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Sony Elevates Professional Video Production With First Solid-State Compact Camcorder


Sony today conducted its first full-scale demonstration of a new solid-state compact camcorder for professional video production.

The new PMW-EX1 model expands Sony’s XDCAM® line-up of high-definition tapeless production and acquisition systems, which also includes optical disc-based camcorders and decks. The camcorder’s distinction is that it records and stores content to ExpressCard™ high-speed media, offering greater workflow flexibility with selectable bit rates in addition to an extensive list of editing and effects capabilities.

“The XDCAM EX series – with its full HD picture quality and system flexibility – is a powerful tool for boosting quality and efficiency in an array of HD production applications,” said Bob Ott, vice president of optical and network systems for Sony Electronics. “It’s also compatible with a broad range of non-linear editing systems.

“Combined with the ability to capture and transfer footage using ExpressCard technology, the new standard of PC card interface, I believe this new camera will prove to be a very reliable and flexible compact camcorder for HD video production.”

The camera uses Sony’s newly developed SxS PRO™ solid-state memory as its recording medium. The SxS memory card, which currently delivers up to 800 Mbps of high-speed data transfer, enables non-linear capabilities like instant random access and file-based operation. Equipped with two SxS memory card slots, the camcorder can record up to 100 minutes of high-quality HD footage at 35Mbps, or 140 minutes at 25Mbps using two 16-GB SxS memory cards.

The imaging devices used in the camcorder are three newly designed 1/2-inch type Exmor™ CMOS sensors, each with an effective pixel count of 1920 x 1080. This 1/2-inch type image sensor, allows the camcorder to provide an extremely high sensitivity of F10, a signal-to-noise ratio of 54 dB, and horizontal resolution of 1000 television lines.

“This large 1/2-inch type image sensor can capture images with a shallower depth of field than other hand held camcorders’ smaller-size image sensors, allowing for more creative freedom of expression,” Ott said, adding that the low-light capabilities of this new sensor will be of particular interest to those professionals who need to capture footage in challenging lighting applications.

The camcorder is switchable between 1080p, 1080i and 720p, with a multiple frame recording capabilities of 59.94i, 50i, 29.97P, 25P and native 23.98P.

It offers a choice of bit rates -- either 35 Mb/s (high-quality mode) or 25 Mb/s (standard-play mode) – depending on the desired picture quality and recording time.

The HQ mode supports both 1920 x 1080 and 1280 x 720 resolutions.

The SP mode supports 1440 x 1080 resolution at 25 Mb/s, which provides compatibility with HDV 1080i products. As a result, footage recorded in the SP mode can be seamlessly integrated into HDV™-compatible editing systems by connecting the camcorder through an i.LINK® (IEEE-1394) digital interface.

The PMW-EX1 camcorder is equipped with a high-quality, high-definition Fujinon 14x zoom lens. According to Ott, this lens was specifically designed to work with this camcorder and to deliver optimum picture performance and unprecedented functionality. The lens offers a wide angle of view of 5.8 mm (equivalent to 31.4 mm on a 35 mm lens), and many convenient features for diverse shooting situations.

The new camcorder offers a “Slow and Quick Motion” capability -- also commonly known as “overcranking” and “under-cranking” in the traditional film world -- for creating unique “looks” or special effects of slow and fast motion. Other creative capabilities include Slow Shutter, Interval Recording, a Picture Profile™ feature, and a histogram indicator, as well a 3.5-inch color LCD screen (viewable area, measured diagonally).

To increase interoperability, a range of non-linear editing manufacturers are developing compatible interfaces, including Adobe Systems Incorporated, Adobe Premiere Pro with MainConcept MPEG Pro, Apple Inc. Final Cut Pro Studio, Dayang Technology Development Inc. D3 Edit 3000 Series, Matrox Electronic Systems Ltd. Matrox Axio and Matrox RT.X2, MOG Solutions Toboggan MediaTransfer, Newauto Silicon Valley Video Technology CO.,LTD.’s Himaraya 1000/A1200/A1500 series, Sobey Digital Technology Co., Ltd. E7 and E2000, Sony Creative Software Vegas® Pro 8, and Thomson Grass Valley EDIUS™ Pro and Grass Valley EDIUS Broadcast.

The PMW-EX1 camcorder is expected to be available in November at a suggested price of less than $8,000.


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