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Old September 6th, 2005, 07:55 PM   #1
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PDW-F330 Sony XDCAM HD Camcorder

Sony debuts XDCAM HD format

Norwegian Sony has completed its line-up of HD formats with the launch of XDCAM HD, which sits between its HDV and HDCAM lines and offers users picture quality options through three bit rates, writes George Jarrett

Behind the three products on the stand at the upcoming IBC -- the PDW-F330 camcorder and PDW-F30 and F70 decks -- is an MPEG-2 Long GOP recording structure and some cute design thinking. This includes the ability to mix the three bit rates on a single disc.

"From pricing, quality and feature set perspectives we are positioning XDCAM HD between HDCAM and HDV," said Sony PE senior marketing manager, Olivier Bovis. "It offers you the bit rates of 18, 25 and 35 Mbps, the 25Mbps being constant to give users a bridge to HDV, and the other two rates being 'variable'. The 18 Mbps allows for a recording time of two hours, and the other two allow for 90 and 60 minutes."

The bridge to HDV via i-link will prove useful in some applications but, as Bovis points out, there are significant audio differences: HDV has two compressed audio channels to XDCAM HD's four uncompressed audio channels. Apart from the Long GOP element and the bit rates, the featureset is common to XDCAM as we know it, which means users will be able to use proxies in third party environments just as before.

Most NLE manufacturers will want to put MPEG-2 Long GOP codecs into their platforms, but most have already adopted HDV anyway. Bovis reckons that over two dozen vendors have had sample HD files and the format specs, and first implementations at the show (XDCAM proxy on the editing timeline) include the Avid Liquid editor.

The three products will not ship until NAB time next year. The camcorder, the first half-inch CCD HD camera available, looks like the existing XDCAM equivalent, but for the different position of the LCD screen and the option to use an auto focus lens. It records both DV and HD, so will be promoted as a 'bridging' product.

The F30 deck is an entry-level unit with i-link interface that Sony expects to sell into the NLE sector. The F70 will have HD-SDI, plus features like slow motion. This will be the merging point with HDCAM.

Signs of what can come with XDCAM HD can be seen on the SD format with 1.4 software. Apart from consumer memory for proxy recording (using memory sticks), there is live proxy streaming enabled by the IP address inside the camera. Data can be grabbed remotely, but Bovis emphasises the frailty of WiFi in broadcast applications.

"It is short range, there are bandwidth issues, and you can lose the signal," he says. "It is not a Sony thing, just that WiFi is not up to television work."
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Old September 6th, 2005, 08:03 PM   #2
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18 and 35 Mbps are VBR, 25 Mbps is CBR (it's just HDV2).
18 and 35 Mbps will have 4 PCM (uncompressed) audio channels.
25 Mbps, as it's HDV2 will only have 2 384 Kbps MP2 audio channels.

Also the camcorder seems to only record interlaced HD... no 720p (or 1080p) :(

I guess JVC with ProHD EX (36 Mbps 720p60) can do better... especially if ProHD EX can also do 4:2:2 at 50 Mpbs (for both 720p50/60 and 1080p24/25/30)...
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Old September 7th, 2005, 12:48 AM   #3
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thanks so much for the info on this new Sony camera. very interesting info.
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Old September 7th, 2005, 09:54 AM   #4
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Can we verify this camera? Also, see this thread about this particular topic:


My Final Cut Pro X blog
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Old April 1st, 2006, 11:46 AM   #5
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update to the 330 and 350 info

these cameras actually shoot 1080 24p just to update this thread... I am looking into them for a film im in very pre-pre-pre-production in... haha. the cameras look like a mid level f900 it does everything you want it to do spec wise. and the price is amazing for just the cam without lens or VF its around $16,000 that beats the sh*t out of $90,000 for the only other camera to do real 1080 24p in the pro level (yes im not including the hdv cameras in this, they are not at the pro level.)
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