Sony announced its new flagship broadcast camera, the HDC-5500, describing it as the world’s first 2/3-inch 4K HDR three-CMOS camera system with global shutter.

Sony’s touting the camera’s high sensitivity and signal-to-noise ratio, as well as its wide dynamic range capabilities for HDR acquisition. It’s controllable via a 19-inch 3U half-rack CCU supporting IP via SMPTE ST2110 and NMOS IS-04/05 as well as 12G-SDI baseband. Direct 4K output is available from the camera head, and a wireless side panel is available as an option.

Rob Willox, Sony Electronics director of marketing, said it’s being aimed at entertainment TV production, where producers will appreciate its ability to reduce moiré patterns and better handle strobing light effects (thanks to its global shutter).

Sony HDC-5500 side view

Sony HDC-5500

If you want to shoot in 4K or at high frame rates with the HDC-5500 (or the smaller HDC-P50) you’ll need to enable it via what Sony’s calling a “portable license” that can be transferred among cameras in a company’s fleet as needed. Yearly license keys are activated and deactivated through Sony’s cloud servers, and separate licenses will be required for high frame rates and 4K.

Sony said NEP Australia is the first HDC-5500 worldwide, but also noted that Game Creek Video has ordered 48 of them. That’s the largest single order in the history of Game Creek Video, per founder and President Pat Sullivan, who took the stage at Sony’s NAB 2019 press conference, and the largest studio camera order in the history of Sony in North America, according to John Studdert, VP of the media segment of Sony Imaging Products and Solutions, Americas.

The HDC-5500 is expected to ship in May.

CBK-FS7BK build-up kit

Sony illustration of the CBK-FS7BK build-up kit.

Bulking Up the FS7 and FS7 II

In other camera news, Sony said it plans to give the FS7 and FS7 II a second life in ENG with the CBK-FS7BK, a new “build-up kit” that brings wireless audio and streaming capabilities to the cameras.

The kit will make the cameras shoulder-mountable with an ENG-style EVF and cheese plate and a two-channel wireless audio slot-in receiver. Streaming and file transfers are supported over wireless LAN or 4G/LTE, and Sony’s proprietary QoS dual-link streaming will be available with an XDCAM Air subscription. The kit can be powered by Sony BP-GL and BP-FL series batteries.

The CBK-FS7BK isn’t expected to be available until December, and Sony has not named a price.

Also coming for the FS7 and FS7 II is a new E/B4 mount adapter, the LA-EB1, allowing broadcast lenses to be used with the cameras. It’s designed to be used in conjunction with the CBK-FS7BK kit, which includes lens support and DC power. The LA-EB1 is also expected to ship this December; a firmware update that includes automatic lens aberration compensation is promised “in early 2020.”

Scheduled for this fall is the BRC-X400, a 4K PTZ camera with a 1/2.5 type Exmor R CMOS sensor and a 20x optical zoom that reaches up to 30x in 4K or 40x in HD with Sony’s Clear Image Zoom technology. Interfaces include 3G-SDI, HDMI and RJ-45 IP streaming.

Talking Wireless Audio

There was some action from Sony’s audio side, too, with the introduction of UWP-D wireless mics with a new audio interface using Sony’s MI Shoe that’s compatible with the PXW-Z280 and PXW-Z190 XDCAM camcorders.

Wireless mic info is displayed in the camera viewfinder, there’s an NFC Sync feature for setting channels, and a 20% lighter body pack transmitter and much smaller receiver. The new mic series is expected this summer.

Eye on IP Broadcast Infrastructure

Looking to the future of IP video, Sony discussed a now-in-development orchestration tool for broadcasters looking to efficiently share centralized resources across multiple studios and control rooms over IP networks through scheduled access. The new tool would support Sony systems as well as third-party equipment via device drivers that communicate with the core engine, with a GUI that can be customized, Sony said, to display the images of different pieces of equipment, or to visualize the network as a diagram on screen.

Sony also introduced a new 4K/HD ST2110-compliant SDI IP Converter Board supporting format upconversion and downconversion and SDR/HDR conversions. It’s available in two versions, one with eight bi-directional 3G-SDI interfaces (NXLK-IP50Y), and one with two 12G-SDI/3G-SDI interfaces (NXLK-IP51Y).

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