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Sony Unveils Next Generation of HDCAM SR Production Technology Including SRW-9000 and SRW-9000PL Camcorders (19/4/2010)

New products and planned upgrades range from acquisition and storage to archive and production efficiency.

In addition to the recent announcement of the new SRW-9000 HDCAM-SR camcorder, at NAB Sony will announce the SRW-9000PL, a 35mm imager and PL mount version that offers shooters more image creation options. Both cameras will also adapt to future file-based production with the planned delivery of new SR memory solid-state media.

“HDCAM-SR technology now meets the current and future needs of high-end cinematic and TV broadcast production,” said Chris Marchitelli, senior manager for CineAlta and Production Systems for Sony Electronics. “SR is already file-based, and can support data recording in resolutions up to 4K as DPX today. The benefits of non-linear acquisition are now a production requirement. The addition of solid-state media enhances the format’s inherent file-based design and brings SR’s proven quality to an even wider audience.

Both camcorders combine the SR format’s image quality with the versatility of a one-piece camcorder. The SRW-9000 has full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution 2/3-inch CCDs with a 14-bit A/D converter and digital signal processing to capture up to 1080/60P images.

Recognizing the market’s requirement for a 35mm “B” camera complement to its high-end F35, Sony is unveiling the SRW-9000PL and an optional upgrade kit for the SRW-9000 to a 35mm imager and PL mount. Both the SRW-9000PL and 35mm upgrade kit for the SRW9000 offer full RGB image capturing (without color sub-sampling), ultra-wide dynamic range (over 12 T-stops), variable speed (SR Motion™) with speed ramp capability, S-Log and HyperGamma capability.

Open Workflow with MXF and SR-Lite

The increase in HD programming has increased the demand for selectable video bit rates, multiple frame rates, greater format flexibility and workflow optimization. Across the SR range, Sony can deliver up to 1080/60P and 50P recording at a 880 Mb/s data rate, and that range also now includes a next-generation file transfer and storage technology.

Sony is announcing the latest in HDCAM-SR compression, “SR Lite,” which is a 220Mbps data rate codec based on the open MPEG-4 SStP (Simple Studio Profile) and will be supported as an MXF wrapped file, to help ensure high picture quality and enabling nearly real-time exchange over a GB Ethernet connection.

“SR-Lite” is designed to provide more efficiency and flexibility for SStP file-based production, using an open codec that is ideal for high-end cinematic and broadcast production. Content recorded on HDCAM tape can also be integrated into the MXF SStP file-based operation since the system is backwards-compatible. Three transfer rates -- 880Mbps, 440Mbps and 220Mbps -- will all be available in future HDCAM-SR products.

New Versions of SRW Studio Decks

Sony is also announcing new versions of its popular SRW players and recorders. The updated SRW-5800/2 recorder deck will be available this summer. It will support 2K recording and playback at both 2048x1080 and 2048x1556 modes, MXF file transfer of the SStP codec and the new “SR-Lite” 220 Mbps data rate, and 96KHz audio. It also supports double speed record and playback, as well as 3D content record and playback of 4:2:2 & 4:4:4 RGB. Customers who own current SRW-5800 models will be able to add this new feature set to their existing devices with the addition of an optional HKSR-58UK upgrade kit available this summer.

Sony also offers the new SRW-5100/2 player which supports the same 2K and double speed playback and 96KHz audio formats. Rounding out the new line-up is the SRW-5500/2 and SRW-5000/2 HDCAM-SR decks, which maintain their current feature set but take advantage of the harmonizing of the new codec chip set that the new decks share. The design reduces component size and lowers power consumption by combining encoding and decoding into a single processor.

New SR Memory as Media of the Future

The new SR solid state memory cards will deliver rapid transfer rates of more than 5 Gbp/s and storage capacity of up to 1TB. This new SR memory technology is designed to be the ideal media for future high-end production, with native acquisition capabilities for applications such as 3D 1080p and higher resolutions up to 4K.

Sony also plans to deliver an upgrade to SR memory on the existing SRW-9000 and SRW-9000PL camcorders together with a memory adapter for the F35 and F23.

While production and post-production move to file-based workflows, Sony’s HDCAM-SR tape continues to be the primary choice for the highest-end HD acquisition and archiving. Sony’s new HDCAM-SR roadmap and its commitment to an SR file-based workflow will enable the format to offer increased value from acquisition to archive.

For the immediate future, Sony’s new pricing structure for small-shell HDCAM-SR cassettes began in January 2010, offering a near 25 percent cost reduction on the BCT40SR, the preferred model for SR production, as well as other cost savings on the BCT6SR and BCT33SR models. “Our enhancements to the SR technology extend far beyond product announcements,” said Marchitelli. “We’re reassuring customers that what they buy not only works now, but also supports future needs and delivers a return on their investment.”

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