New Sony XDCAM HD camcorder heading to Beijing with NBC, NHK and CCTV

By Ken Kerschbaumer

NBC Olympics, NHK, and CCTV are among the broadcasters that have committed to use a new XDCAM HD camera system from Sony that will make its debut at NAB. The PDW-700 camera can capture full-resolution 1920×1080 4:2:2 images at 50 Mbps and works hand-in-hand with the PDW-1500 recording deck.

Thirty of the cameras and 170 HD decks will head to Beijing with NBC Olympics, giving NBC a workhorse system to record MPEG-2 4:2:2@HL images on dual-layer 50 GB Sony’s XDCAM discs (PFD50DLA). Three 2/3-inch Power HAD FX progressive CCDs, a 14-bit A/D converter, and advanced digital signal processing and ensure the 4:2:2 images are up to snuff. Other customers like CNN, CBS, Cablevision, Hearst-Argyle, and Tribune have also inked deals for the new gear.

NBC Olympics will use the decks for all venue recordings, ENG shoots, ISO recordings, and competition archives. The decks will also feed the network’s Avid room and be source decks for linear editing rooms.

Hugo Gaggioni, Sony Electronics VP and CTO, says 4:2:2 has been a bit of a misnomer in HD as previous systems that claimed 4:2:2 did not offer 1920×1080 resolution. “4:2:2 is as much about full-resolution images as luminance and chrominance,” he explains. The equipment also provides multi-format (1080i/720P) recording flexibility as well as HD/SD conversion and cross-conversion during playback between 1080i and 720P.

Pricing for the new camera and deck is $30,000 and $20,000 each. The 50 GB dual-layer disc is available for a street price of $60.

“These new models are ideal tools for such applications as news gathering where speed is a key concern, production for TV dramas, documentaries, and mainstream entertainment programs where a high-quality look is critical,” says Bob Ott, vice president of optical and professional products at Sony Electronics.

The camcorder maintains the XDCAM system’s file-based architecture and use of proxy video and metadata. It also features a digital extender, picture cache, interval recording, slow shutter, focus magnification, clean switching between the “live and playback” function, and a large, easy-to-view 3.5 inch (viewable area, measured diagonally) color LCD screen.

The PDW-HD1500 is a half-rack recording deck with a tilt-up front panel that supports a range of interfaces, including HD-SDI, SD-SDI, i.LINK (IEEE-1394), and Ethernet. It delivers high-quality eight-channel, 24-bit audio recording, and has a dual optical pick-up for higher-speed file transfer.

Its user interface is designed with a “VTR-like” jog/shuttle operation, with video control either through the front panel or a Remote Commander unit. A 4.3-inch (viewable area measured diagonally) color LCD display is also incorporated.
Users can record more HD content with the dual-layer disc, approximately 95 minutes at 50 Mbps, 150 minutes at 35Mbps, and 200 minutes at 25Mbps HD.

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