Starwinder, BBC Technology Group's project to move to tapeless HD production by 2010, is to trial the Grass Valley Infinity camcorder and related products from Thomson – the initial phase of the Starwinder project sees tapeless acquisition systems from Grass Valley and Panasonic undergoing intensive trials over the next year to determine the Corporation's future policies, writes Fergal Ringrose.
For such a large organisation, a smooth transition to new technology is vitally important. The Grass Valley Infinity programme is designed for such a transition, capable of capturing in all common SD and HD standards even on the same recording medium, and supporting both today's widely recognised recording formats (including the DV and MPEG-2 families) as well as JPEG2000, seen by them as the best open option for the future.
Marc Valentin, president of the Grass Valley business within Thomson, said "We designed Infinity as a completely new approach to ENG and EFP acquisition, one which gave all the choices back to the user. In a single unit - and even on a single shoot - it supports the transition to HD, and allows the user to select not just the compression scheme but the recording medium itself to match the requirements of each individual task."
Rather than being tied to a proprietary video recording medium, the Infinity camcorder offers a range of recording systems based on commodity IT technology. The REV PRO disk is based on the Iomega REV 35GB removable hard disk system, and is built into every Infinity camcorder, as are slots for professional-grade CompactFlash cards.
The use of standard CompactFlash cards provides the benefits of solid-state recording at off-the-shelf media prices. Infinity also carries USB and Firewire (IEEE 1394) interfaces for connection to other external recording devices, and gigabit ethernet network ports for direct connection of the camera to a networked storage system.