Sports deals are tops for Sony

Sony’s NAB booth features a ton of new products geared to the sports market, like the new three-times Super-Slo Mo system for HD broadcasts, but it was a number of sports sales announcement that were the focus of the company’s NAB press conference.
Sports TV is the killer app for HD, says Alec Shapiro, senior vice president of Sony Electronics’ Broadcast and Production Systems Division. Televised sports depends on the mobile production industry and the truck vendors are constantly talking to Sony.

And buying. ESPN will use the Sony IPELA PCSA-HG90 this weekend for its NFL draft coverage. The HD teleconferencing system can deliver HD feeds at 2.5 Mbps and has a list price of $25,000. Other deals include German Premier adding Sony gear for HD soccer coverage, Game Creek upgrading to Sony cameras, Norway s NRK building an HD vehicle for the Torino Games, and NEP Supershooters purchasing a variety of Sony gear for its new ND3HD truck, including the 1,000th MVX-8000A production switcher.

“This is a powerful and incredibly stable switcher, with a mature set of features,” said George Hoover, senior vice president of engineering for NEP. “It’s exactly what our clients require.”

ND3HD will first hit the road in May and has 15 Sony HCD-1000 and five HDC-1500 multi-format cameras, as well as Sony’s new HDC-3300 3x HD super slow-motion camera system. The truck will also include Sony’s SRW-5500 HDCAM SR decks, BVM-A Series CRT broadcast monitors and the MVS-8000A multi-format production switcher.

“The HDC-1500 cameras represent the fourth generation of HD field cameras and offer a no-compromise feature set in all production formats from 720 to 1080 to 24P on triax or fiber,” Hoover said.

New switcher software
The new truck’s MVS-8000A unit will also have software version 5.3, which will be available in June. The new software release has new features like Multi Program 2, enabling true split mix-effect bank functionality. In addition, a two M/E processor can be used like a four M/E switcher, and keyers can be assigned to either the main or sub sections of the switcher, or to both simultaneously.

Another new function is Side Flags, strengthening aspect ratio management. Unique to Sony switchers, inserting side flags does not use existing keyers and can be set automatically or manually.

The switcher’s control panel will also be enhanced with a new jog/shuttle module, offering dedicated device control, In/Out/Current time code read out and clutch control of the jog/shuttle module. This module is planned to be available later in the year.

NEP adds cameras for Mets
NEP also purchased three Sony HDC-X310 HD compact multi-purpose cameras with Fujinon HSs18x5.5BMD lenses at New York’s Shea Stadium for broadcasts of New York Mets home games. These cameras’ operations are further enhanced by the integration of Fujinon’s EPT-7G-H2A pan/tilt/zoom robotics.

The cameras are placed in stadium locations previously inaccessible to human operators to gain a unique view of the broadcast booth, the bullpen area and to provide “eye in the sky” shots.

“The HDC-X310 takes the technology of the POV camera to the cutting edge with full-featured studio camera command and control capability along with pan, tilt, zoom and focus control on one duplex fiber,” Hoover said. “With the image quality of this camera, and complete control, for many applications there is no need for anything bigger or better to deliver the intimacy of coverage today’s producers and directors are looking for.

NMT adds monitors
While NEP bought the latest switcher National Mobile Television has put more than 270 Sony professional displays, the majority of them nine-inch LUMA LCD panels, in the new HD-11 truck.
The decision to put the monitors in NMT’s sixth HD unit in NMT’s fleet was driven by several factors like low weight and low power consumption, according to NMT’s vice president of engineering, John Kemps.

“We’ve saved more than one full ton in weight with the LCD displays, we’ve reduced our heat load significantly and we’ve shortened the depth of the racks-all without sacrificing anything in quality,” he said. “In fact, our monitoring and operational capabilities will increase greatly.”

But, he adds, the primary consideration was image quality. “There is just no comparison to an HD signal going into a LUMA monitor,” he says. “They produce beautiful pictures.”

One of the LCD displays’ features that Kemps found particularly attractive was their auto-detection ability, which “automatically identifies the type of signal-either SD or HD-and gives our operators more flexibility in terms of the types of signals being fed into them. We can handle either or both seamlessly, without having to flip a switch.”

Of the 264 LMD-9050 LUMA monitors, 103 are installed in a production monitor wall, with the rest dispersed throughout the audio, tape, video and transmission areas (the remaining six monitors are CRT). Kemps noted that the LCDs would be used primarily for camera and tape monitoring, while eight Sony BVM-A series CRT monitors are slated for quality control and program monitoring.

Anycast gets a facelift
Sony also introduced a number of new products this week. New enhancements to Sony’s Anycast Station system allow a wider scope of users to take advantage of this portable “all-in-one” studio for live content creation.

The system, which is ideal for small sports productions, has new software upgrades, at no additional charge, that add functionality like picture-in-picture; connection from the built-in streaming encoder to an external Helix server enabling webcasting to an unlimited number of servers; jog/shuttle control of external HDDs; the ability to record individual sources onto HDDs as AVI files instead of raw DV; multi-language support of the text typing tool for Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, German, Korean and Japanese; and the ability for DV PGM output to be captured by a PC.

“Live production requirements are constantly changing, so portable live production tools need to change to keep pace and meet end user needs,” said Tatsuro Kurachi, Anycast Station marketing manager for Sony Electronics. “Our approach with the Anycast Station has been consistent since its introduction: to continually upgrade and enhance the system with new features that are relevant to a video professional’s daily applications.”

A range of optional interface modules further increases the system’s capabilities. The BKAW-580 Serial Digital Interface Module gives users: two SDI Inputs and one SDI PGM output as well as HDD recording capability in the DV25 format.

Sony is also introducing two more optional interface modules that extend the system’s capabilities: the BKAW-560 HD Analog Component I/O Module and the BKAW-590 HD-SDI I/O Module. While the Anycast Station system’s internal signal processing has been HD-ready since its introduction, end users can now migrate from analog to digital or SDI to HD simply by swapping the modular BKAW interface cards. The Anycast Station system is currently available at a suggested list price of $19,500.

HDXchange improves management
Sony also introduced HDXchange, a cross-platform hardware/software suite for standard-definition and HD content management. It provides a shared storage environment for DV, DVCAM and MPEG Long GOP HD file formats, such as HDV and the XDCAM HD system. The new suite will enable collaboration through file sharing and edit decision list (EDL) exchange between leading non-linear editors (NLEs), as well as network browsing of proxy material, direct web authoring, and overall asset management.

“Our goal was to design a product that would support collaborative editing of SD and HD video files for the HDV and XDCAM HD user, at a reasonable price,” said Steve Wynn, network marketing manager for optical and network systems at Sony Electronics. “HDXchange will allow users to take advantage of leading non-linear editors on Windows or Macintosh platforms, share video assets, and exchange EDLs.”

The HDXchange suite will provide more than 250 hours of video storage (at 25 Mbps HDV or DVCAM rates) and automatically generate proxy files for network browsing, offline storyboarding, and web applications. The system will support an optical disc workflow, as well as the workflow of typical DVCAM and HDV users.

“By continuing our application of proxy files, which began with the e-VTR and the XDCAM system, we are bringing powerful browsing features to an entirely new user base,” said Chris Marchitelli, HDXchange product manager and development liaison for Sony Electronics.

HDXchange will include embedded applications for network browsing, material ingest, video and EDL exchange for supported editors, and archiving options. Further advanced browsing and metadata access features are planned to be announced later in the year to extend the system’s asset management capabilities.

The HDXchange hardware and software suite is planned to be available in the fall with configured packages starting at suggested list prices of $54,000.

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