—For the past few years, Sony Electronics' Broadcast and Production Systems Division senior vice president Alec Shapiro has bragged that everything in his company's massive NAB booth was "100 percent HD." But this year, he said, that's no longer true.
Attendees at the HPA Tech Retreat inspect Sony’s new BVM-E series of OLED reference monitors.
"We're moving beyond HD," he said. "This year we will be debuting new products that utilize 3D, 4K and OLED technology."
4K AND 3D
The 4K PL-mount camera that Sony will introduce—unnamed at press time—actually employs an 8K, 8768x2324 pixel single CMOS sensor to provide real 4K performance. "Our competitors claim to have 4K cameras, but this camera actually delivers full 4K performance," said Shapiro. With a 1 TB memory card recording at 24 fps, an hour of the 4K footage can be stored.
Sony will also present workflow demonstrations that bring 4K video from acquisition to production, post and display on the company's 4K SXRD digital cinema motion picture projectors.
A major portion of Sony's NAB 2010 exhibit involved 3D enabling equipment, and in the year that has passed the company has been very involved in stereoscopic video technology. "Our cameras have been key to production for all the 3D sports programming running on ESPN 3D, as well as for other events like the Sony Open Golf Tournament earlier this year, and The Masters both last year and this," Shapiro said.
He pointed at the company's recently introduced PMWF3L Super 35mm XDCAM EX-based camera as the hottest camera in the industry. Built around a newly developed Exmor Super 35 CMOS image sensor and sporting a PL lens mount, the F3 uses technology from Sony's high-end F35 d-cinema camera, but at a lower price and smaller size, weighing in at just over 5 pounds. It provides recording to solid-state memory or output through dual-link HDSDI ports.
A 3D-LINK option on the F3 allows two F3 cameras to be controlled by one camera remote controller at the same time. Genlock, timecode in and out, and simultaneous control of lens iris and focus functions are provided. "Its price, its size and its capabilities make the F3 very attractive for use in 3D applications, certainly documentary movie making, nature type motion picture production," said Shapiro.
Unseen at sports and entertainment venues, except to the 3D technical crew, has been Sony's MPE-200 3D Image Processor, which corrects and optimizes stereo video images in real-time. Shapiro noted that the "3D box" has been a life-saver to production of live 3D, where humans could not keep up with all of the corrections and adjustments that need to be made on-the-fly. "We've upgraded the MPE-200 this year so that in addition to its array of camera tools, it will also provide 2D to 3D conversion in real time, which facilitates integrating 2D material into 3D telecasts."
SWITCHERS & MONITORS
The Sony MVS8000X switcher, already 3D capable, has received refinements to provide even more 3D functionality. And the company will showcase its line of 3D professional monitors.
Shapiro acknowledged that the company's dominance of the 3D market is notable considering that the company has not offered a standalone 3D camcorder to date. But he said that gap will be filled at NAB with the unveiling of two 3D camcorders from the company's NXCAM line, featuring twin lenses and a 3D LCD viewing panel that does not require 3D glasses. One camcorder is handheld and the other is a shoulder mount camera.
In the high end production world, Shapiro said that "HDCAM SR has become the de facto mastering standard for primetime television, television commercials, and for conversion of films to DVD format. And we'll be introducing the next generation of HDCAM SR technology." This includes a file-based solution for HD workflow with a memory adapter for SRW-9000 HDCAM SR camcorder that will convert the tape drive to solid-state memory recording.
Sony's new BV-E line of OLED monitors, consisting of 17-inch and 25-inch models, surpass the performance and quality that CRTs were so well known for as reference monitors, according to the company. As flat screens replaced CRTs in almost every part of broadcast and remote truck operations, high end post production facilities depended on old-technology CRT monitors for critical evaluation viewing. "None of the prior flat-screen technologies, LCD, LED or plasma could replicate colors like a BVM CRT," said Shapiro, "but these new OLED reference monitors do deliver that performance, frankly, and more."
He said that Sony put its new OLED monitors "under the test of critical engineering eyes" at the Hollywood Post Alliance retreat in February, "and we passed with flying colors." The monitors will ship right after NAB.