At NAB this year, Sony released several major updates to their XDCAM camcorders. This includes new firmware, hardware, and software that can change all aspects of the XDCAM workflow. Sony has announced updates to the PDW-700/F800, a Wifi adapter, Live Logging, new XDCAM browsing software, decks, and archiving solutions. Keep reading to learn more about these updates.
The PDW700 and PDWF800 have both received a firmware upgrade. Firmware Version 1.63 adds several new features including support for a wifi adapter and live logging. The wifi adapter (CBK-WA01) attaches to the camera’s USB port and allows for wireless LAN access and logging of material as it is shot. Sony software will preview footage as it is shot and meta data can be added on the fly. The latest version of the Sony PDZ-1 Proxy Browsing software supports this feature, and in the future there will be mobile apps for both Windows Mobile devices and the iPhone. Other upgrades in this firmware release include 23.98 shooting in SD, additional viewfinder display options, and several small bug fixes. See the release notes here.
The PDW-HR1 will also get an update in the near future. The HR1 is a mobile XDCAM disc player and recorder, but if you look on the side of it you’ll also find two SxS card slots. New firmware will allow footage from an EX camera to be transferred onto an XDCAM disc. The video clips can be transferred as data (into the UserData folder on the disc) or transcoded to match the codecs found in the XDCAM HD camcorders. This is a great product for anyone mixing XDCAM disc and SxS cards.
Sony will also be releasing a new XDCAM Browser application that will combine all current XDCAM applications into one. If you’ve worked with the different Sony XDCAM software then you know how confusing all the different software can be. This new XDCAM Browser will be both Mac & PC compatible and combine the proxy browser, XDCAM Transfer, and XDCAM EX clip browser. Live logging will also be an option for this application, as well as ingest into Final Cut Pro. Look for the new software to come out sometime this Fall.
Finally the biggest news about XDCAM is the higher capacity disc. Sony will be releasing a quad-layer 128 GB write once disc, and they should cost under $1/GB. The new disc will work in their new XDCAM Station, which has both SxS and XDCAM disc inputs. It can read quad-layer discs with much faster transfer speeds than previous decks as a result of dual optics on one head. The XDCAM Station is both a playback/recording device and a network device. With built-in storage and network access, the XDCAM station will serve as a fast ingest station and network storage device. This technology has many different applications and will no doubt find its way into news stations, and become a standard for archiving data. Sony will also be releasing a small XDCAM drive, similar to the PDW-U1, for desktop use. This small drive will support the quad-layer discs and high transfer speeds over USB3. The 128 GB discs, XDCAM Station, and new single disc drive will probably come out around this time next year.
Read a full press release about all these updates here.