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Production Solutions for Live Streaming, Part 2: Sony Anycast Touch

In Part 1 of this series on production solutions for live streaming, we looked at two key pieces of the live production puzzle: cameras and audio. Here we'll look at a product that ties it all together for live producers: the Sony Anycast Touch.

 

In Part 1 of this two-part series on production solutions for live streaming, sponsored by Sony Electronics Professional Solutions of America, we looked at two key pieces of the live production puzzle: cameras and audio. But high-quality video and strong, clear audio don’t make a full-fledged, professional-quality live production all on their own.

Let's say you’re doing a full live production for the web, or for delivery via streaming. You’ve got multiple video elements, audio elements, presentations, and graphics. How do you bring all those different pieces into a single, high-quality production output for your viewers to see at home, or on the go?

Enter Anycast Touch

That's where Sony’s Anycast Touch (Figure 1, below) comes in. Anycast Touch AWS-750 is an all-in-one live production solution. At Sony, we call it the “live content producer.”

Figure 1. Sony Anycast Touch

Anycast Touch is a mix of a number of different components including a video switcher and an audio mixer. It does built-in pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) camera control. It features a built-in video recorder. It also offers media playback and web streaming, all from within a portable, 14-lb. unit that’s about the size of a briefcase. It easily fits in an overhead compartment, for producers who travel often. It's an all-in-one, on-the-go portable solution.

Built-in Text and Title Generation

Anycast Touch also features a built-in text and title generator (Figure 2, below). Here’s a scenario that’s probably happened to most of us: You're doing a full production on the fly, and you have someone random who was not supposed to be in your production that day show up, and you absolutely have to capture them because this is the only chance you'll ever get to talk to them. You don't have a graphic ready for them. With this unit, you can actually type graphics on the fly. You can import your own background, and type their name, and actually have it placed anywhere on the screen.

Figure 2. More features of the Anycast Touch

Anycast Touch supports up to 9 languages. It supports built-in templates with transparency, so you can actually quickly and easily create a look where you have a lower-third with your subject’s name, with your logo on the actual output of the Anycast Touch.

Auto-Camera Tracking

One of the key benefits now available via the recently released v. 1.3 software is autocamera tracking (Figure 3, below). For example, let’s say you’re a one-person operation filming, switching, and streaming a conference presentation with a speaker at the front of the room. You don't have a dedicated camera person. With the new autocamera tracking feature, the Anycast Touch actually takes a snapshot of your presenter's skin tone and the clothing that they're wearing, and it creates a color vector for the presenter. Next, it creates kind of a virtual fingerprint without the person having to wear any special device, and uses it to follow them back and forth across the stage when it's connected to one of Sony's PTZ cameras.

Figure 3. New features in Anycast v. 1.3

Anycast Touch actually issues the commands to the camera based on the location of the presenter. You’ve probably filmed presentations where the person goes from stage right to stage left multiple times, and then you have that person that stops in the middle, and all of a sudden they decide to do a twirl and go back toward the other direction. You don't want to be back there dealing with that because it looks like you're disconnected from your talent. You can actually change the speed of the autocamera tracking so that it smoothly and easily follows them across the stage.

Figure 4 (below) is a graphic that illustrates how the Anycast’s auto-tracking feature works. With the person at the front of the room, the camera is tracking their location based on skin tone, and clothing that they're wearing.

Figure 4. Anycast auto-tracking

Related Articles
In this 2-part series, we'll focus on some of the tools that are available to you as content creators when you're delivering content for the web, beginning in this first installment with cameras and pro audio gear.