Sony Changes Pro Video Management, Plans to Preview New Machine-Learning Video Appliance at NAB

Sony Electronics said new leadership for its pro video business will be in place in time for NAB Show 2019, naming Neal Manowitz deputy president and Theresa Alesso division president of Sony Electronics Imaging Products and Solutions, Americas (IPSA), effective April 1.

Manowitz will directly oversee Sony’s Alpha still camera business as well as its Venice and FS camera series. Alesso, reporting to Manowitz, will be responsible for Sony’s ENG, system and studio camera business. John Studdert remains on in his sales-and-marketing role as VP of the media segment of Sony IPSA.

The announcement was made at a pre-NAB press briefing this week in New York by Katsunori Yamanouchi, the current president of Sony’s pro video business, who said he is heading back to Japan to take another role at Sony at the end of this month.

Sony officials also previewed plans for the NAB show floor, where the company will highlight 4K HDR workflow, its IP Live initiative for IP-based production, and its Intelligent Media Services suite of production and delivery systems that launched at IBC 2018. Gear to be spotlighted includes Sony’s flagship cameras for cinema and broadcast, the Venice and HDC-3000 series, as well as a 98-inch 8K Bravia display and the impressive 8K x 4K Cinema LED display that’s become a centerpiece of its exhibits.

AI and Edge Analytics

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Sony REA-C1000 Edge Analytics appliance

NAB 2019 will also highlight Sony’s foray into machine learning, the new REA-C1000 edge analytics appliance, which it debuted in February at ISE 2019 in Amsterdam. The C1000, which is literally a black box, is being positioned as a hands-off production tool for corporate, education and government environments. When connected to a PTZ camera, the box can track a presenter’s activity, keeping them in frame and in focus as they move around without requiring an operator to keep an eye on the camera. It can also recognize and extract handwriting from blackboards or whiteboards in the frame.

Before the end of the year, Sony plans to enable a feature called “chroma keyless CG overlay,” which analyzes motion to isolate a presenter and composite them onto a different background layer (without benefit of a green-screen backdrop), as well as “focus area cropping,” which allows a 4K image to be presented as two different output images, with static or dynamic cropping — for example, an HD cut-out cropped from the full 4K image could track across the frame to follow a speaker’s movement.

The REA-C1000 can be used with Sony’s PTZ cameras, including the XDCAM range, and is interoperable with typical AV set-ups via HDMI connectivity, Sony said. It’s expected to ship in April; Sony has not revealed pricing for the hardwaret. Each of the box’s various features will be available free of charge for a 60-day trial before a separately purchased permanent license is required.

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Sony REA-C1000 with BRC-X1000 PTZ camera

Artificial Intelligence has also been integrated in Sony’s Ci cloud platform, which employs AI techniques for speech-to-text transcription and object recognition, including face detection as well as the ability to seek related images based only on the content of an image itself, rather than metadata clues about what it depicts.


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