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Sony's most interesting play at IBC 2011 was the advance in 3D camcorders. Live 3D sports is the target for Sony and with their new product releases, they'll be up to the game.
Everybody talks about live sports being the "killer app" for stereoscopic 3D. Sony has built a reputation on it, including the recent Wimbledon Tennis Championships
, which were broadcast in live 3D for the first time in July of this year. That groundbreaking event was the result of the All England Lawn Tennis Club's (AELTC) three-year partnership with Sony for broadcasting live 3D games; this year's 3D broadcast included the Men's Singles Semi-Finals, the Women's Final, and the Men's Final.
PMW-TD300 -- 3D XDCAM EX shoulder camcorder with dual three 1/2-inch type Exmor CMOS sensors recording Full HD / SD, 3D or 2D
No surprise then that Sony came to IBC 2011 with a new 3D camera ideally suited for sports broadcasting: the PMW-TD300, Sony's first all-in-one 3D shoulder camcorder using the XDCAM EX codec. This entry-to-mid-level 3D camcorder will be available across Europe in November.
Mark Grinyer, Head of Business Development, 3D & Sports, Live Production, Media Solutions Sales & Marketing of Sony Professional Solutions Europe
Mark Grinyer, Head of Business Development, 3D & Sports, Live Production, Media Solutions Sales & Marketing of Sony Professional Solutions Europe, was especially enthused about the camcorder's ability to be used in a wireless Steadicam configuration, an obvious boon for live sports production.
The camera is based on Sony's PMW-320 camcorder and uses dual 1/2" 3x CMOS sensors, which aid in achieving good 3D picture quality even in dark environments. The PMW-TD300 camcorder uses a 3.5" glassless 3D LCD for picture evaluation and can record over six hours on SxS cards by using 4x 64GB SxS cards. The camera also offers a short inter-axial distance of 45mm, which allows the camera operator to shoot 3D at close range (distances of 1.2m). The camera is also compact, which enables it to be used not just with a Steadicam rig but also allows used side-by-side with 3D mirror rigs in situations where space is limited.
In addition to the camera itself, Sony Professional
has also developed a new controller system for use in the 3D camcorder. By replacing the separate ring model with a multi-control dial, operators can control the zoom, focus and convergence. The company also offers 3D application software for the MPE-200 3D processor box and the MVS-7000X multi-format production switcher.
As Grinyer points out, Sony's 3D camcorders are ideal for live sports productions, but it's not simply cameras that Sony brings to 3D sports production. He notes that educating producers and camera people is crucial to the success of a live 3D sports production. "I do a lot of training in how to shoot 3D sports," he explains. "And my colleague Paul Cameron trains producers in how to shoot 3D."
Sony MPE-200 3D Processor Box
In addition to 3D, Sony also showed some interesting developments in its OLED range of monitors and SxS PRO memory card. With regard to the latter, Sony debuted a new generation of SxS PRO memory cards with twice the speed of previous models. The new SxS PRO 64GB SBP-64A model can read and write data at up to 1.2Gbps (based on Sony internal testing--expect speeds to vary) through an ExpressCard slot, without the need for an adapter.
Sony 64GB SxS PRO SBP-64A
With the new speed, users will be able to capture 120 minutes of recording in HD 422 50Mbps MXF mode--widely used in the broadcast area--directly to a laptop in about eight minutes (once again, based on Sony's internal tests).
Sony's OLED technology got a boost at the show as well, with the unveiling of the BVM-F series (the BVM-E and PVM series of OLED master monitors were debuted at NAB 2011). This new series includes the 17" BVM-F170 and the 25" BVM-F250, both of which come with Sony TRIMASTER EL technology and have full High-Definition capability (1920x1080) and an RGB 10-bit driver that supports a 12-bit Professional Display Engine. Other features include multi-color gamut and I/P conversion, low video delay, interlace mode, HD Frame capture and Pixel Zoom functions.
BVM-E250 Trimaster EL™ OLED Master Monitor
Sony's BVM-F250 and F170 TriMaster EL are professional Full-HD OLED monitors sized 24.5" and 16.5". This is the BVM-F170.
The advance in 3D camcorders was Sony's most interesting play at IBC 2011. Although the camcorder is currently for the European market, it's arguable that the biggest live 3D sports broadcasts have been outside the U.S., beginning with the 2010 FIFA World Cup. What will be the live 3D sports broadcast in the U.S. to win hearts and minds? The coming year should see more action, both on the field and behind the lens.