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Sony Rolls out XDCAM HD

Sony this week unveiled its new Sony XDCAM HD system including two new camcorders and two decks.

Announced at NAB20005 and demo-ed at IBC last September, XDCAM HD is the next generation of Sony's XDCAM, which was launched in 2004 and is based on the Blu-ray disc standard.

The same Professional Disc media used in the standard definition version of XDCAM is also compatible with the new HD version. Up to two hours of HD content can be recorded onto discs. Sony will brand XDCAM HD under its CineAlta professional production name.

The two XDCAM HD camcorders--models PDW-F330 and PDW-F350--both offer true 24P recording in SD or HD, interval recording and slow shutter. The PDW-350 offers true variable frame rate recording at a rate range of frame rates from four frames per second to 60 fps in one frame increments. This is also commonly referred to as "over-cranking" and "under-cranking" or "slow-motion/fast-motion" functionality.

"This is a much-desired and often critical feature for cinematographers and directors of photography who need the flexibility of changing frame rates to create unique 'looks' for their productions or to create special effects," said Bob Ott, vice president of optical and network systems for Sony.

The XDCAM HD products can record 1080i video in 25, 35 and 18 Mbps and can record HD content using an HD MPEG-2 Long GOP video compression codec. The camcorders use three half-inch CCD 1.5 megapixel imagers with lenses from Canon and Fujinon.

The PDW-F70 and PDW-F36 decks up-convert XDCAM standard definition content recorded in the DVCAM format to 1080i HD at output and all XDCAM camcorders and decks can down-convert HD material to standard definition in anamorphic, letterboxed or 4:3.