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NAB Preview Cameras

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Digital cameras and acquisition with solid-state recording are starting to gain real traction.One of the mostly highly anticipated cameras at the show is a non-working prototype from Red Digital Cinema Camera, a company that has generated a lot of buzz, and made extravagant claims about a full-featured, lightweight, inexpensive camera, that can acquire uncompressed 4:4:4 or 4:2:2—4K, 2K, 1080P and 720P, all at variable frame rates from 1–60 fps. The company claims it has developed a 35mm image sensor called “Mysterium” along with an interchangeable lens mount that will enable cinematographers to use standard cine-style PL-mount lenses, or a new line of proprietary “Red” lenses.They also claim to have their developed their own “Red” codec and flash recording system, or users can record to Blu-Ray DVD, hard drives or tape decks like HDCAM-SR via dual link HD-SDI.Going into NAB the company was playing its cards close to its chest and could not be reached for comment. However, company president Jim Jannard posted a message online saying, “I will also say now that we expect to have a non-functional machined or liquid laser prototype at NAB. That will be easier to do than getting a good spot in the Convention Center.”One of the big attractions at the Thomson Grass Valley booth this year is its new Infinity Series camcorder. The lightweight camera supports multiple HD and SD formats and records to new REV PRO drives or Compact Flash memory—essentially a removable hard drive, developed by Iomega. In terms of connectivity, the camera has three USB 2.0 connectors (two hosts and one device), one FireWire connector, an HDMI display connector as well as Gigabit ethernet.It supports MPEG-2, DV25 or the new JPEG 2000 compression format. Applications include newsgathering, documentaries, magazine shows, and independent videography.With the recent launch of its HVX200—a camcorder that offers multiple HD and SD formats, multiple recording modes and variable frames rates recorded to P2 solid-state memory cards—Panasonic plans to upgrade its P2 drives, with the introduction of its AJ-PCD20, a new five-slot P2 internal/external drive that will enable users to mount five 8 GB P2 cards simultaneously (containing up to 160 minutes of recordings in DVCPRO, 80 minutes in DVCPRO50 and 40 minutes in DVCPRO HD). The P2 drive is designed for high-speed transfer of 25Mbps DVCPRO or 50Mbps DVCPRO50 video into nonlinear editing systems and servers.The company will also be showing a new shoulder mount P2-based HD/SD camcorder called the AJ-HPC2000. Scheduled to ship in the fourth quarter of 2006, the HPC2000 is equipped with three HD resolution 2/3” CCDs with 14-bit A/D processing. It records in 720P, 1080i HD or 480i formats onto five P2 cards.Sony will introduce a new version of its popular HDW-F900 24P camcorder. The new model, the HDW-F900R, is designed as an environmentally friendly replacement for its predecessor, entirely free of lead solder.The new camcorder has a more compact and lighter chassis, HD-SDI outputs and new accessory boards for slow shutter, image inversion and down conversion with 3:2 pull-down. It has three 2.2 megapixel CCDs.“The goal was to refine the camera, making it lighter while offering the modern HD interfaces that are now common to the production community but were not available at the inception of the CineAlta line,” says Rob Willox, director of content creation for Sony Electronics’ Broadcast and Production Systems Division.ARRI will feature the Arriflex D-20 with its new ARRI FlashMag 112, a solid-state recording device that can be mounted on the D-20 for cable-free operation. The D-20 is a film-style digital camera which has an optical viewfinder and accepts all 35mm format lenses. It is available for rent worldwide from ARRI rentals and rental partners.– Scott Lehane

Written by Scott Lehane

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