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Sony helps the Vatican go 4K

Upgrades include remotely controlled PTZ cameras in St Peter's Basilica, as well a "cinematic feel" in St Peter's Square

Vatican Media, the official institution within the Vatican responsible for broadcasting the Pope and the Vatican’s activity, has upgraded its broadcast system with help from Sony.

As part of the project, which began in 2020, the entire broadcast system of the Vatican has been updated to a more streamlined fibre network, with all 4K cameras connected via Sony’s HDCE-100 adaptor.

All cameras across The Vatican have been progressively upgraded during the project. Sony’s HDC-5500s have replaced previous generation cameras, shooting in 4K, HD, and HDR. As part of the upgrade, two camera heads are connected to a single camera cable. Operations are monitored on the Sony PVM-X series monitors which allows side by side comparison in the production suite, said Sony.

The company’s BRC-H800 PTZ cameras have been installed inside St Peter’s Basilica and can be controlled remotely. The cameras’ small size made them perfect for installing discretely around the building, so as not to impact on the historic surroundings, said Sony.

In November 2022 the 24/7 camera in St Peter’s Square was upgraded to a Sony FX9 to improve image quality, and to provide a more cinematic feel.

“Thanks to Sony’s innovative solutions, we’ve built a high quality and future-proof system which will transport viewers to The Vatican and help spread our message worldwide better than ever before,” said Francesco Masci, director of the technology department, Vatican. “Building such a complex system while in-keeping with the historic location was never going to be an easy task, but by using the expertise of our long-term partners Sony we were able to find the perfect solution.”

“Our long-standing partnership with Vatican Media has enabled us to offer a scalable and reliable system that meets the need for shooting, producing and broadcasting around the world with a low impact on historical environments,” added Norbert Paquet, head of live production solutions, Sony Professional Europe. “We look forward to continuing to work closely with Vatican Media as a technology partner and helping them to expand in crescendo the potential of broadcasting from this historic place with such a valuable heritage to always reach every corner of the world.”