November 30, 2011

Sony XM Pilot + XDCAM workflow

Sony is adding a "second screen", such as an iPad or smartphone, to its XDCAM workflow, to make it simpler to add metadata and integrate the file format with post. It has also started a Europe-wide tour offering day-long training seminars to users.

The new XM Pilot wireless metadata system "speeds up your workflow and reduces your costs in post by allowing you to flow logging information and metadata all the way to post much quicker and more easily, especially compared to paper logs," said David Young, Product Specialist, XDCAM range (pictured).

It uses automatic ingest tools, so you don't have to waste time organising and viewing clips. Users can also create metadata in planning (using a free planner) and import that into the XM Pilot via WiFi, USB or file-copying onto recording media, before going on location.

Users can access and input data on their iPhone or iPad, or Android device (with apps available as a free download for iOS and for Sony Ericsson phones). For post, there are free ingest tools for Apple's Final Cut Pro 7 (an FCP X version won't be available until Sony finishes work on XDCAM support in X) and for Avid Media Composer v5 upwards.

The system requires an add-on WiFi unit for the camera, which sends timecode, synchs metadata and streams proxy video and audio (with a two to five second delay – there is no delay if not streaming proxy). Panasonic offers something similar via WiFi on its HPX3100.

Talkback Thames used a beta version of the Sony system to shoot property series Escape To The Country for the BBC and found it cut logging time per episode from two days to just two hours.

The XM Pilot package consists of two hardware elements (dongle and firmware upgrade) and three software elements (planning tool, smart-device app and NLE integration).

Customers will have to purchase a £533 WiFi dongle, which plugs into the camera, and a firmware upgrade for their camera: a £670 activation board for the PMW-500; a £922 software activation code for the PDW-700/800; a £383 activation board for the PMW-350/320 or TD300; and a £2,375 SxS Card Key for the PMW-F3.

At least the software is free. It includes: XM Pilot planner (PC application with web access via any platform downloadable from; the XM Pilot smart-device app (free download from Apple App Store, and on Android Marketplace); and the NLE Integration plug-ins for FCP7 and Avid.

XDCAM Station

The recently introduced XDCAM Station is a crossover between a server and a traditional deck, but less expensive. "Customers are getting a lot more functionality for less money," said Young.

It can support multiple actions simultaneously, both input and output, so it can add time delay to a recording feed or record to both the internal hardware and a Professional Disc at once. In January it will also be able to playout from SxS cards. It has three hard drives, for RAID 4 protection – if one goes down it can reconstruct its contents from the other two. Editors can access clips as they are recording, via an Ethernet connection, allowing them to edit live feeds as they come in – on Final Cut Pro now and on Avid when the next release of AMA, due this month, comes out. It can also be linked to a shared storage system. The latest version (2.0) of the XDCAM Browser can remotely control the deck over the network.

Sony recently sold 80 of the high-end XDS-PD2000 models (pictured), which use solid-state drives, to WDR/NDR, in Germany. SSDs are a lot more responsive than spinning disks, so everything is quicker.

An upcoming firmware update will allow the XDCAM Station to pack up a 35Mbps XDCAM signal (from an EX1, say) without changing or upconverting it, to 50Mbps files, for broadcasters who use a 50Mbps infrastructure (especially for archive systems).

PMW-500 camcorder

There has also been new firmware released for the PMW-500 (version 1.12), which improves the response time from the record button. "It's primarily used for newsgathering and people don't want to miss anything." It is possible to use the camera with pre-record (up to 15 seconds), but there is a trade off in terms of battery life (although the increase in power used is small).

The PMW-500 has proved popular. The BBC has bought 250 of them for news use, almost all of which have now been delivered. TRT, Turkey, bought 75 recently, while TVN, Poland, bought 12 after IBC. In total, more than 700 PMW-500 units have been sold across Europe – it is made in the EU, at Sony's plant in Wales.

XDCAM Workflow Tour

Sony's XDCAM Workflow Tour offers different sets of users (and dealers) a week of one-day seminars on how to get the best out of the technology and new ways of working, in a variety of locations across Europe.

It started in London last month, followed by Stockholm, and is in Copenhagen this week (28 November - 2 December). It will be in Amsterdam (5-9 December) and Belgium (12-16 December), and resume in the New Year on 9 January for five days in Köln, followed by Munich (16-20 January), Madrid (23-27 January), Lisbon (30 January - 3 February), Paris (6-10 February), Milan (13-17 February), Rome (20-24 February), Prague (27 February - 2 March), Warsaw (5-9 March), and Istanbul (19-23 March).

By David Fox

No comments:

Post a comment