Sony’s legacy of creating industry leading content creation tools took the next step today with the announcement of an HDCAM SR camcorder platform and upgrade roadmap that raises the price / performance standard for broadcast and Digital Cinema production. The new platform will exist in both 2/3” and 35mm formats and will work in seamless concert with both tape and memory based media for “full cycle” workflow and archival capability.
The first iteration of the new platform is the recently introduced SRW-9000, which is now available. This 2/3” triple CCD camera writes to a built-in HDCAM SR recorder for a combination of high performance and operational portability. Some key features of the SRW-9000 are 1080/60P “overcrank” recording in 4:4:4; and 14-bit A/D conversion, which translates to a dynamic range of over 12 stops.
So what does it all mean? That Sony has re-iterated their commitment to all manner of broadcast and Digital Cinema production with a flexible “Camcorder for Life” concept that steps up the level of quality, portability and, above all, long term investment value. Whether shooting sports, documentary, broadcast or cable drama, nature, sitcoms, news magazines, independent or studio-level cinema, the Sony SRW-9000 platform will be available in a configuration that fits all these applications along with workflow and archival solutions that have become—and will remain—industry standard.
For more information, please see the official Sony announcement as well as Abel Cine Tech blogs from my colleagues Andy Shipsides and Jesse Rosen who have taken the new camera on a test drive. In their blog, Hands On With the SRW-9000, they evaluate operation and performance of the SRW-9000 from Sony.
In today’s announcement, Sony has revealed a migration path for both the front end and back end of the SRW-9000 camcorder. As an alternative to the 2/3” CCD prism block, the front end of the camera can also accommodate a 35mm single chip imager for use in productions that favor 35mm cinema-like depth of field. Existing SRW-9000 cameras will be upgradeable to the 35mm imager block; and eventually new cameras will be available in either 2/3” or 35mm versions.
The back end of the camera will house a memory storage technology currently in development. While actual product specs are yet to be determined, Sony is considering initial storage capacity of 250GB and 500GB with guaranteed transfer speed above 5Gbps.
The workflow options for HDCAM SR tape are also being expanded with the addition of file based access over GB ethernet. An upgrade to the SRW-5800 deck will allow real time download of SR content in MXF wrapped MPEG-4 SStP (Simple Studio Profile) which is Sony’s HDCAM SR native codec. This will enable data based workflows with SR material. Additionally Sony has announced a new pricing policy which promises to decrease the price of HDCAM SR tape.
The platform will be flexible in that cameras can be configured as either 2/3” with tape or memory, or 35mm with tape or memory. The 2/3” SRW-9000 with HDCAM SR is available now.