Sony Continues the Evolution of XDCAM Tapeless Acquisition Technology
Sony is continuing the evolution of its XDCAM line of tapeless acquisition by unveiling new technologies at NAB. These include recording to ExpressCard high-speed flash media, as well as 50 Mbps 4:2:2 optical disc recording. Sony is also unveiling new optical-disc based XDCAM products, including the PDW-F355 camcorder, PDW-F75 deck, and the PDW-U1 external drive. These models join the growing family of XDCAM products.
Since its introduction, 21,000 XDCAM units have been delivered worldwide. Future versions of the XDCAM system are planned to include a camcorder and deck with multi-format 2/3-inch HD progressive CCDs (1920 by 1080), recording bit-rate of 50 Mbps, 1080 and 720 native recording and eight channels of audio. The camcorder, deck and drive will support both single- and dual-layer versions of Sony's Professional Disc media for the XDCAM system, which enables recording up to approximately 100 minutes at 50Mbps HD 4:2:2.
"These new MPEG-based 4:2:2 products, including a camcorder and companion deck, will support the same media, the same proxy A/V, the same metadata, and the same file format as existing XDCAM gear," said Bob Ott, vice president of optical and networked systems for Sony Electronics.
The planned XDCAM EX unit will expand upon Sony's XDCAM line of tapeless acquisition systems, using flash memory technology: the SxS memory card specification, with high-speed transfer technology compliant to the ExpressCard industry standard. "Sony will be able to adopt an appropriate technology for each application according to the needs of our customers," Ott said.
According to Ott, ExpressCard's higher speed and smaller form factor will make Sony's evolution to flash media a natural progression and open the door to a broader range of applications for tapeless production. "The XDCAM EX camcorder will make the most sense in small production systems, where the shooter and editor is often the same person," Ott said. "In this type of production environment, you can easily control the flash media as it cycles between shooting and feeding the NLE." The planned camcorder is based on MPEG-2 compression technology with three, ½-inch imagers. It will be switchable between 1080/60i and 720/60P, and be capable of recording 1080/50i/30P/25P/24P and 720/50P. The camera will also have slow and quick motion functionality. The camera will feature two card slots, and users will be able to record approximately 120 minutes of content on two16 GB cards.
To increase interoperability with this new XDCAM EX technology, a range of nonlinear editing manufacturers are developing compatible interfaces, including Adobe, Apple, Canopus, Dayang, Main Concept, New Auto, Sobey, and Sony Creative Software's Vegas, in addition to Sony's XPRI NS. "Our XDCAM series of products will continue to evolve to meet the needs of the industry and continue to offer flexible, more capable and more affordable production systems," Ott said.