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From Genesis to revelation

14 September 2006

The Genesis lookalike electronic movie camera that Sony unveiled off the showfloor at NAB has not yet become a finished product, but a price of around $200,000 with an SR-W1 attached is being quoted here at IBC, writes George Jarrett.

“Obviously it’s a bit later on in terms of generations than the (Panavision) Genesis, but it will share some features,” said Sony Europe product marketing chief engineer, Richard Lewis. “In other ways they are divergent, starting with our use of standard 2/3-inch CCDs. These are similar to the ones we put in the HDC-1500, but the Genesis has a 35mm single CCD.

“Since NAB we have taken a lot of feedback, and we are currently changing some of the features to reflect that response,” he added. “The camera head is designed to be small, and you can dock the recorder on the top or the back, or you could take it off and connect it via a couple of cables. I estimate that almost everyone will use ‘digi’ primes with it.”

The viewfinder is a standard LCD unit, and it is one of the areas that Sony got its hottest reaction to. Lewis quoted connector changes and work on the battery system – perhaps a clip-on Anton Bauer system – but cinematographers who have been able to assess the camera cite things like the data output as an issue. One member of the American Society of Cinematographers reported: “Sony was thinking of outputting the data as Cineon, but it would be more valuable to optimise the Log output and give everybody a LUT.”

One DoP very specifically asked to push a button, output the frame he is looking at onto a memory stick, and bring the frame back in with an authored LUT once previewed on a PC. Another said: “It looks like the Genesis, and acts a lot like the Genesis.”

Commenting on the likelihood of Sony finding an alternative viewfinder system, Lewis said: “Currently no, but we do know that LCD technology is moving along quite quickly.” Asked if this camera is the first of a new generation of high-end cameras, Lewis added: “We are undecided. We’ll see how this one goes. It is aimed at the bottom end of the movie market, and at top budget drama.”

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