Sony elevates professional video production with first solid-state Compact Camcorder

Sony conducted
its first full-scale demonstration of a new solid-state compact camcorder for
professional video production.

The new PMW-EX1
model expands Sony’s XDCAM line-up of high-definition tapeless production and
acquisition systems, which also includes optical disc-based camcorders and
decks. The camcorder’s distinction is that it records and stores content to ExpressCard
high-speed media, offering greater workflow flexibility with selectable bit
rates in addition to an extensive list of editing and effects capabilities.

“The XDCAM
EX series – with its full HD picture quality and system flexibility – is a
powerful tool for boosting quality and efficiency in an array of HD production applications,”
said Bob Ott, vice president of optical and network systems for Sony
Electronics. “It’s also compatible with a broad range of non-linear editing
systems.

“Combined with the ability to capture and
transfer footage using ExpressCard technology, the new standard of PC card
interface, I believe this new camera will prove to be a very reliable and
flexible compact camcorder for HD video production.”

The camera
uses Sony’s newly developed SxS PRO solid-state memory as its recording medium.
The SxS memory card, which currently delivers up to 800 Mbps of high-speed data
transfer, enables non-linear capabilities like instant random access and
file-based operation. Equipped with two SxS memory card slots, the camcorder can
record up to 100 minutes of high-quality HD footage at 35Mbps, or 140 minutes
at 25Mbps using two 16-GB SxS memory cards.

The
imaging devices used in the camcorder are three newly designed 1/2-inch type
Exmor CMOS sensors, each with an effective pixel count of 1920 x 1080. This
1/2-inch type image sensor allows the camcorder to provide an extremely high
sensitivity of F10, a signal-to-noise ratio of 54 dB, and horizontal resolution
of 1000 television lines.

“This
large 1/2-inch type image sensor can capture images with a shallower depth of
field than other hand held camcorders’ smaller-size image sensors, allowing for
more creative freedom of expression,” Ott said, adding that the low-light
capabilities of this new sensor will be of particular interest to those
professionals who need to capture footage in challenging lighting applications.

The
camcorder is switchable between 1080p, 1080i and 720p, with multiple frame
recording capabilities of 59.94i, 50i, 29.97P, 25P and native 23.98P.

It offers a
choice of bit rates — either 35 Mb/s (high-quality mode) or 25 Mb/s (standard-play
mode) – depending on the desired picture quality and recording time.

The HQ
mode supports both 1920 x 1080 and 1280 x 720 resolutions.

The SP
mode supports 1440 x 1080 resolution at 25 Mb/s, which provides compatibility
with HDV 1080i products.
As a result, footage
recorded in the SP mode can be seamlessly integrated into HDV-compatible
editing systems by connecting the camcorder through an i.LINK (IEEE-1394)
digital interface.

The
PMW-EX1 camcorder is equipped with a high-quality, high-definition Fujinon 14x
zoom lens. According to Ott, this lens was specifically designed to work with
this camcorder and to deliver optimum picture performance and unprecedented
functionality.
The lens offers a wide
angle of view of 5.8 mm (equivalent to 31.4 mm on a 35 mm lens), and many
convenient features for diverse shooting situations.

The new camcorder
offers a “Slow and Quick Motion” capability — also commonly known as
“overcranking” and “under-cranking” in the traditional film world — for
creating unique “looks” or special effects of slow and fast motion. Other
creative capabilities include Slow Shutter, Interval Recording, a Picture
Profile feature, and a histogram indicator, as well a 3.5-inch color LCD screen
(viewable area, measured diagonally).

To
increase interoperability, a range of non-linear editing manufacturers are
developing compatible interfaces, including Adobe Systems Incorporated, Adobe
Premiere Pro with MainConcept MPEG Pro, Apple Inc. Final Cut Pro Studio, Dayang
Technology Development Inc. D3 Edit 3000 Series, Matrox Electronic Systems Ltd.
Matrox Axio and Matrox RT.X2, MOG Solutions Toboggan MediaTransfer, Newauto
Silicon Valley Video Technology CO., LTD.’s Himaraya 1000/A1200/A1500 series, Sobey
Digital Technology Co., Ltd. E7 and E2000, Sony Creative Software Vegas Pro 8,
and Thomson Grass Valley EDIUS Pro and Grass Valley EDIUS Broadcast.

The PMW-EX1
camcorder is expected to be available in November at a suggested price of less
than $8,000.