Sarah Witt

Principal R&D Engineer at Sony BPRL

Sarah WittI have worked at Sony BPRL (Broadcast & Professional Research Labs) in Basingstoke, Hampshire, since graduating from Oxford in 1995.  BPRL is Sony’s principal overseas R&D lab for the Professional Solutions Group of Sony, who make cutting edge broadcast equipment and other business-to-business products, including for medical and security applications.

I had wanted to be an engineer for about as long as I can remember.  I always enjoyed designing, making and fixing things as a child, and was lucky enough to be able to see engineering in action in some of the work that my father brought home.  The creative side appealed as much as the technical side of engineering.  However, when it came to thinking about applying for university, I didn’t know whether I wanted to do mechanical or electrical/electronics engineering, so a general engineering course seemed the obvious choice, and Oxford’s course in particular seemed to offer the variety and scope I wanted, and I was fortunate enough to be offered a place at Queen’s.  I then learnt that my preference was in fact for electronics design, so specialised in that branch at Oxford.

I started at Sony soon after graduating, designing circuit boards for the first ever High Definition video effects unit.  I have since moved to software design, though still processing images, mostly in real-time.  In the last few years I have been leading projects designing stereoscopic 3D equipment, including the award-winning analysis and correction software that was used to shoot the 2010 FIFA World Cup in 3D (a world first!), working closely with the end-user customers.  This included two weeks spent in South Africa, supporting the 3D film crew inside the Outside Broadcast trucks used.  The broad scope provided by the Oxford course, along with an interest in photography, has certainly helped in understanding all the problems inherent in 3D shooting (optical, mechanical and electronic) and therefore to find workable solutions to these problems.  I am now working on a project applying this 3D and image processing experience to the medical imaging domain.