Sony Unveils Professional HDV Camcorder

Reprinted from a Sony press release:

Sony is expanding its line of professional video options with the introduction of a complete high-definition video production system. The new HVR-Z1U camcorder and HVR-M10U VTR form the core of an entry-level HD acquisition and playback solution, designed to provide video professionals with a flexible and affordable migration from standard definition infrastructures to the rapidly expanding world of HD.

“High definition capabilities are becoming a necessity rather than an option at every level of the production chain,” said Bob Ott, vice president of professional audio and video products in Sony Electronics’ Broadcast and Production Systems Division. “But not everyone is ready to adapt at the same pace, for any number of reasons. The key to our HDV system is versatility and backwards compatibility with existing DVCAM standard definition equipment. Users can upgrade from SD to HD all at once, or they can do it when it makes the most sense for their operations and budgets.”

The HVR-Z1U HDV 1080 camcorder can record HDV, DVCAM and DV images at 60i, 50i, 30, 25 or 24 frames per second, in either SD or HD. This switchable 60/50 capability allows videographers to use just one camcorder to meet an array of client needs.

The new camcorder uses three Super HAD, 1/3-inch, 16:9 native CCDs. Combined with a 12X Optical Zoom Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* Lens and Sony’s new 14 bit A/D with Digital Extended Processor (DXP), the HVR-Z1U’s advanced design allows more light to reach each pixel in the imager, improving the signal-to-noise ratio and sensitivity.

In addition to high-quality image capabilities, the HVR-Z1U includes a complete inventory of features and capabilities that make the camcorder a truly professional production tool. Key features include:

  • CineFrame and CinemaTone Gamma functions for “cinema like” recordings (25F/30F/24F)
  • Hyper Gain
  • Manual Iris Control w/24 steps
  • SMPTE timecode with user presets
  • Color Correction
  • Built-in HD to SD down conversion playback
  • Balanced Audio XLR input connectors (x2) w/Selectable Phantom Power
  • Simultaneous use of viewfinder and LCD display (selectable)

    The HVR-M10U model is a lightweight, compact HDV 1080 VTR capable of record and play back of HDV 1080, DVCAM, and DV SP, as well as playback of video recorded in 720/30P. In addition to allowing backward compatibility to the standard definition DV world, the 1080 recorded image can also be down-converted to SD output mode directly from the VTR or camcorder in the digital or analog domain.

    Professional Media Optimized for HDV Applications
    Designed in conjunction with the new camcorder and VTR is Sony’s recommended professional media for HDV applications, DigitalMaster videotape. These 63-minute cassettes use Sony’s AME II Technology and its unique dual-active magnetic layers. By improving on an already successful product, the new AME II manufacturing process employs Hyper Evaticle IV magnetic grains, improved lubricants, and a refined Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) layer. DigitalMaster exhibits greater packing density of magnetic grains, higher retentivity, higher output and lower noise. The result is a more robust tape with fewer dropouts and errors.

    A critical aspect of any professional video production is compatibility with an array of non-linear editing solutions. Sony’s HDV production system can achieve interoperability with editing software from Adobe, Apple, Avid, Canopus, Pinnacle, Ulead, and Sobey, as well as Sony’s own Vegas 5 software, which can fully handle 1080 HDV signals.

    “For Sony, a professional line of HDV solutions is much more than a new product introduction,” said Ott. “It’s about introducing a completely new way of recording, editing, and displaying the highest-quality images possible. Video professionals have a unique set of needs, so it makes sense they should have a unique set of tools at their disposal. Sony offers all the keys to an HDV production workflow with acquisition, a VTR, NLE software and the finest displays in our BVM and LUMA Series of LCD monitors.”

    The HVR-Z1U and the HVR-M10U are planned to be available in February, for about $4,900 and $3,700, respectively.

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