Sony is introducing an entry-level professional HDV camcorder with a shoulder-mount design, bringing the benefits of HD production to a wider range of users. The new HVR-HD1000U model is targeted toward wedding videographers, freelancers, and educational video creators, offering them more versatility and more opportunities for generating business with a moderately priced camera.
"Our professional HDV camcorders are designed to offer customers high-definition shooting capability, along with maximum revenue-generating opportunities at a modest investment," said Bob Ott, vice president of marketing for professional video products at Sony Electronics. "With its shoulder-mount design, this new camera brings affordable HD capabilities to a broader range of pro shooters."
The HVR-HD1000U model supports both the HDV and the standard-definition DV formats. In DV mode, the unit can work exclusively as a DV camcorder, allowing users to maintain their current DV workflow without any disruptions. When needed, the camcorder can be instantly switched to high-definition mode.
The HDV format allows users to shoot approximately 60 minutes of HD video on a 6mm cassette tape. Sony's highest-quality 6mm videotape, DigitalMaster, is the recommended professional media for HDV applications. These 63-minute cassettes (model PHDVM63DM) use Sony's AME (Advanced Metal Evaporated) II technology and features dual-active magnetic layers.
The new camcorder also has several down-conversion modes that output converted standard-definition signals to users' current SD production systems, including displays and DV non-linear editing systems, while retaining an HD master tape for future use.
The camcorder adapts to a wide range of shooting situations and features a high-end Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonner T* 10x optical zoom lens to help reduce reflection. The Super SteadyShot (optical) feature of the unit is an image stabilizer using an active optical lens method that helps avoid any deterioration in image quality. The lens itself shifts vertically and horizontally to compensate for the polarized light axis in real-time.
The HVR-HD1000U camcorder uses Sony's 1/2.9-inch ClearVid CMOS sensor system with its unique pixel layout rotated 45 degrees to provide higher resolution and sensitivity.
The camcorder's photo creation functions can produce photo data for DVD jacket designs, website content, news, photo albums and other applications.
Users can capture up to 6.1 mega-pixel still images in Photo mode. In addition, it can capture up to 4.6 mega-pixel still images even while HD video is being recorded. For added flexibility, the new camera can capture still images from any moment of HDV recording in print-ready quality of up to 1.2 mega-pixels.
The camcorder also has a new configuration with an LCD monitor and an electronic view finder (EVF). The LCD monitor is in front of the camera operator when the camcorder is shoulder-mounted, and it is attached to the EVF level. This unique layout enables traditional EVF monitoring, as well as LCD monitoring for the operator even while the camcorder is held on the shoulder.
"The 180-degree tilt mechanism allows for LCD monitoring when the camcorder is held in a high- or low-angle position," Ott said. "The 360-degree swivel mechanism will allow LCD monitoring from the front, right or even left of the camcorder so that a reporter or a director can monitor what is being captured by the camcorder."
The "Smooth Slow Rec" function allows users to perform slow-motion playback by capturing images at four times faster than the normal field rate (240 fields/s). In this mode, quad-speed images are captured for three seconds, stored in the camcorder's built-in buffer memory, and then recorded to tape (in either the HDV, DVCAM, or DV formats) as slow-motion pictures lasting 12 seconds. When using this function, Ott said the resolution of the camera image is decreased.
The Super NightShot function of the new model uses a built-in infrared light emitter to record objects in zero lux light levels and to allow night-time monitoring and surveillance. A multi-function assignable lens ring is located on the lens unit, and any one of the following functions can be assigned to the ring for easy adjustment: focus (default), zoom, brightness, shutter, auto exposure shift and white balance shift.
Other features include up to 10 hours operation using an optional NP-F970 battery, a range of digital I/O (HDMI, i.LINK®, USB, Memory Stick Duo slot), supplied external stereo microphone (ECM-PS1), and a multi-language menu.
The HVR-HD1000U camcorder is planned to be available in December, at a suggested list price of less than $1,900.