Sony Super-Slo Mo system meets HD demands

After a successful trial with ABC Sports during Super Bowl XL, Sony Broadcast and Production Systems will roll out its HDC-3300 three-times speed HD Super Slo-Mo system later this year.

Rob Willox, director of content creation marketing for Sony Electronics’ Broadcast and Production Systems Division, told SVG that Sony is finalizing the product and hopes to have it available by the end of the summer in time for the 2006 NFL season. It’s also looking hard at making a few more units available for the World Cup in June. “It would be great to have a presence there,” says Willox.

Ken Michael, ABC VP, engineering, says having three-times playback definitely has some advantages for production teams and its something ESPN and ABC will continue using again once it becomes commercially available. “There were some prototype issues prior to the game but Sony was able to fix them,” he says.

One of those issues, says Willox, is heat but Sony expects the final production unit to be run at much cooler temperatures. Sony is also working with EVS, whose server system records the signals, on a better interface. “We also want to offer a choice or record rates and let an LCD display show the native frame rate,” he says.

HD Super Slo-Mo has been one of the “Holy Grails” in the production community and companies like Sony and Grass Valley are working hard at meeting the need (for those looking for really, really slo-mo a system from Tech Imaging in Boston can record up to 15,000 frames per second).

The new Sony camera will cost $270,000 and includes three 2/3-inch high-speed progressive CCDs that can record at 1920×1080/180i or 150i as well as 1280 x 720/180p or 150p. The new system also features several other in-camera functions, including flicker reduction, shading correction, white balance and auto iris detection.

The big challenge has been figuring out how to move the massive amount of data from the camera to the base station and then the EVS system. But Sony has figured it out.

“The raw image processing up front is sent back to the base station as a complete transmission packet,” says Willox. “That means we need a 10GB pipe between the camera and the base station.” The camera can be used with standard SMPTE fiber cable at runs exceeding 2,000 meters, depending on system configuration.