Sony builds a world beyond HD with completion of 4K ecosystem
Sydney, 30 October 2012 - Sony has always been at the forefront of technical innovation to improve image and sound quality, developing products that are increasingly compact and accessible to both professionals and consumers. It has led the change from analogue to digital production environments and is now making full use of digital platforms to create the 4K production experience. A 4K image carries four times more information than 2K, delivering an astonishing improvement in image quality. An accompanying challenge, however, is that it takes a considerable amount of time and effort to generate images from this huge quantity of information. In response to this, Sony is announcing today a broadening and deepening lineup of 4K-capable equipment that will simplify the creation of a wide variety of 4K productions.
For almost its entire history, cinema has used film as its recording medium. However, more recently this has changed. In 1999 Sony released its first Digital Camera System which was an important step in the shift toward digital production. In 2006, Sony launched the world’s first 4K digital cinema projector, leading the way toward the digitalisation of movie theatres. In January this year, following the introduction of Sony’s F65 CineAlta camera featuring the 8K CMOS sensor, the entire 4K workflow, from shooting and editing, through to viewing, was achieved with a full lineup of 4K products.
Sony is also facilitating the distribution of 4K content. At the 2012 IFA show in Berlin in August/September, Sony announced the launch of the 84” BRAVIA 4K LED TV for consumers, complementing its award winning 4K VPL-VVW1000ES home cinema projector. At the 2012 IBC in September, Sony successfully trialed 4K live distribution, through the ASTRA satellite system owned by the Luxembourg-based SES S.A.
As another step toward greater 4K accessibility, Sony is also developing an open platform for 4K production. This will enable a full range of 4K products and solutions to be developed with partners.
In parallel Sony is also launching today outstanding new products which strengthen its 4K toolset. Two new CineAlta cameras, the PMW-F5 and the PMW-F55, are equipped with newly developed Super 35mm 4K CMOS
image sensors. Sony’s new 4K 30-inch LCD monitor, the PVM-X300, enables 4K monitoring in the field or for post-production.
By creating accessible and straightforward production environments, Sony is bringing the power of 4K to new applications and helping to widen the 4K audience.
Open platform innovation
Sony’s XAVC open format will make 4K/60P production accessible for consumers, while also serving the needs of professionals. The format is appropriate for a variety of content such as movies, commercials, TV dramas, documentaries, and more. XAVC uses the MPEG4 AVC/H.264 compression codec, and supports HD as well as 4K. Fourteen leading companies in the industry have already indicated an intention to license this technology.
The growing popularity of 4K production creates new demand for on-site production monitoring solutions. The new PVM-X300, 4K 30-inch LCD monitor will bring 4K monitoring into the field. This 30” monitor is significantly smaller and lighter than conventional models. Easily manipulated by one person, it supports a broad range of 4K interfaces. The PVM-X300 will incorporate an optional 4K player, which enables easy playback of 4K content in the XAVC format through the use of new SxS cards, “SxS PRO+” (Plus), allowing immediate image viewing on set.
Not only is it possible to connect a PMW- F55 camera to the monitor through the four 3G SDI interfaces, it is also possible to make the connection with a single HDMI cable. This proprietary connection supports resolutions up to 4096×2160:60P. Similarly, the PMW-F55 can connect directly to the 84” BRAVIA 4K LED TV for large-screen monitoring of the camera’s 4K 60P images (at resized horizontal resolution of 3860 pixels).
Sony first launched the CineAlta series in 2000 and its current flagship camera model, the F65, has already been used to shoot more than 30 movies, commercials and TV programs. Sony is continuing to upgrade this camera and broaden its feature set. In August 2012, robust shooting support for 4K/120P was added. In Autumn 2013, a further software upgrade will deliver greater freedom in image processing with 6K de-mosaicing.
Sony is further broadening the CineAlta series, synonymous with ultimate image quality, with the launch of the PMW-F5 and PMW-F55 cameras, both featuring newly developed Super 35mm 4K CMOS image sensors. The sensor on the PMW-F55 delivers exceptionally high-quality images, with true colour reproduction and distortion-free capture of moving subjects. Both models are compact and lightweight, allowing greater freedom of movement.
Customers can select from a wide range of lenses and viewfinders for these two cameras, building a system to match their particular requirements. One of the viewfinders, DVF-EL100, offers a 0.7” high-visibility OLED panel.
These cameras support a variety of recording methods, to accommodate a wide range of needs and budgets. In addition to supporting 4K and HD XAVC formats, these cameras also support the F65’s RAW data workflows, compatible with industry-standard post-production systems. There is also support for MPEG4 SStP HD and MPEG2 HD workflows, ensuring that the cameras deliver top performance even for conventional HD shooting. The cameras can also be connected to third-party manufacturers’ recorders, which further widens the choice of
recording formats. For instance, by connecting the cameras over 3G-SDI with AJA Ki-Pro recorders, the user can record in ProRes and DNxHD formats. In the same way, uncompressed or DNxHD recording are possible by connecting the cameras with a Convergent Design Gemini 444. This collaboration with third parties further expands the workflow possibilities.
Sony intends to make further additions to the CineAlta product line and 4K production environments in the future. It can now deliver highly workable 4K and HD production environments for a wide range of content —movies, commercials, dramas and documentaries. In the near future, we look forward to bringing out new production systems to support 4K live broadcast of sports and more.