Sony LiveWire

cin©mon™ .mp4 Plug-in:

Sony's new plug-in for Final Cut Pro® instant playback of MP4 clips from Sony XDCAM EX™ camcorders

By David Leitner | October 18, 2010

In a perfect world, digital cameras would wirelessly zap moving images to servers in the cloud. Clips would appear instantly on timelines anywhere in the world, playable regardless of compression. Maybe that isn't your vision of a perfect world--although glimpses of it already appear at mobile phone apps like Qik and Ustream ("Broadcasting live is as easy as 1, 2, 3. Get started today!"). Read More


The Pixel Puzzle.

The Pixel Puzzle.

Size matters, but not as much as you might think.

By The Sony Tech Guy | September 27, 2010

There's no question which photosensor is bigger. But which is better?

In the 1980s, when dinosaurs walked the earth, high definition cameras cost more than suburban family houses and weighed more than anyone wanted to shoulder. Today, you can put a pair of HD camcorders in your pocket and still have room for keys. Where will it all end? Will a 4K image sensor eventually be engraved on the head of a pin? When you go small, what do you give up? If you can't break the laws of physics, how badly can you bend them? Mark Schubin wrote a classic magazine article on what he called the "format factor," examining the practical and technical implications of changing sensor size. Let's look at just one aspect, the fundamental tradeoff between the size of individual photosites and their quality. Read More




CMOS or CCD? Yes.

By The Sony Tech Guy | September 20, 2010

Of all the choices in digital cameras, few are as fundamental as the type of image sensor: Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) or Charge Coupled Device (CCD). Both types have their adherents, and both have advantages. At Sony, we care passionately about every aspect of image sensor technology. And we're extremely partial to... both. As a world leader in image sensors, we manufacture both in roughly equal numbers. This puts us in an ideal position to comment on how the two compare. Read More


hxr-mc50 sony

Review: Sony HXR-MC50 1-CMOS AVCHD Camcorder

Little low-light 60i handycam with 64GB of built-in storage and a sharp, stable image.

By Adam Wilt | September 14, 2010

Sony's HXR-MC50U (US$1695 list, $1499 street price) is a fit-in-your-fist handycam shooting 1080/60i and recording AVCHD (and SD MPEG-2) to 64GB of built-in memory and/or a removable card (Memory Stick or SDHC). A back-illuminated sensor gives it great low-light capability, and infrared "NightShot" mode lets you shoot in utter darkness. Active SteadyShot adds superb stabilization, and the supplied shotgun mike offers tightly focused sound. [Update: typo: it's 64 GB, not 64 MB!) Read More


Pixels vs. Pixels

Pixels vs. Pixels

The virtues of the word "photosite."

By The Sony Tech Guy | September 09, 2010

Pretty as a pixel: it's called Q67.

Quick: If a 21 megapixel HDSLR records a 1080p image, how many pixels are there? Hint: It's a trick question. As DPs alternate between single-sensor cameras and three-chip cameras, there's a huge potential for confusing pixels, the microscopic rectangles of silicon on the image sensor and pixels, the digital samples that get recorded. There may be six times as many of the first as there are of the second. Or the numbers may be the same. Calling both of these pixels tends to paper over these differences. It also thwarts communication when someone means one thing but the listener hears the other. For the sake of clarity, if not sanity, I'm learning to call the little image sensor rectangles photosites. Read More


Twice as Nice?

Twice as Nice?

Half truths about MPEG-2 vs. AVC-I compression

By The Sony Tech Guy | August 17, 2010

Good GOP, good GOP. This Group of Pictures includes 15 frames, starting with a fully-defined Intra frame (I), Predictive frames (P) and Bi-directional predictive frames (B).

Proponents of AVC-I compression have been quick to seize on a simple, and we believe simplistic, claim: "Twice the compression efficiency of MPEG-2." It's a bold promise that has a nice ring to it and has been repeated ad infinitum. The only problem: it just isn't true. Read More


How digital is digital wireless?

How digital is digital wireless?

A/D/A/D/A versus A/D/D/D/D

By The Sony Tech Guy | August 16, 2010

Sony's pure-digital DWR-S01D wireless receiver is shown slotted into the back of a PDW-700 XDCAM® HD camcorder.

Under the hood, some of the new digital wireless microphone systems reveal an awkward truth. They actually convert the digital signal to analog for conventional wireless transmission. To us, this negates the basic advantage of digital audio: uncompromised sound. Read More


broadcast closed caption fcc sony transcoding

XDCAM® HD decks and Closed Captions

Streamlining the Closed Caption process

By The Sony Tech Guy | July 15, 2010

Concern for the hearing impaired initially led Congress to mandate closed captions. But captions have also become valuable to English language learners, barkeepers and restaurateurs. Now Sony XDCAM® HD studio decks make closed captioning infrastructure a little bit easier. Read More


batteries flying lithium ion safety sony

Choosing and using Lithium Ions

Getting the best from your batteries

By The Sony Tech Guy | July 14, 2010

Excuse me, Miss, but I couldn't help noticing your BP-L80S is down to 10%.

Treat your Lithium Ion batteries right and they'll return the favor, with longer life and optimum operating time. Herewith, the secrets to maximum performance. Read More


black level lcd monitors oled sony

Oh! LED.

The birth of a display device

By The Sony Tech Guy | July 12, 2010

About the only thing OLED has in common with LCD and plasma is that it's a flat panel display with sub-pixels for Red, Green and Blue.

NAB attendees are generally well advised to stay away from dark alleys. But we can make an exception when the alley in question is the side aisle of Sony's massive booth and the reason for low ambient light is to show off a new monitor, the PVM-740, Sony's first professional monitor with Organic LED (OLED) display technology. In a particularly nervy head-to-head comparison, the new 7.4-inch monitor (viewable area, measured diagonally) was shown next to a comparably-sized BVM Series CRT monitor and a third-generation LCD model. The comparison, as they say, was no comparison. OLED has arrived. Read More


hdv hvr-z7 hvr-z7u sony

Sony HVR-Z7U: Zoom lens, prime lens, or both?

A test shoot seeks some answers.

By David Leitner | June 15, 2010

I cut my teeth on film, before the camcorder era. At that time, swapping lenses on 16mm and 35mm motion picture cameras was commonplace. Perhaps that's why I still think in terms of both prime lenses and zoom lenses. 2/3-in. camcorders always had bayonet lens mounts too, but until the arrival of HDCAM in the late 1990s, fixed focal length or "prime" lenses were rarely used on them. That's because Betacams, introduced in the early 1980s, were designed for electronic newsgathering. Zoom lenses with high zoom ratios and 2x extenders seemed adequate for ENG. And adequate was good enough back then. Read More


700 mhz audio fcc sony wireless

June 12, Wireless Mics and the FCC

An urgent message

By The Sony Tech Guy | June 15, 2010

Effective June 12, 2010, operation of 700 MHz wireless mics is no longer legal. For the Consumer Alert and additional valuable links, visit us here. Read More


dynamic range exposure latitude gamma highlight sony

Winning the Gamma Game

Sony HyperGamma throws luminance a curve

By The Sony Tech Guy | June 15, 2010

This scene ranges from 4 stops over key to 5 under. HyperGamma holds it together.

How do you capture high-contrast exterior day shots without blowing out the highlights or crushing the blacks? What's the secret to recording low-key scenes without unwanted color shifts in the highlights? How can you keep shooting without periodic tweaks of Knee and Slope? A growing number of DPs are finding the answers in gamma adjustments, such as Sony's HyperGamma curves. Read More


3d s3d sony stereoscopy tutorial

3D Live Production

Where do we go from here?

By The Sony Tech Guy | June 15, 2010

If you've been eager to get educated about 3D, this video is a great introduction. Learn the basics of 3D from Sony's Peter Lud©, senior vice president of solutions engineering. In just over an hour, Peter walks you through how we perceive depth, the history of 3D, the gotchas of 3D camera work and the basics of 3D production planning. To see other Sony videos from NAB, please visit VideON, Sony's Online Video Network, at Read More



More than 80 Camcorders to Deliver Tapeless Workflow Benefits and Streamlined Production from the Field to the Studio

By RobManfredo | June 14, 2010

Hearst Television is adopting Sony Electronics' XDCAM EX™ solid-state memory camcorder as its primary ENG and news production technology. The company is rolling out more than 80 shoulder-mount camcorders across several of its stations - a combination of Sony's PMW-350 2/3-inch camera, as well as 65 of the just-introduced PMW-320 ½-inch cameras. Read More





By RobManfredo | June 14, 2010

Sony's XDCAM HD optical camcorders have performed in a range of challenging environments - from extreme weather to combat zones around the world. Its latest test under fire was a six-week shoot in Southern Helmand, Afghanistan, where a four-person production team from National Geographic Television, led by experienced DP Thierry Humeau, was embedded with the 2nd Marines Expeditionary Brigade (MEB).The show "Camp Leatherneck," recently aired on National Geographic Explorer series. The program's goal was to go past the newspaper headlines and TV news accounts, and document what it is really like to serve on the front lines of this conflict. Read More


camera ex1 production sony xdcam


By RobManfredo | June 14, 2010

A recent documentary premiering on The Sundance Channel was shot entirely with Sony XDCAM EX series cameras (the PMW-EX1 and PMW-EX3). "Brick City," the nickname for Newark, N.J., is about the fight by Mayor Cory Booker and other city leaders against gang wars, corruption and poverty.The movie, which is executive-produced by Oscar®-winning actor and producer Forest Whitaker, is the latest major documentary shot with the compact EX cameras. Filmmakers Mark Benjamin and Marc Levin and their director of photography James Adolphus chose the EX cameras for their size, image quality and HD resolution, as well as the use of ExpressCard-based SxS PRO™ recording media, which presented the team with the perfect solution in the field.Like many documentaries, they were shooting in low light and typical "run-and-gun" style. One unique aspect of the production is that the team shot more than 600 hours of EX-1 and EX-3 footage, and did not use a tripod or a light during a year of shooting. "We were on the move constantly, from bright sunlight to extreme low-light at night," WHO IS HE? he added. "I didn't want to ruin a mood with too many lights. With this camera, you can achieve very interesting moods."He added that the camera's memory-based recording format - specifically the SxS PRO™ cards - significantly enhanced his work on location. "The production would not have turned out the way it did without this camcorder," Benjamin said. "We were able to discreetly capture even the smallest details that make the footage come alive on the screen."Benjamin noted that Peter Abel, of New York City-based dealer Abel Cine Tech, played an invaluable role in helping him and his team choose the right cameras. "He got us the first EX cameras that were ever available in New York, and worked with us to determine the right workflow."In the five one-hour episodes of "Brick City," the lives of Mayor Booker and Police Director Garry McCarthy intertwine with "Jayda", Blood gang member turned youth mentor, who lives with her Crip boyfriend "Creep", and other Newark citizens. Read More