Post-NAB delay for Infinity?6 April 2006
It looks increasingly likely that Grass Valley will miss the opportunity to showcase production models of its eagerly anticipated IT-based camera Infinity at NAB with shipping delayed until late May, writes Adrian Pennington.
"The version on show will be close to the final product in terms of hardware but we’ve more work to do on the software side," says Jan Eveleens, general manager, broadcast camera product line, Grass Valley. The Rev Pro recording media, developed in conjunction with Iomega, is already available for purchase but the system’s VTR-style deck, dubbed the Digital Media Recorder, won’t be ready until July at the earliest.
Marketed initially for ENG, the system will be shown linked with GVG’s NewsEdit and Canopus Edius editing products with third party NLEs ‘in the pipeline’ in Vegas. "It will be used in the beginning mainly in SD but is positioned for the move to HD," says Eveleens. After a software upgrade to 24p timed for IBC, the focus of the product will switch from news to documentaries and independent production companies.
At euro 20,000 the Infinity is priced favourably against rival tapeless acquisition products P2 and XDCAM, although the price rises to euro 30,000 with the addition of a MPEG-2 board. An H.264 codec for MPEG-4 is also planned.
Despite recent exclusive demonstrations, UK resellers remain somewhat sceptical of the product’s development curve while hoping that GVG can break the Sony/Pana duopoly. "It’s interesting technology, but we’ve not been shown any working models," said Doug Hammond of Shooting Partners. The Rev Pro drives can record 35GB or 45 minutes of JPEG2000 at 75Mbps per disc (each cost euro 50). Infinity also supports DV25 and houses Compact Flash, similar to P2 cards, for solid state storage.
The system is being trialled by a number of broadcasters including the BBC which has worked with GVG on the camera since 2003 and will pilot it on a number of programmes this summer. According to Paul Cheesbrough, technology controller, BBC Production: "The key thing for us was the switchable codec for MPEG-4 or JPEG2000 and the potential to record in QuickTime or DNX formats for download and immediate editing."