The HD News Letter
Summer  2003

Sony has produced their first 4:4:4 HD camera.  The model number is HDCF950.  It was shown at NAB this year, from what we understand.  It has generated quite a bit of interest in the 24p to film world. Sony states; "The HDCF950 provides full-bandwidth digital 4:4:4 high-definition Red, Green, and Blue signal processing and output capability, offering superb picture quality for today's digital motion picture productions. These full-bandwidth R, G and B signals can be directly connected to a recording system, or then can be digitally  transmitted to the new HDCUF950 camera control unit via a single optical fiber cable. Other innovative features include a significantly extended dynamic range (over previous models), a new 'long term exposure' function, and an innovative gamma-curve editing capability, allowing quick set up of an optimized gamma curve on a PC and subsequent loading of this data to the camera via a MemoryStickTM media card. The HDCF950 connects with the new SRW5000 HD digital videocassette recorder and the SRW1 portable recorder. You can also connect the HDCF950 to standard HDCam equipment such as the HDWF500. " (The SRW1 is not available yet from what we understand).   At this time, (around June 9th, 2003), George Lucas and his film making crew are using 5 HDCF950 cameras, from Plus 8 Digital , to finish the next Star Wars film.  It should be interesting to hear their comments when they finish.  As soon as we find out more about this new camera, we will write about it here.
HDC950 information: Sony has a "split cam"  adapter for the HDC950 and HDCF950 camera. This allows the camera head to be put in much smaller spaces than before, and still give you a true HD image. It can be used in helicopter gimbal systems. Gyron Systems and FLIR Systems are designing gimbal camera support systems for this camera/OHB combination. The camera head can also be put on goal posts, or basket ball basket to get a nice shot of the action without having to mount an entire camera. Often it is used on the end of a jib system for HD to Film productions. Contact your local Sony Direct Sales Rep. for more information on this product. (George Lucas used 5 of these for Star Wars: Attack Of the Clones, that was released a while back.)
FLASH: Clairmont Camera in Hollywood is an owner and renter of HDWF900 cameras. They  now have their own modifications to the front and handle area of the HDWF900 to better support HD lenses.   They are now  the second film camera company to rent the HDWF900 camcorder with film style lenses. You can also rent your MovieCam or Arriflex 35mm camera from them.
We did get a chance to see the AJ-HDC20A Panasonic 2/3" FIT 3-CCD DVCPRO HD Camcorder. it was smaller than the Sony HDW700A camera and about the same size as the HDW750 or HDW730 1080i camcorders. The main difference is that the AJ-HDC20A uses the DVCPRO HD format, not the Sony HDCAM format. We were not actually able to see the HD picture from the camera, but we did see a down converted picture on a NTSC monitor and it looked fine to us. Unfortunately we have not heard anything about the format at this time, so we have no information about how robust this recording format is nor how the actual picture looks. It's hard to compare HD pictures without a good HD monitor.  As soon as we have more information, we will post it here!
Panasonic has another DVCPRO HD camera recorder, the AJ-HDC27V Multi-Frame Rate HD Cinema Camera. It is designed to support  thirty-three individual frame rates: 4-fps to 33-fps in single steps increments, then 36, 40, and 60-fps.  The main difference between this and the Sony HDWF900 camera is that this is a native 720p camcorder. It can be used for 60-fps or the film-like 24-fps acquisition.  But may not have exactly the same HD information as a native1080i camera.  At the moment we have not heard about any major productions using this unit. If we find out any more about this unit, we will tell you here. If we find it is being used for production, we will tell you what production and where you can see it here also. It might be interesting to compare it to a 1080i system.
Note: There  is a software upgrade for the HDWF900 from Sony to bring your '/2' camera current.  IF v1.42, SY v1.19 and SV v1.06,  You may want to contact Sony regarding upgrading the software in your camera. Note: There are some of the older, original cameras that may need more than just the software upgrade. Your Sony sales rep. or the service center will know more about this!. Call Sony for more about this!
If you are looking for an inexpensive, (relatively speaking), HD 1080i camcorder, the HDW750 FIT and the HDW730 IT camcorders from Sony may be the way to go. The are about the size of the SX series camcorders, and are both 1080i 60/59.9 cameras only. No different frame rates. But they provide the same features as the original HDW700/700A plus a few extras, such as built in HD SDI outputs, and optional frame cache. Check them out if you are looking in to HD productions for the television industry. Remember that many of the new Sony playback decks will play back all the formats, and with some options convert them from one format to another. This makes HD acquisition the way to go!
Sony announces their new high-definition IT CCD image sensors. The new HDW-730HDCAM® camcorder and HDC-930 (HD) studio camera will both use the new sensors.  Read the news release about these new products.
Flash:  The HDWF900 "slash 3 - /3" upgrade kit is now available from Sony Sales.  It increases the Dynamic Range from 300 ->1 to 500 ->1.  The Dynamic Range is also switchable, so you can match cameras that haven't been upgraded.  The kit includes a IF software upgrade to v 2.01, which gives you more scene files, and several other enhancements. This software version can only be used for this, "/3,"  upgrade.  It will not work with the older, non upgraded cameras.
This is all the news that we have at this time!  As soon as we have more current, interesting HD information it will be posted here!
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