April 11, 2011

Sony TD300 XDCAM 3D camcorder

Sony has countered the introduction of Panasonic's first P2-based 3D camcorder with its own shoulder-mounted XDCAM EX 3D model. The new PMW-TD300 is one of two integrated 3D camcorders Sony unveiled at NAB and records at 35Mbps on dual SxS cards.

“This new camera will address many of the needs in live 3D production, working in the field as a perfect complement to the HD cameras currently used in 3D rigs by leading production companies and giving creative professionals a more flexible and mobile option for getting the right 3D shot,” said Olivier Bovis, Head of AV Media, Sony Professional, Sony Europe.

The PMW-TD300 uses six 1/2-inch Exmor CMOS sensors (two sets of three) with full HD 1920x1080 resolution. When recording in 3D, left and right eye signals are simultaneously recorded onto separate SxS cards (it has four SxS card slots in total, two slots for each view).

Although it records using a 35Mbps 4:2:0 codec, it should be able to produce good results in 3D as these are combined, and will typically be transmitted for broadcast in s side-by-side format that effectively halves the horizontal resolution.

Its shoulder-mount design adds stability in ‘run and gun’ shooting environments, which is important for 3D as jerky shots can cause viewers nausea in 3D.

The TD300 has an inter-axial distance of 45mm, with a 1.2m minimum convergence distance, so it should be useful for interview or documentary shots. A newly developed dual-lens system allows for full synchronisation with high accuracy in focusing, zooming and iris adjustment.

The camera is switchable between 2D and 3D modes. The 2D view is recorded onto a single card, with 2D redundancy achieved through parallel recording onto L/R cards. (Images recorded on the left and right cards are slightly different, because different lenses are used.) With a single SxS card, the camcorder is able to shoot images only through the left lens.

Features include: Intuitive manual convergence control with a dedicated dial; Viewfinder with 3.5-inch colour LCD; HD-SDI out (L/R dual stream, audio and TC embedded); HDMI out (3D/2D) for viewing on consumer 3D displays; Genlock in and timecode in/out for integration with multi-camera systems; and four-channel PCM audio (16-bit, 48 kHz). This is only a preliminary specification as the TD300 won't be available until Autumn.

Related post: Sony HXR-NX3D1 3D camcorder

By David Fox

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