"4K is not just ready to be deployed, it is actually happening," said Katsunori Yamanouchi, VP of Sony Professional Solutions Europe, announcing that the FIFA World Cup Final in Brazil next year will be produced in 4K.
Just the final match at this stage is to be captured in the format to entice broadcasters to take the feed. Public viewing venues and screenings at cinemas are also being discussed by FIFA with the decision on the total number of matches to be shot and aired in 4K dependent in part on the outcome of the World Cup draw in December which will pair interested countries with stadium venues.
3D was marked by its distinct absence from the Sony press conference although FIFA has not ruled out producing in the format thanks to interest from China's CCTV among others.
"At IBC2012 Sony announced its technical collaboration with FIFA to produce the 2014 tournament in HD," said FIFA TV director Niclas Ericson. "The World Cup Final in 4K is the next natural evolution. We needed to be sure we had the technology that could deliver the trial this summer. We believe 4K will create a richer and more exciting viewing experience for viewers."
Sony's overriding message to the broadcast community was that "4K production has come of age. 4K live is no longer a future vision but today's reality," said Yamanouchi. "Why should you invest now in 4K when viewers don't have 4K TVs? Because this live production system can also be used to shoot HD - by offering HD cut outs from 4K cameras, down-conversion to HD or high framerate sequences for slow motion."
Sony has also bolstered its existing 4K line with two new NXCAM camcorders, the NEX-FS700RH and the NEX-FS700R. Both models feature a 4K Exmor Super35 CMOS sensor and enable 4K/2K recording on an external recorder. A firmware update includes the S-log2 gamma mode which gives a wider dynamic range, even for HD productions.