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Sony's world-first HDC-4300 4K systems camera threatens to steal the show at NAB

Tuesday, April 14, 2015 12:00 AM

Amid a formidable array of new camera releases at NAB in Las Vegas (more on them soon), it's the Sony HDC-4300 – the world's first camera to use three 2/3-inch 4K image sensors – that's really got the WTS team excited.

Using the next generation of HDC-series camera technology, the HDC-4300 allows you "to use the high-magnification wide-zoom-range lenses currently employed by HD 2/3-inch systems while maintaining an adequate depth of field to properly show all of the action in live event broadcasting," says Sony.

Highlights of the camera include 4K/HD operation, up to 8x super slow motion (with 3x as standard), 4K cut-out and support for the widened colour space that comes with the next-generation ITU-R BT.2020 broadcast standard.

Sony HDC-4300 4K systems camera with 3x 2/3-inch 4K sensors

Support for B4-mount lenses

Familiarity will be a big attraction to users too. The HDC-4300 will mirror the existing HDC-2000 series cameras in supporting B4-mount lenses and using the same control surfaces. The camera "provides 4K capabilities and a workflow that content producers are instantly familiar and comfortable with," Rob Wilcox of Sony said.

Certainly WTS's systems engineers are keen on the HDC-4300, particularly its licensing options and the ease of integration it offers. Clients too are eager to know more about it. And with an anticipated release slated for Summer 2015, it looks like it won't be too long until we get to see this latest addition to the HDC family in action.

Here's the Sony announcement in full.

Sony unveils HDC-4300, world's first 4K system camera with three 4K image sensors

Sony’s next generation of HDC series camera technology provides the ability to use the high magnification wide zoom range lenses currently employed by HD 2/3-inch systems while maintaining an adequate depth of field to properly show all of the action in live event broadcasting.

Three 2/3-inch 4K image sensors

The new HDC-4300 is the world’s first camera to use three 2/3-inch 4K image sensors. It supports the same B4-mount lenses as well as the same control surfaces as Sony’s industry leading HDC-2000 series cameras. The existing HDLA-1500 series, control and shading systems, viewfinders and master set-up units are all interchangeable between the HD and 4K systems. Directors and operators can keep their approach to live events — including camera angles, zoom ranges and iris settings – while using familiar camera technology.

4K in a familiar workflow

“This camera provides 4K capabilities and a workflow that content producers are instantly familiar and comfortable with,” said Rob Willox, marketing manager for content creation systems, Sony’s Professional Solutions Americas. “We’ve developed an approach that allows the large existing HDC series user base to employ 4K advantages such as 8x high frame rate and 4K cut-out and zoom while using a familiar infrastructure and signal path.”

Sony HDC-4300 4K systems camera with 3x 2/3-inch 4K sensors, with control units

Up to 8x super slow motion

The new HDC-4300 is capable of 4K/HD operation, with 2x, 3x Super Slow Motion as standard, and higher speeds up to 8x available, to produce high-quality replays and specialty program effects.

The camera uses ultra-high-precision alignment technology to realize three 4K sensor on a new prism. This allows the support of the next-generation ITU-R BT.2020 broadcast standard’s widened color space for future-proof masters or post production options for today’s productions, shown on tomorrow’s 4K services.

Direct attachment of B4 HD lenses

Standard large-format B4-mount lenses mount directly onto the HDC‑4300. This gives broadcasters the flexibility needed for live sports broadcasts: 4K capabilities while maintaining their customary HD-lens operating styles.

SZC-4001 Software

Sony’s SZC-4001 software package (sold separately) allows broadcasters to take advantage of 4K capabilities.

Super Slow Motion frame rates

The SZC-4002 software package (sold separately) enables the system to shoot full HD (1920 x 1080) at frame rates up to 479.52/400 fps, as well as 59.94/50, 119.88/100, and 179.82/150 fps. Users can save these high-frame-rate shots to Sony’s PWS-4400 multiport 4K/HD Live Server.

Sony HDC-4300 4K systems camera with 3x 2/3-inch 4K sensors

HD/4K Live Production for Sports

The HDC-4300 accepts the same configurations as existing 4K live systems.

A BPU-4000 baseband processor unit receives the camera signals via SMPTE fiber and connects to an HDCU-2000 or 2500 camera control unit. This provides power and full intercom, tally, and return capabilities.

Users can seamlessly blend an HDC-4300-based system with existing HDC Series camera systems. The HD signals from the HDC Series cameras and from the new camera system can be adjusted to match colorimetry.

The addition of other 4K products, such as the PWS-4400 multi-port 4K/HD Live server, a multi-format switcher capable of real-time 4K signal processing based on the MVS-8000X, and Sony’s new BVM-X300 4K OLED monitor or PVM-X300 4K LCD monitor create an end-to-end 4K live production solution.

Sony HDC-4300 – additional features:

  • HD cut-outs – two full HD images to be cut out from the 4K picture in real-time including a selectable zoom and perspective mode.
  • Many of the picture adjustment functions of HDC Series cameras are supported by the HDC-4300 system
  • Dynamic focus (4K focus-assist function) – a focus point can be displayed on the viewfinder with a marker in 4K mode for easy focusing.
  • Auto lens aberration compensation 2 (ALAC2) function
  • Colour reproduction adjustment functions
    • Gamma table selection
    • User gamma function
    • Natural skin-tone detail function
    • Knee saturation function
    • Low-key saturation function 
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