Sony Intros True 24p HDV Camcorder

With the success of its HVR-Z1U and HVR-A1U camcorders, Sony has been one of the industry leaders in the professional push for the HDV format. However, if there's been one universal knock against the company's efforts, it's been the lack of a true 24p solution.

Sony has answered its critics with a new, progressive-scan HDV camcorder. Announced last week, and expected to ship by the end of the year, the new HVR-V1U includes a 3-CMOS imaging system with a 20x zoom lens. Its 24p signals are recorded as 60i using 2:3 pulldown, so the footage remains compatible with existing Sony HDV gear.

Hugo Gaggioni, chief technology officer, explained that the V1's new 1/4-inch ClearVid CMOS sensors can be compared favorably to 1/3-inch CCDs. The CMOS chips in the V1 use a new "diamond sampling" method that results in high resolution and sensitivity but low power consumption. Gaggioni said the diamond sampling method can't be applied to CCD technology.

The V1 weighs less than four pounds and features both a 3.5-inch wide LCD screen and a viewfinder. For audio, there are two XLR inputs as well as a supplied shotgun microphone. Accessories for the V1 include a wide-angle adaptor, collapsible LCD hood, and an LED light.

According to officials, Sony will continue to produce the A1 and Z1 camcorders.

Also new from Sony is the HVR-DR60, a 60 GB hard disk recorder that works with the V1 as well as other Sony HDV and DV camcorders. The lightweight DR60 offers about 4.5 hours of record time and provides a 14-second buffer memory.

There are three recording modes available. Synchro, compatible with the V1 and Z1, lets you simultaneously record to HDD and tape with synchronized time code. Follow mode, for use with the A1 (and DSR-PD170 DVCAM camcorder) almost synchronizes the time code between tape and HDD (within about two seconds). The lack of synchronization is a result of using a camcorder without an external record control function. Finally, self mode allows the DR60 to record by itself, without a camcorder attached.

The DR60 integrates particularly well with the V1. You can check its connection status, recording format, recording remain time, battery remain time, and more from the V1's LCD screen. The unit can be mounted on the top of the V1, or it can be mounted on the optional VCT-IBP mounting bracket on the rear of the camcorder.

Sony also announced the HVR-1500, a professional HDV VTR. Sony officials consider the deck to be a "bridge" between HDV and HDCAM. It features HD-SDI output, can record and play HDV, DVCAM, and DV (it can also play DVCPRO footage), and is expected to ship early next year.

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