Two new pieces of software, a new Thunderbolt2 SxS card reader and a 12k screen. Just some of the things you can find on the Sony stand at IBC 2014. We haven't even mentioned any cameras or the fact that the cloud demo films were edited on FCPX!
First of all, let's get that screen mentioned. Sony won an award for their stand design which features a 12K wide screen that looks fabulous. Lots of big screens everywhere, but that was one of the best. Currys delivering it and putting it up on the lounge wall is a different matter.
Have you ever used Sony's Content Browser application? It is pretty clunky, but it has saved our bacon a couple of times when we couldn't read an SxS card in FCPX.
It is to be replaced on September the 30th by two new applications, the free Catalyst Browse and the $199 (purchase not rental) Catalyst Prepare. The goal was to have an application that can read every file format that Sony cameras produce. Apart from an odd MT2S clip, that's exactly what these apps do as well as providing a gateway to Sony's cloud service called Ci.
The icon view in Catalyst Browse.
Knowing that you have an application that can get all of Sony's formats off cards and converted if you wish, means you can turn up to a job without having to dig around online for the latest drivers. The apps even support the new PXW-FS7! They also use OpenCL, they both looked very responsive and the render times are low. This must be the quickest way to edit a string of shots off a Sony format card and uploaded the file to a video sharing site.
With Catalyst Browse, the user can:
- Browse – Quickly browse the files on your device using a thumbnail view or detailed list.
- View – See the details of each clip, check focus, mark in and out points, adjust colors, and edit metadata.
- Fast Copy – Copy all clips on the media, a subset, or only the desired portion of a clip to save time and space.
- Ultra Wide Color Gamut– Review with confidence the full range of color captured by your S-Log and RAW Sony cameras. Apply color looks, and import/export standard ASC-CDL files with other workflow tools to save time.
- Clip Lists – Create, import, and export Sony Professional Disc clip lists for quick play-out needs.
The is a signup page on Sony's website so that they can tell you when the applications are available. We will certainly have Browse in our dock as soon as we can.
Showing the ProRes export options in Catalyst Browse.
Catalyst Prepare does a lot more, that's why there's a one-off fee of $199.95. It reminds us a lot of Red Giant's Bulletproof.
With Catalyst Prepare, the user can:
- Import – Quickly view and import clips from the latest professional cameras, including Sony, Canon, GoPro, and others.
- Organize – Organization is key: Prepare gives you the ability to organize your media into targeted, meaningful collections.
- Edit – View the details, zoom into every corner, mark In/Out, edit metadata, adjust colors non-destructively, and create a storyboard to rough draft your vision.
- Export – Export a file, a group of files, or a storyboard. Render to .MP4, DPX, OpenEXR, ACES, ProRes (Mac only), or XAVC in a variety of resolutions and frame rates, or upload to the cloud via Sony Ci media cloud for collaborative team review.
- Confident Backup – Back up the entire camera media with the confidence of checksum verification.
- Ultra Wide Color Gamut – Work with the same wide color gamut as your camera. Set the source color space and the grade color space independently. Grade in Rec.709, Log, or ACES.
- Create a Rough Cut – Use the storyboard editor to sequence and edit a rough cut, then render the storyboard or export it to a variety of NLEs.
Both applications can transcode and upload to Sony's Ci media cloud for collaborative team review. Ci has been beefed up too and hopefully the issue on the FCPXML import with markers has been fixed. It could turn out to be a really useful companion tool to FCPX. A 'dropbox' style folder is in the future, so by setting the default export correctly, getting files to online approval in Ci would only take a few clicks.
Maybe it was the slight headache from the AJA party the previous night, but we missed a trick in not asking if the application could render out an MXF from a FCPX flat file master.
Their new demo film on Ci was edited with Final Cut Pro X (More about that in the coming weeks)
Should you still be wondering exactly what Ci does, no problem, here is a Sony video on exactly what you can do with it.
Finally on to some new hardware that we found hiding behind the queues to work the new cameras. The SBAC-UT100 is a dual SxS card reader with one USB3 and two Thunderbolt 2 ports. This means that the unit can be daisy-chained and won't be an end of chain device. That could be important if you are editing in the field on a MacBook Pro with limited thunderbolt connectivity. We would like one very much.
Now for a couple of bad points. The reader has to be connected to a power source as the bus power isn't enough, plus the matter of the price. At $1,000 it would be cheaper to buy a couple of Sonnet Thunderbolt readers and still have enough money for a cheap skiing holiday.