A dramatic headline perhaps, but once I start to look at what the Xperia Pro can do, I can’t help but say – I want one! The Xperia Pro is so much more than just a phone for making calls or watching YouTube videos.
The Xperia Pro shares many features of Sony’s flagship Xperia 1 II and adds an HDMI input.
HDMI IN. Yes, that’s right – it has a 4K/HD HDMI input. So you can plug your camera into it and use it as an HDMI monitor, plus its HDR so you have a small pocket sized HDMI monitor. When I travel (travel – hopefully that will happen again) to remote locations I often don’t take a monitor because of the extra bulk. But being able to use a phone as a monitor from time to time would be such a help. It supports HDR and Rec2020 and has pinch to zoom if you need to enlarge the image to check focus etc.
Streaming from the HDMI input.
Install a streaming app on the phone and you can use it to stream the HDMI feed from any connected camera direct to your favorite platforms. No need to use clumsy tethering, just plug in the HDMI and start your favorite app.
5G millimeter wave. Because the phone features 5G millimeter wave connectivity, where available you will have access to extremely fast data transfer speeds for streaming or ftp transfers. The phone also includes a Network Visualiser App that allows you to find the best network connectivity so you can be sure of the best possible connection wherever you are.
3x High Quality Cameras. The Xperia Pro has three 12mp cameras with Zeiss lenses that are the equivalent of 16mm f2.2, a particularly impressive 24mm f1.7 as well as a 70mm f2.4. The cameras have been co developed by engineers from the Alpha team and feature full manual control as well as raw stills. For video it can shoot at 4K HDR at 24, 30, 60 and 120fps with an optional wide screen 21:9 (2.370:1) aspect ratio mode that matches the 21:9 aspect ratio of the phone itself.
But all of this goodness comes at a price. Currently its priced at $2499 USD which is a huge amount of money for a phone. The very similar Xperia 1 II without the HDMI input can be found for less than half of that. But for someone that streams a lot, perhaps for TV news applications there is a lot to like. You could use the phone as your camera or use the phone to stream from a better camera, easily and simply. With 5G you can use it to upload finished packages quickly and easily. The cost of any high end phone plus an HDR 4K monitor would be close to that of the Xperia Pro, so while it is a lot of money it isn’t perhaps as outrageous as it first seems.
The Sony PXW-Z90 is a real gem of a camcorder. It’s very small yet packs a 1″ sensor , has real built in ND filters, broadcast codecs and produces a great image. On top of all that it can also stream live directly to Facebook and other similar platforms. In this video I show you how to set up the Z90 to stream live to YouTube. Facebook is similar. The NX80 from Sony is very similar and can also live stream in the same way.
Facebook Live stream Thursday 26th March 4pm GMT/UTC on how to stream to Facebook and YouTube with the Sony PXW-FS5 (also applies to many other Sony cameras with similar streaming options).
I will show you how to connect the camera to a network via Wi-Fi, how to send the stream from the camera to a computer. I will show you how to set up VLC to receive the stream from the camera and then how to use OBS to convert the FS5’s stream (via VLC) and send it to YouTube.
The “How To” live stream will be on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/alister.chapman.9. But if you also have YouTube you will be able to see the stream from the FS5 once it is connected and setup. Links will be shared during the presentation.
Do you have an FS5 and want to stream to Facebook or YouTube? It’s actually fairly straight forward and you don’t even need to buy anything extra! You can even connect a couple of FS5’s to a single computer and switch between them.
How do you do it?
First you will need to download and install two pieces of free software on your computer. The first is VLC. VLC is an open source video player but it also has the ability to act as a media server that can receive the UDP video streams that the FS5 sends and convert them into a live video clip on the computer. The computer and the camera will both need to be connected to the same wifi network and you will need to enter the IP address of the computer into the streaming server settings in the FS5. By connecting the FS5 to your computer via the network you can use VLC to decode the UDP stream . Go to “file” “open network” and click on “open RTP/UDP stream” and enter the computers IP address and the stream port, you should then save the FS5 stream as a playlist in VLC.
OBS is a clever open source streaming application that can convert any video feed connected to a computer into a web stream. From within OBS you can set the signal source to VLC and then the stream from the FS5 will become one of the “scenes” or inputs that OBS can stream to Facebook, YouTube etc.
For multi-camera use a different port for each of the UDP streams and then in VLC save each stream as a different playlist. Then each playlist can be attached to a different scene in OBS so that you can switch. cut and mix between them.
With some difficult times ahead and the need for most of us to minimise contact with others there has never been a greater need for streaming and online video services that now.
I’m setting up some streaming gear in my home office so that I can do some presentations and online workshops over the coming weeks.
I am not an expert on this and although I did recently buy a hardware RTMP streaming encoder, like many of us I didn’t have a good setup for live feeds and streaming.
So like so many people I tried to buy a Blackmagic Design Atem, which is a low cost all in one switcher and streaming device. But guess what? They are out of stock everywhere with no word on when more will become available. So I have had to look at other options.
The good news is that there are many options. There is always your mobile phone, but I want to be able to feed several sources including camera feeds, the feed from my laptop and the video output from a video card.
OBS is s great piece of software that can convert almost any video source connected to a computer into a live stream that can be sent to most platforms including Facebook and YouTube etc. If the computer is powerful enough it can switch between different camera sources and audio sources. If you follow the tutorials on the OBS website it’s pretty quick and easy to get it up and running.
So how am I getting video into the laptop that’s running OBS? I already had a Blackmagic Mini Recorder which is an HDMI and SDI to thunderbolt input adapter and I shall be using this to feed the computer. There are many other options but the BM Mini Recorders are really cheap and most dealers stock them as well as Amazon. it’s HD only but for this I really don’t need 4K or UHD.
Taking things a step further I also have both an Atomos Sumo and an Atomos Shogun 7. Both of these monitor/recorders have the ability to act as a 4 channel vision switcher. The great thing about these compared to the Blackmagic Atem is that you can see all your sources on a single screen and you simply touch on the source that you wish to go live. A red box appears around that source and it’s output from the device.
So now I have the ability to stream a feed via OBS from the SDI or HDMI input on the Blackmagic Mini Recorder, fed from one of 4 sources switched by the Atomos Sumo or Shogun 7. A nice little micro studio setup. My sources will be my FS5 and FX9. I can use my Shogun as a video player. For workflow demos I will use another laptop or my main edit machine feeding the video output from DaVinci Resolve via a Blackmagic Mini Monitor which is similar to the mini recorder but the mini monitor is an output device with SDI and HDMI outputs. The final source will be the HDMI output of the edit computer so you can see the desktop.
Don’t forget audio. You can probably get away with very low quality video to get many messages across. But if the audio is hard to hear or difficult to understand then people won’t want to watch your stream. I’m going to be feeding a lavalier (tie clip) mic directly into the computer and OBS.
I think really my main reason for writing this was really to show that many of us probably already have most of the tools needed to put together a small streaming package. Perhaps you can offer this as a service to clients that need to now think about online training or meetings. I was lucky enough to have already had all the items listed in this article, the only extras I have had to but are an extra thunderbolt cable as I only had one. But even if you don’t have a Sumo or Shogun 7 you can still use OBS to switch between the camera on your laptop and any other external inputs. The OBS software is free and very powerful and this really is the keystone to making this all work.
I will be starting a number of online seminars and sessions in the coming weeks. I do have some tutorial videos that I need to finish editing first, but once that’s done expect to see lots of interesting online content from me. Do let me know what topics you would like to see covered and subject to a little bit of sponsorship I’ll see what I can do.
Stay well people. This will pass and then we can all get back on with life again.
Sky News in the UK have decided to invest in a new ecosystem using a number of different Sony XDCAM camcorders in a move to future proof their news production. All the cameras chosen feature Sony’s built in streaming and ftp functions. To go with the cameras Sky are also investing in a number of PWS-100RX1 live streaming receivers that feature Sony’s QoS system that ensures high quality images even when using low quality data connections.
The cameras chosen include the PXW-X400 shoulder camera (which from next year can be upgraded to 4K with a new sensor system). The PXW-X200 and the PXW-X70 (also 4K capable).
According to the Sony Press release:
George Davies, Head of Operations at Sky News UK said: “Sky News is constantly looking to improve its news service and customer experience. Core to Sky News is the ability to increase speed to air with accurate information. IP is now an integral part of the news infrastructure and the cameras we are purchasing will allow a revolution in the workflow for Sky News in the field. The Sony cameras and network system will allow Sky News to have permanently connected cameras with bi-directional information to ensure we get the pictures back but also have metadata to ensure we know what they are and where they are from”.
For more details click here.
Camera setup, reviews, tutorials and information for pro camcorder users from Alister Chapman.