Sony XDCAM HD Family Gets 4:2:2 50 Mbps Upgrade

"The Sony XDCAM HD product line just got a boost in performance, with a new 50 Mbps high-definition camera and recorder to be available in April. The camera was shown in prototype in the fall in Europe.

The company’s latest XDCAM HD Professional Disc camcorder offers 4:2:2 processing for better chroma-key effects and 2/3-inch CCDs for pristine HD acquisition. Previous generation XDCAM HD cameras were only available with 1/2-inch CCD imagers, so users of the new camera will have more lens choices available to them as well. For cinematographers, the only thing lacking is 24p capability.

The new model PDW-700 camcorder supports Sony’s new dual-layer 50GB optical media (now available for about $60), giving users HD record times of approximately 95 minutes at 50 Mbps, 150 min. at 35Mbps, 200 min. at 25 Mbps. It also records on single-layer discs, although you’ll get about half the record time.

Perhaps the biggest step up is the PDW-700 camcorder’s three 2/3-inch Power HAD FX progressive CCDs that produce a resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels. A 14-bit A/D converter and advanced digital signal processing are also incorporated in the camcorder.

With the new camera, 4:2:2 processing means there’s more color space for pulling keys, and thus overall production values have been increased. Like all XDCAM HD cameras it offers MPEG-2 (in this case 4:2:2P@HL) compression technology, multi-format (1080i/720P) recording, HD/SD conversion and cross-conversion during playback, the use of proxy video and metadata. Unique camera functions continue to include a digital extender, picture cache, interval recording, slow shutter, focus magnification, and clean switching between the “live and playback” function.

It also features dual HD/SD-SDI outputs and composite/HD-Y output, as well as a pool-feed input (HD/SD-SDI and composite) option. The camera’s ruggedness and durability has also been enhanced with new dust and water resistant mechanisms, as well as new features to cool the camera and reduce fan noise. There’s also a 3.5-inch color LCD screen.

To complement the camera, Sony has also introduced the PDW-HD1500 recording deck, a half-rack unit with a 4.3-inch color LCD display and a tilt-up front panel that supports HD-SDI, SD-SDI, i.LINK (1394 or “Firewire”), and Ethernet connections. It also features eight-channel, 24-bit audio recording, and a dual optical pick-up for higher-speed file transfer. Its user interface replicates a VTR, with jog/shuttle controls that can be accessed either through the front panel or a remote unit. It will play back material recorded on first-generation XDCAM devices."

By Michael Grotticelli, Studio Daily