The Sony XDCAM HD family of optical products now includes two camcorders and two decks - and the same Professional Disc media used in the standard definition version of the XDCAM system is also compatible with the new HD version, writes Fergal Ringrose.
Professional users can now record up to two hours of high definition content on the optical media, maintaining workflow continuity by combining HD resolution with the same IT-based features made possible by XDCAM technology since its initial launch in 2004.
Olivier Bovis, product manager at Sony Europe said, "This new XDCAM line-up completes Sony's range of HD production tools, filling an important gap between Sony's entry-level and high-end formats." The two XDCAM HD camcorders - models PDW-F330 and PDW-F350 - both offer true 24P recording in SD or HD, interval recording, and slow shutter. The PDW-F350 also offers variable frame rate recording capabilities; also commonly known as over-cranking and under-cranking or slow-motion/fast motion functionality.
"For digital cinematographers, the ability to shoot at slower or faster frame rates than playback gives them the great motion effects often seen in film cinema," said Bovis.
The PDW-F350 enables variable frame rate recording at a range of frame rates from four frames per second (fps) to 60 fps in one frame increments. For example, when viewed at 24 fps, four fps yields motion six times faster than normal. In comparison, 60 fps yields motion at 40 percent normal speed. These effects can be played back in the camera or on a Sony XDCAM HD deck, without the need for any additional special processing through a nonlinear editing system or converter. The PDW-F350 also enables true 24P, 25P and 30P image capture, without any additional conversion required.
The XDCAM HD products record 1080i video in three data recording rates: 25Mbps, plus 35Mbps and 18Mbps. The system records high-definition content to Sony's existing Professional Disc single-layer media using a HD MPEG-2 Long GOP video compression codec.
The Sony Professional Disc media is re-usable up to 10,000 cycles. The number of repeat recordings possible with the XDCAM disc allows a production crew to re-use it more often than a videotape and without experiencing degradation after multiple uses. The XDCAM HD will be available in Europe from April.