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Sony’s Share Play Helps SloMo Operators Monitor Many Camera Angles

When Sony’s new HDC-4800 4K/HD Ultra High Frame Rate Camera System was first used during last May’s NBA Finals, the ABC/ESPN production and operations team were amazed at how clean the slow-motion replay images looked on screen. Working with Game Creek Video truck, the crew used the high-speed camera to zoom in and out on the HD images coming from the camera’s larger 4K image sensor.

That’s because the HDC-4800 features a Sony-developed Super 35mm CMOS sensor and wide color space (supporting ITU-R recommendation BT.2020 and BT.709) that gives users more image data with which to work.

The HDC-4800, which was actually first used by CBS Sports for its Super Bowl 50 coverage in 2016 (and was officially unveiled at the 2016 NAB Show), can capture HD at up to 16x real time, or 4K up to 8x for Super SloMo. Using it in tandem with the Sony PWS-4500 baseband processor unit/replay server helped create a fully networked, 4K live ultra-high-speed production workflow.

A smooth workflow

This workflow also benefits from a new file and content sharing function networking technology inside PWS-4500 and the camera’s BPU-4800 base station called Share Play. [The company’s consumer division (PlayStation 4) also uses that trademarked name but there is no connection between the technologies.] Once clips have been recorded by a PWS-4500 server connected to a dedicated 10 GbE IP network, the slow-motion operator in the truck can use the Share Play feature to share these clips among all connected PWS-4500 servers. This results in a more efficient workflow. For example, PWS-4500 server operators can view all other network servers’ clips, and can playback and output any of these clips from their own local server. There is no need to push or pull clips between different servers.

Connecting PWS-4500 servers and BPU-4800 processors on the same network (1GbE or 10GbE), Share Play allows the slow-motion operator in the truck to view and replay footage stored on any networked PWS-4500 server. Another advantage of the PWS-4500 is that it can be used as a highly cost-effective HD production recorder, or as a full-featured slow-motion replay server supporting both 4K and HD formats. 

The all-in-one HDC-4800 camera system and companion BPU-4800 combination baseband processor, with the replay server, can capture HD at up to 16x real time, or 4K up to 8x Super SloMo. Click to enlarge.

The all-in-one HDC-4800 camera system and companion BPU-4800 combination baseband processor, with the replay server, can capture HD at up to 16x real time, or 4K up to 8x Super SloMo. Click to enlarge.

The Share Play feature can also be used when the PWS-4500 is connected to the HDC-4800 4K/HD Ultra High Frame Rate Camera System together with its dedicated 4K Baseband Processor BPU-4800. When networked with the base station and a PWS-4500 production server, operators can store and recall high frame rate (HFR) footage.

The all-in-one HDC-4800 camera system and companion BPU-4800 combination baseband processor and replay server can capture HD at up to 16x real time, or 4K up to 8x Super SloMo. This data can be stored in the camera’s BPU-4800 base station— via 2TB of internal memory for up to 6 Hours @ 4K 60p (600Mb/s) or 24 Hours @ HD 60i (100Mb/s); expandable to 8TB—for standard recording or slow motion replay. 

One reason production companies such as Game Creek like the HDC-4300 so much is because it can be used as either a standard 4K camera or a HD camera (both at various frame rates) all while capturing the action at Ultra High Frame Rates for slow-motion replays. This makes it possible for every camera position during a production to be capable of capturing replay images from a different angle. In addition to a Super 35 mm CMOS sensor, the camera also features a global shutter system that lets the camera take full advantage of ubiquitous PL mount lenses.

In many live sports applications, slow-motion operators have four channels per server to use during the broadcast, so they can monitor and use footage coming from up to four cameras. But what if more camera angles are required during a controversial play? With Sony’s Share Play networking technology, the operator can freely share cameras, enlisting the help of another operator to produce more replay views. That’s why the PWS-4500 is a cost effective, next generation solution for 4K live production, 4K & HD acquisition, and high frame rate (slow-motion) replay. The power and flexibility comes with its networking capability and tightly integrated operation.

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