Sept. 17, 2020 - Sony continues to bring to market new offerings for every type of broadcast production, allowing producers and media companies to work effectively and safely in tight spaces or remotely, leveraging the best of a team’s expertise and creativity.
Over the past few months, agile and more streamlined production workflows have quickly become the norm, with the media industry adapting to fewer or no on-site staff and the need to be able to produce from home settings, instead of studios. This has created an acceleration of the migration towards automated and distributed productions, which depend on connected and scalable technological solutions.
Simplifying News and Broadcast Production
The last few months have seen many companies traditionally producing shows from a studio setting move to a distributed approach, with different parts of the process happening from different locations but with a centralized technological infrastructure.
Sony’s ELC is designed specifically with stations for streamlined news production. In the U.S., 4 major broadcast groups have implemented numerous ELC installations, which have been operating ELC remotely during the pandemic. The production control operations can be fully distributed, or a single home-based operator can direct the production remotely. In parallel, commentators, anchors and floor directors can work from different locations using ELC, allowing news to be produced by a team of experts located anywhere in the world.
Enabling Remote, Virtual and Distributed Operations
2020 is seeing fewer sports being broadcast, and events are being produced with safety and social distancing in mind, which has helped lead the transition to an IP based infrastructure.
As a part of Sony’s efforts to support the media industry, existing customers can operate their XVS Switchers remotely, leveraging the Virtual toolsets available such as Virtual Menu, Virtual Panel & Virtual Shotbox. During the COVID-19 crisis, Sony offered these capabilities for free, on a trial basis. By using this remote operations set-up, operators and technical staff were able to work from home or a remote studio. This software has been used by major broadcasters in Europe and North America, as well as for eSports program production in South Korea.
The recently announced BRC PTZ camera update allows output tracking data over IP, using the industry standard Free-D protocol. These cameras, with their enhanced PTZ capabilities, necessitate a minimal number of operators, who can work remotely and on several cameras at the same time.
IP Live solutions from Sony have been adopted already by more than 100 customers worldwide. Launched this summer, the HDCE-TX30 solution enables the HDC-3500 and previous generations of HDC cameras to easily interface with IP networks, creating new capabilities for Remote Production. It allows for greater workflow stability and resource sharing, which is key for any customer investing in remote and fully distributed production. Two new licenses will bring IP HD 4x Supermotion capability and IP 4K to the HDC-3500 / HDCE-TX30 systems, enabling both IP HFR and IP 4K remote solutions, with support planned to begin in March 2021.
After Remote Production comes Virtualization, as the next natural step. As part of their strategic partnership, Nevion and Sony have been contributing since July to the 5G Virtuosa project. This project, in part funded by the European Union, aims to harness the rapidity of 5G connectivity and Scalable Software Defined Network architectures for cooperative live media production, by exploiting virtualized production resources. The first part of the project has been successfully delivered even during the lockdown period, thanks to the IP connectivity each system has natively.
Shifting Towards Fully Distributed and Cloud Native Productions
For broadcasters already looking at the next step for their setup, a move to a fully distributed and cloud native infrastructure is designed to provide more safety and savings on resources. Between its Virtual Production Service, Hive, XDCAM air, Ci Media Cloud Services and NavigatorX with its set of media workflow micro services that help tailor modern workflow architecture, Sony has a full portfolio of solutions and services for future proofing production infrastructures.
The latest addition to Sony’s cloud-based offerings, the Media Analytics Portal, is planned to be available in October 2020. As productions rethink their workflow, they need tools to monitor content flows, provide rich metadata and analyze outputs. Media Analytics Portal will bring these capabilities to their fingertips and will automate processes, freeing up time and creating new efficiencies.
Media Analytics Portal complements the existing portfolio of cloud-based solutions from Sony, which empowers broadcasters and content creators to move from a non-linear to fully distributed and cloud-based solutions.
In addition, Sony Electronics’ cloud-native professional media management and collaboration platform, Ci, has expanded into enterprise asset management with Ci Catalog. This new offering enables enterprises to build and securely manage centralized libraries of rich media and make them easily accessible to stakeholders across teams, departments, divisions or companies. With the addition of Catalog, Ci now provides secure content management from production through monetization – all in a single platform. Catalog seamlessly integrates with Ci’s Workspace enabling companies to replace up to five separate systems including accelerated file transfer, transcoding, collaborative review, content management, and archive with the Ci platform.
For streaming concerts, festivals and corporate events live, Virtual Production, Sony’s cloud native live production switcher, enables multi-camera production without the need for any dedicated infrastructure. It can be implemented as the user requires, leveraging a Pay As You Go model. The next release, planned for October 2020, will add new capabilities such as Screen Sharing input, Webcam input, Clip Playlist and many more.
"In this year like no other, we’ve seen both phenomenal challenges for the whole media industry and phenomenal energy and creativity displayed to overcome those challenges and produce great content for audiences. We’re now seeing customers moving away from the "quick fixes" brought on by the rapid changes, towards more sustainable solutions with long term investments, powered by 5G, AI and IP. Sony has been working side-by-side with them, delivering innovative technology, expertise and knowledge, especially when it comes to remote and cloud-based solutions," said Theresa Alesso, pro division President, Sony Electronics.