NAB: ‘Survivor,’ ESPN, Reuters and HSN to Use Sony Gear

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ESPN, Mark Burnett Productions, Warner Bros., Reuters and HSN are among the companies that have recently cut deals to use Sony cameras and equipments for their productions and facilities, Sony announced this week at the NAB.

Two significant deals involved producers of syndicated and reality fare, genres that have been slow to move to high definition production.

Next season, Sony cameras and equipment will be used to create HD productions of the Survivor reality show, which is produced by Mark Burnett Productions’ for CBS, said Alec Shapiro, senior vice president of Sony Electronics’ Broadcast and Production Systems Division at the press event.

Shapiro called the move to produce Survivor in high-def, “a breakthrough in the production of reality programming in HD” that will encourage other reality producers to embrace HD.

Warner Bros., Warner Bros., which produces The Ellen DeGeneres Show, purchased Sony HDC-1500 Cameras and Sony MVS-8000 Switchers so that they can begin producing the syndicated talk show in HD.

In addition, WRAL in Raleigh, N.C.-based television station will deploy over 30 of Sony’s new PDW-700 optical camcorders and several PDW-HD1500 decks over the next two years.

WRAL director of engineering Peter Socket said workflow issues were crucial in their decision to go with Sony. “Pictures are very important but it came down to a workflow issue,” he noted. WRAL was the first commercial TV station in the U.S. to go HD in 2001.

On the facilities side, Sony announced two major deals with ESPN and HSN.

ESPN will be using Sony equipment at the L.A. Live facility complex that ESPN is building in downtown Los Angeles. Studio operations at the facility, which will open in 2009, will use three Sony MVS-8000G production switchers, 10 HDC-1500 studio cameras, more than 400 Sony LUMA professional LCD monitors and three BVM-L230 monitors.

Shapiro also announced that Sony would be “the prime contactor for HD upgrade of HSN.”

Details on the new HSN HD offering and facilities were scanty but Shapiro noted, “This is a major project that will include as many as 43 HDC Sony 1500 cameras, three MVS Switchers and HD monitors and routing. This represents one of the largest projects we’ve undertaken in the past few years.”

Also at the NAB, Sony announced that it had delivered more than 31,000 units of its XDCAM Professional Disc equipment, including standard- and high-definition versions of its optical camcorders and decks, since the equipment was first introduced in 2004. Networks currently using a combination of SD and HD XDCAM technology include CNN, CBS and PBS.

A variety of new products and upgrades were also highlighted at the show by Sony. It announced enhancements to its MVS line-up of multiformat video production switchers and added studio automation functionality for its MVS-8000A and MVS-8000G models.

It introduced a software upgrade for its MVS series of multi-format production switchers and added a new universal LCD remote panel, the BKS-R6010, for Sony's line of routing switchers.

Sony also unveiled a color viewfinder for professional cameras that is based on Organic Light Emitting Diode technology. It is the first time that Sony has used the ultra-thin displays in a non-consumer product.

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