Sony is expanding the functionality of its web-based service for live productions, which allows live productions to be professionally streamed on the net via cameras and a laptop only - without special hardware such as a switch or streaming equipment. In addition to classic broadcast productions, Sony is thus targeting companies or universities that want to stream events, lectures or announcements professionally online.
Sony Virtual Production
The new features of Sony Virtual Production Services version 1.4.0 include
-sharing of desktop or webcam content: Users can share their desktop or webcam directly via Virtual Production as an input source, for example to include PowerPoint presentations in a live stream
-Manual clip playback control: The Play/Stop/Pause functions in the Preview Window allow you to manually control the clip player before switching to the live stream.
-An easy to use clip playlist function: An ordered sequence of clips is easily accessible using the "Next"/"Previous" controls in the Clip Player. This way, the playback order of the clips can be prepared and the amount of work during the live event can be minimized.
-Support for Microsoft Stream and Twitch: This feature offers a wider choice of streaming platforms through pre-configured outputs. Custom RTMP configuration is still possible. Virtual Production will continue to support up to three online platforms simultaneously.
-Remote audio commentary: Users can provide audio commentary without being at the venue.
-Automatic shutdown on inactivity: If the device does not record or transmit for ten minutes, the event is paused and ended.
-Official support for the PXW-FX9 camcorder with QoS streaming: A new reliable and creative option for events has been added to the list of compatible Sony camcorders
The new version will be launched with a 30-day trial offer that includes five hours of free use of the tool without any configuration or credit card information.
In Sony&s Virtual Production Service, the image data streams from up to 6 cameras can be transmitted live mobile via 3G/4G/LTE/WLAN - even from completely different locations - to Sony&s Virtual Production System in the network. The audio/video live streams can then be displayed in the Virtual Switcher in the browser and mixed, switched and provided with transitions, (picture-in-picture) effects, titles or graphics. The resulting video stream can then be streamed live directly on the net via YouTube, Facebook Live or another provider.
Sony Virtual Production Service on the Tablet
The actual infrastructure or computing power for the live mix via browser is provided by Amazon&s Web Servie (AWS) via cloud computing. The prerequisite for all this is of course a sufficiently large upload bandwidth so that the camera images can be sent to the network in good quality - Sony speaks of a minimum of 6 Mbit/s for 720p and 10 Mbit/s for 1080i. The latency is relatively high at 2 seconds when the image streams are changed. Several Sony cameras have the ability to stream live into the network, otherwise an additional wireless module must be purchased.
An attractive feature is the possibility to work completely net-based, i.e. the production can take place via browser at a completely different location than the camera transmission. The renouncement of expensive dedicated hardware like a live-switcher can have a positive effect on the production costs. Sony offers different subscription models, so can be streamed for monthly 300 euro up to four hours, for 700 euro 10 hours - an "Enterprise" solution contains 100 and more hours. Inclusive is in each case the possibility the input of up to 6 cameras to process together with two Logos and two subtitle Keyer and storage.