multi-format switchers. A future version made available via an upgrade will allow these switchers to add effects directly to live 4K video. Available effects include superimposed text, keying, clip transitions (CG wipes) using externally supplied dynamic clips, zooming, moving and tilting of composites.

Customers can also use Sony’s new MKS-8460X format converter board to up-convert HD video to 4K. Used in conjunction with Sony’s original database-driven super-resolution technology — which is capable of converting HD images into extremely clean and realistic 4K — this equipment enables users to generate 4K video using existing HD cameras, to insert existing HD video into 4K video, and to up-convert HD graphics into 4K. This option allows customers to retain their existing assets while moving into true 4K production.

Live 4K production requires high-resolution monitoring of camera focus and image detail. Sony’s 30-inch PVM-X300 4K liquid-crystal professional monitor delivers highly effective on-site monitoring. This professional model features a wide viewing angle, true 4K resolution, and high-quality image reproduction.

Public viewing of live 4K sports broadcasts requires a high-quality projector capable of 4K resolution in 60fps for smooth and accurate reproduction of rapid sports action. Sony’s SRX-T615 projector is equipped with the original super-precise 4K SXRD (Silicon X-tal Reflective Display) and boosts extremely high picture quality, created by a best in class contrast ratio of 12,000:1 and a high brightness of 18,000lm thanks to its newly developed 4K optical engine. The SRX-T615 offers low running costs and a variety of lamp operations for precise and flexible luminance control with six HPM lamps. The SRX-T615 also has flexibility to adopt S-RGB, DCDM and Adobe RGB colour space.

A 4K live camera system also provides new added-value to HD production. Sony’s PMW-F55 incorporates the Super 35mm 4K CMOS image sensor, enabling image capture with four times the resolution of HD. Utilising this in HD shooting, users can achieve extremely high-speed capturing at a maximum of 240 fps/200fps. Users can record 240fps/200fps images captured by the PMW-F55, CA-4000 camera adaptor and BPU-4000 base-band processor unit to the PWS-4400 multi-port video server, which can replay the video at 4x slow motion (60 fps/50 fps). This capability allows for powerful selection of sports action, greatly enhancing the value of the sports broadcast.

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