More on Sony HDCAM SR

Here’s additional information as a follow-up to Seth’s article on the Sony Roadmap, from Sony:

PARK RIDGE, N.J., Dec. 9, 2009 – Sony Electronics is unveiling the next generation of its HDCAM SR™ production technology, with new products and planned upgrades ranging from acquisition and storage to archive and production efficiency.

The announcements include the new SRW-9000 HDCAM SR camcorder, available this month with a “future-proof” upgrade path to 35mm imaging and file-based production; the planned delivery of new SR memory solid-state media; and more cost-effective BCT-SR series tape pricing.

“HDCAM SR technology now meets the current and future needs of high-end cinematic and TV broadcast production,” said Rob Willox, director of Sony Electronics’ content creation group. “SR is already file-based, and can support data recording in resolutions up to 4K as DPX today. The benefits of non-linear acquisition are now a production requirement. The addition of solid-state media enhances the format’s inherent file-based design and brings SR’s proven quality to an even wider audience.

The new SRW-9000 camcorder combines the SR format’s image quality with the versatility of a one-piece camcorder. The full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution camcorder uses 2/3-inch CCDs with a 14-bit A/D converter and digital signal processing to capture up to 1080/60P images with a high level of detail.

Recognizing the market’s requirement for a 35mm “B” camera complement to its high-end F35, Sony is unveiling an optional upgrade path for the SRW-9000 to a 35mm imager and PL mount to increase the camcorder’s flexibility and protect a user’s ownership investment.

Open Workflow with MXF and SR Lite

The increase in HD programming has increased the demand for selectable video bit rates, multiple frame rates, greater format flexibility and workflow optimization.  Across the SR range, Sony can deliver up to 1080/60P and 50P recording at a 880 Mb/s data rate, and that range also now includes a next-generation file transfer and storage technology.

Sony is announcing the latest in HDCAM SR compression, “SR Lite,” which is a 220Mbps data rate codec based on the open MPEG-4 SStP (Simple Studio Profile) and will be supported as an MXF wrapped file, to help ensure high picture quality and enabling almost real time exchange over a GB Ethernet connection.

“SR Lite” is designed to provide more efficiency and flexibility for SStP file-based production, using an open codec that is ideal for high-end cinematic and broadcast production. Content recorded on HDCAM tape can also be integrated into the MXF SStP file-based operation since the system is backwards-compatible.

Three transfer rates — 880Mbps, 440Mbps and 220Mbps — will all be available in future HDCAM SR products.  Sony is also announcing the next version of its popular SRW recorder, the SRW-5800/2. This updated deck, to be available next summer, will support MXF file transfer and the 220 Mbps data rate as well as the ability to record and playback  4:4:4 content at 2X real time. These capabilities will also be available to existing SRW-5800 owners through optional hardware upgrades.

New SR Memory as Media of the Future

The new SR solid state memory cards will deliver rapid transfer rates of more than 5 Gbp/s and storage capacity of up to 1TB. This new SR memory technology is designed to be the ideal media for future high-end production, with native acquisition capabilities for applications such as 3D 1080p and higher resolutions up to 4K.

Sony also plans to deliver an upgrade to SR memory on the existing SRW-9000 camcorder together with a memory adapter for the F35 and F23.


While production and post-production move to file-based workflows, Sony’s HDCAM SR tape continues to be the primary choice for the highest-end HD acquisition and archiving. Sony’s new HDCAM SR roadmap and its commitment to an SR file-based workflow will enable the format to offer increased value from acquisition to archive.

For the immediate future, Sony’s new pricing structure for small-shell HDCAM SR cassettes will begin in January 2010, offering a near 25 percent cost reduction on the BCT40SR, the preferred model for SR production, as well as other cost savings on the BCT6SR and BCT33SR models.

“Our enhancements to the SR technology extend far beyond product announcements,” said Willox. “We’re reassuring customers that what they buy not only works now, but also supports future needs and delivers a return on their investment.”

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