Sony is to introduce a new 4K-capable codec as well as two new cameras to support it. Sony is also upgrading its F65 to record 8K, and will enable its existing FS700 camera to record 4K. The new cameras will use the XAVC codec for higher-resolution and higher framerate recording, but also record MPEG2 recording for compatibility with existing workflows. Adding a new codec was deemed necessary to give broadcasters and producers a future-proofed transition to Ultra-HD. “We began the push into large format sensor products with the NEX-FS100 and the F3 but the F65 was the only camera to support 4K,” said Sony Head of AV Media Olivier Bovis. “We've taken time to build out the workflow of the F65 and we have taken our time to announce the new cameras because we wanted native XAVC support on launch. The F5 and F55 will bring 4K to a much larger audience than the F65.” The PMW-F5 is aimed at TV drama and mainstream TV production and the PMW-F55 is targeted at high end drama or commercials. Both should be available from January, built in a modular design and from the same chassis as the PMW-F3 - which remains in Sony's line-up. At the same time the top of the range F65 will get a revamp, most notably freeing director's of photography to use the full 8K resolution of the existing chip with frame rates up to 120fps, the same as that achieved by NHK's Super-Hi-Vision camera. “The XAVC codec complements the MPEG2 family and enables HD 1080 50p, high frame rates and 4K 10-bit productions using an intra-frame structure,” said Bovis. Sony is in discussion with a number of vendors about implementing support for the codec including Rovi, Colourfront, Codex, Filmlight, Grass Valley, YoYotta, Avid and Adobe. For viewing 4K content, Sony is releasing the SRM-3000 30-inch 4K LCD monitor. The F5 will be able to shoot 120 frames a second at 4K, compressed using XAVC. It has a Super 35 sensor for which six new PL mount lenses will be introduced. The addition of a new recorder, R5, will enable Raw 4K from the camera. The R5 can also be mounted onto the NEX-FS700 enabling that general-purpose camera (shipping since April), which has a high-speed capability of 240fps in HD, to record 4K from its S35 CMOS chip. The F55 will handle 4K internal recording using a new generation of SxS cards which have faster recording speeds. The F55 also features a global shutter and “the same colorimetry as the F65” according to Bovis. It can shoot up to 180fps in compressed 4K - handy for commercials. “Users can shoot 4K and down convert for the edit and deliverables but retain a 4K version for use in due course,” said Bovis. “HD images could also be used as a proxy [to 4K] on the same camera.” He added: “For archive itself we are proposing the Optical Disc Archive (ODA). We know how reliable, flexible and affordable an archive to disc is, when users can simply output an MXF file and keep that for later retrieval.” Adrian Pennington
Sony is to introduce a new 4K-capable codec as well as two new cameras to support it. Sony is also upgrading its F65 to record 8K, and will enable its existing FS700 camera to record 4K.