Separate Camera-Head and Camera Control Unit Enables More Flexibility in Diverse HD Shooting Environments
Sony is introducing a new full high-definition compact point-of-view (POV) camera and solid-state recorder combination, model HXR-MC1. Its unique design separates the camera head from the control unit/recorder, giving professional users more flexibility to capture shots in video applications where increased mobility is required beyond the use of traditional hand-held or shoulder-mount cameras, such as extreme sports, reality TV, documentaries, nature, wildlife and more.
The new camera achieves its balance of compact size, light weight and superb image quality through the use of solid-state recording onto Memory Stick PRO Duo media using AVCHD compression. The HXR-MC1 can record up to six hours of high-definition content onto a 16GB Memory Stick media.
The HXR-MC1’s video compression enables customers to enjoy longer recording time per GB, as well as a low cost of media per minute. This approach is consistent with Sony’s current line-up of MPEG professional camcorders, including the HDV, XDCAM HD optical and XDCAM EX series.
“Video technology providers have recognized MPEG long GOP as a professional standard,” said Tatsuro Kurachi, group marketing manager for professional video at Sony Electronics. “Cost per recording minute of media is critical to professionals, and this extremely compact camera gives professional customers more mobility and flexibility in capturing broadcast-quality images in certain challenging and niche video applications. Video crews often combine professional and consumer technologies to meet their diverse production requirements.”
Also, according to Kurachi, the HXR-MC1 camera/recorder is intended to fill a niche that Sony’s existing professional camcorder products have not fully addressed due to size and other factors.
Sony will also continue to support and reinforce the well-established HDV infrastructure by adding newer models including the HVR-Z5U hybrid camcorder and HVR-MRC1K Compact Flash media adapter.
The HXR-MC1 camcorder has full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution, and features Sony’s ClearVid CMOS Sensor system enhanced by Exmor technology, also used in Sony professional camcorders and consumer digital SLR cameras. With a 45-degree rotated pixel layout, this type of imager offers sufficient pixel surface area while maintaining high resolution. The Exmor technology features a unique column-parallel analog-to-digital conversion technique and dual noise canceling, resulting in high-quality digital signals with extremely low noise.
Even with a 10x optical zoom and a built-in microphone, the camera measures only 1 1/2 x 1 11/16 x 3 1/2 inches, allowing it to be attached to various devices such as helmets or cars. Screw holes on the bottom of the unit make mounting easier. It is also splash-resistant for use in the rain.
Recording and playback are performed within the HXR-MC1’s control unit, eliminating the need for external recording devices or facilities. The combination of Exmor and CMOS sensor technologies result in low power consumption and maximum battery operation of up to 405 minutes.
The control unit has a 2.7-inch (viewable area, measured diagonally) 210,000-pixel 16:9 LCD panel that uses ClearPhoto LCD plus technology. All menu settings can be done using the touch-screen LCD panel. For example, set-up during shooting or video operation can be carried out simply by touching the LCD panel. Users can shoot, play back video, change settings, and edit pictures by selecting a category from the “HOME MENU.”
The control unit is also equipped with a recording button, zoom lever, and manual control dial, so users can control the camera remotely while watching the images. External monitors or remote control devices are not needed.
Sony’s Memory Stick PRO Duo media is the optimum recording media for the compact HXR-MC1 control unit. In HD recording mode, video is recorded in AVCHD, which uses MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 compression, the same method used in Blu-ray Disc technology. If SD recording mode is selected, video is recorded in MPEG-2.
The HXR-MC1 compact POV camcorder is planned to be available in February, with a suggested list price to be announced.