Hitachi shows 6Gb/s super Slo-Mo camera at NAB

Hitachi has introduced what is calling the first 6Gb/s triple-speed super slo-motion camera system at the 2013 NAB Show.

In booth C4309, Hitachi is showcasing the new 16-bit SK-HD1500 1080/6G high-speed HD production camera. Developed for super-slo-motion applications and capable of 3X speed 1080-line HD operation, the camera is being billed as the first 6Gb/s, fully digital optical transmission system in an HDTV production camera.

The camera’s use of 6Gb/s data transmission contrasts with competitive systems, which all use 10Gb/s transmission. Hitachi’s implementation of 6Gb/s transmission technology significantly extends the maximum cable length possible between camera head and control unit, by around 13,200ft.

Paddy Roache, director and general manager of Hitachi in Europe, said the new 3X high-speed HDTV production camera was demonstrated while televising the live action at the Australian Open Tennis Tournament in Melbourne in January.

At the Melbourne-based event, Gearhouse Broadcast exclusively used Hitachi HD cameras to televise the sporting action. The company provided broadcast services for host broadcaster Channel 7 in Australia, as well as support to international broadcasters, ESPN, the Tennis Channel and Tennis Australia.

In Melbourne, Gearhouse Broadcast installed 55 Hitachi SK-HD1200 high-end multi-format 1080p/3G production cameras, as well as seven channels of Hitachi’s new SK-HD 1500 HD slo-mo system camera. The cameras provided coverage of the event’s seven main show courts at Melbourne Park, split between the Rod Laver Arena and the newer Hisense Arena.

“Picture noise with the SK-HD 1500 was very low — even at 3dB gain, the picture quality was totally acceptable,” said Kevin Moorhouse, chief operating officer at Gearhouse Broadcast. “The camera intercuts very well into coverage with standard-speed SK-HD 1200 channels.

The SK-HD1500 represents Hitachi’s most accurate transport available for the 1080-line 150/180 images from the camera head to the camera control unit. All command audio and video signals to and from the camera are digitally transmitted hence.

Hitachi reports that in developing this camera, it has benefited from extensive beta testing in a range of live production environments at recent major sporting and cultural events. The company reports that users highlight superior HD image resolution through the camera’s use of 16-bit digital signal processing, good signal to noise (-58dB), and excellent depth of modulation (60% at 27.5MHz) as being key features of the SK-HD1500.

Each part of the Hitachi SK-HD1500 camera system has its own DSP processor. Different DSP ICs are used independently for the HDTV camera head processing, the transmission system and the Camera Control Unit (CCU) processing. The new, power-efficient Digital Signal Processor LSI’s are designed under the 40nm rule with dynamic processing capability in excess of 38-bits per pixel, per RGB channel.

Hitachi said its DSP processors are designed to manage the higher bandwidth of progressive-readout HDTV sensors. The increased dynamic headroom of the SK-HD1500 allows faithful reproduction of even the most contrasting images. An outstanding overall signal-to-noise ratio is achieved by using Hitachi’s proprietary low-noise circuit technology without needing to resort to noise filtering methods. Even at high gain, clear images are obtained with little noise.