Sony’s Big (NAB Show) Reveal – Part II

March 15, 2011

Working under the banner of “3D from the lens to the living room,” Sony will be bringing a comprehensive 3D production/post solution to the upcoming NAB Show in Las Vegas (April 9-11).

During the company’s recent  demo for U.S. trade press at their R&D-heavy Atsugi Technology Center located outside Tokyo, Sony executive project managers touted a number of interesting offerings.

First up were three new camera offerings: the twin-lens XDCAM EX 3D Shoulder Camcorder (designed for studio and doc shooting), compact NXCAM Handy Camcorder (intended for wedding and low-cost content creation; available details here; photo unavailable until March 23) and a side-by-side twin-cam rig showcasing the ease with which the 3D-link enabled PMW-F3 can be used in stereo shoots (primarily feature film and high-end television, alongside similar setups using the F35 or F23):

Sony 3D F3 3D Rig 3

Sony 3D F3 3D Rig 1

The 3D Shoulder Camcorder (below; no further ID available at this time) follows a tried-and-true ENG camcorder design, but with one major difference:

Sony 3D Shoulder Cam 3

As the twin-lens setup prevents tradition focus and iris control, a three-part layered dial system has been built into the left side of the unit, controlling focus, iris and lens convergence:

Sony 3D Shoulder Cam 1

Another stereo setup on display was a basic 3D rig utilizing Sony’s HDC-P1 box cameras — featuring 2/3" CCDs and a slim, compact design with HDC imager — an Element Technica over/under rig and an HDVF-EL70 OLED viewfinder:

Sony ET Rig 2

The two cameras were linked using an HDFA-200 Fiber adapter, which allows for dual camera control via a single remote. The OLED viewfinder, while not 3D, offered a stunning, crisp image.

Sony ET Rig

The feed from the setup was being run into a multi-image processor dubbed the MPE-200, which offers real-time processing, and 3D Box, an application that can electronically adjust camera signals and 3D alignment (including image shift, zoom, camera position error, flip/flop, tilt, rotation, toe-in/out) as well as color correction between signals, as the color shift between the two camera lenses becomes critical in 3D.

Sony 3D Box 3

Sony 3D Box

The key importance of 3D Box is that it offers a variety of critical adjustments that would otherwise have had to be done mechanically, which can eat up production time and have previously kept mirror and side-by-side rigs with one foot in the “science experiment” zone.

You can read Part I of this report here.

-- David E. Williams, Digital Video

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