Sunday, September 08, 2013

Sony's video business and 4K

Red Shark interviewed Bill Drummond, of Sony Europe, who is responsible for marketing of entry level production products, including all camcorders up to about 10,000 pounds (he covers everything from the NEX-VG30 up to the PMW-320.)

While the interview was instigated by the announcement of the two new 4K camcorders (the FDR-AX1 and the PXW-Z100, there's very little information about the cameras presented, other than an explanation of the recording formats of the two cameras, and much of the discussion covers Sony's video business and the 4K market place.

The most interesting things mentioned:

When asked what their most popular cameras were in his market segment, he listed the PMW-200 and the NEX-FS700
"I think those two really indicate how the market is moving. A lot of mainstream run-and -gun style television shooting is moving to 50 M/bits MPEG 2 looking at products like the PMW-200. And then there’s also this requirement for new creative shooting, they’re looking at shallow depth of field, lens control, to really get that cinematic feature and the FS700, since it’s launch, has been awesome in terms of it’s sales performance."

On the 4K front:
  • He suggested that the new cameras would be used as a B camera for the F5 & F55 or for high-end corporate or weddings.
  • When asked if the two cameras use the sensor he said: "It’s exactly the same resolution on the consumer camera, and exactly the same lens as well. The front end is exactly the same, and really the differences start as you move to the rear of the camera and the codecs employed."
  • He said that 4K is becoming the new standard in the television world. Screen size is getting larger and sales of 4K televisions have “gone well” He also made a connection between the situation today and the "HD wave" of a few years back.

A few other interesting things:

When asked if XLR audio connections were only on the pro-camera Drummond said "XLR is an interesting feature and more and more we’re using XLR in our high-end consumer products because XLR is no longer the preserve of the professional."

He also said there will be a couple more announcements at IBC.

Finally, one of the interviewers made the statement that Sony was back in profitability, and that this was because people were buying 4K gear.

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