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Sony Launches Pro HDV System

Sony this week introduced the professional version of its HDV production system, including camcorder and VTR.

Launched in 2003 by JVC, Canon, Sharp and Sony, the HDV format has been touted as a cost-effective alternative to high-end HDTV production gear, allowing users to record MPEG-2-based high-definition 720p or 1080i images on MiniDV cassettes. JVC has already released its HD10 HDV camcorder and Sony introduced the HDR-FX-1 HDV camcorder in September for the prosumer market. Several editing companies, including Pinnacle Systems and Canopus have launched editing systems to handle HDV as well.

The new Sony HDV system--which was previewed at NAB2004--includes the HVR-Z1U camcorder and the HVR-M10U VTR. The camcorder records HDV, DVCAM and DV at 60i, 50i, 30, 25 or 24 fps in either SD or HD. The camcorder uses three Super HAD, 1/3-inch 16:9 native CCDs and is equipped with a 12X Optical Zoom Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T Lens and Sony's 14 bit A/D with Digital Extended Processor (DXP).

The VTR can record and play back HDV 1080, DVCAM and DV SP as well as playback of video recorded in 720/30p. 1080i video can also be down-converted to SD output mode directly from the VTR or camcorder in digital or analog. The camcorder, priced at $4,900 and VTR, priced at $3,700 will be available in February 2005.

Sony also introduced a new DV tape, called "DigitalMaster," its recommended professional media for the new HDV system. The 63 minute cassettes uses Sony's AME II technology and its unique dual-active magnetic layers to offer greater packing density of magnetic gains, higher retentivity, higher output and lower noise, creating fewer dropouts and errors, according to the company.

Sony's HDV system is compatible with Adobe, Apple, Avid, Canopus, Pinnacle, Ulead and Sobey NLE software. Sony is also offering a special promotion to its Vegas 5 NLE software users; for a limited time, Vegas 5 customers can purchase CineForm's Connect HD software for $149.95, a savings of $349. Connect HD allows users to capture, edit and export HDV in the 1080i format.