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Sony PDW-F800 CineAlta Camcorder and PDW-F1600 Deck

New Features Include Under- and Over-Cranking, 24P Capability, Standard-definition Recording and Linear Editing

ony’s newest additions to the XDCAM HD422 Series of optical disc products deliver enhanced flexibility for motion picture and TV episodic production, and for ENG/EFP applications.

The new PDW-F800 CineAlta camcorder and PDW-F1600 deck expand the capabilities of the MPEG HD422 codec, with both offering a frame rate of 23.98P natively in 1080 mode and multi-format recording flexibility as standard — including standard-definition recording to support legacy formats (MPEG IMX, DVCAM™ and 4:2:0 HD content). They also provide multi-format (1080i/720P) recording, as well as HD/SD conversion and cross-conversion during playback between 1080i and 720P.

Users can record HD content (approximately 95 minutes at 50 Mbps) to the dual-layer 50GB version of Sony’s optical Professional Disc™ media, model PFD50DLA. The camera and deck can also handle content on PFD-23A single layer discs.

“The HD422 version of XDCAM technology responded to customers’ requests for features like 50Mbps recording and 2/3-inch CCDs,” said Wayne Zuchowski, group marketing manager for XDCAM products at Sony Electronics. “These newest products offer cinematographers, broadcasters and video professionals an expanded toolkit of digital production options.”

The PDW-F800 adds variable frame rate recording for slow and quick motion capabilities, also commonly known as “over-cranking” and “under-cranking.” This is a critical feature for cinematographers and directors of photography who need the flexibility of changing frame rates to create unique “looks” for their productions or to create special effects. The ability to shoot at slower or faster frame rates than playback delivers high-quality motion effects. These effects can be played back and viewed in the camera so any creative adjustments can be made immediately on site.

The camcorder uses three of Sony’s new 2/3-inch Power HAD™ FX progressive CCDs that can produce a resolution of 1920 by 1080 effective pixels, delivering high quality, four-channel 24-bit audio recording.

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An image inverter feature enables the camera to be used with cinema lens adaptors, and a variety of gamma settings includes HyperGamma and user-selectable gamma curves. A focus assist bar-graph display is visible on the camera’s viewfinder, and users can record proxy data to USB removable media to make transferring data easier and faster, especially in the field or on location between the camera and a PC or editing system, for example.

The new camcorder also features auto tracing white balance hold, output markers such as safety, aspect, and center on the HD-SDI output, slow shutter, interval recording, picture cache recording (up to 30 seconds), disc exchange cache and “shock-less” gain control. Option boards are available to enable pool-feed operation. The camcorder features a 2x digital extender to enhance zoom capabilities, enabling images to be doubled in size without any loss of image sensitivity. It also has slow shutter, 2x focus magnification, clean switching between the “live and playback” function, and a large, easy-to-view 3.5 inch (viewable area, measured diagonally) color LCD screen.

Sony PDW-F1600 Deck

The PDW-F1600 XDCAM HD422 recording deck builds upon the features of the PDW-HD1500 model and can be used for file-based recording in studio and field operations. A Gigabit Ethernet data drive can write any flash memory file format from any codec onto the optical disc media, and files can then be previewed using a web browser, transferred over IT networks and easily archived and accessed by multiple people simultaneously.

The new deck adds an insert/assemble editing capability that allows it to operate as a recorder in a linear editing system — just like a conventional VTR.

It delivers high-quality, industry-leading eight-channel, 24-bit audio recording, and has a dual optical pick-up for higher-speed file transfer. A 4.3-inch (viewable area measured diagonally) color LCD display and built-in speakers are incorporated, and the unit can be battery-operated or used with AC and DC power sources.

The PDW-F800 camcorder and PDW-F1600 deck are both expected to be available in June at suggested list prices of $41,990 for the PDW-F800 and $27,990 for the PDW-F1600.

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