The SR Evolution

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Even before the advent of the third millennium, Sony’s entrée into the high-end imaging format, HDCAM, had debuted, along with the HDW-F900 camera. The following decade has brought refinements and innovation. The year 2003 saw the introduction of HDCAM-SR, a Sony tape capable of recording 4:4:4 (RGB) and 4:2:2 (10-bit). The following year, the SRW-1 portable VTR recorder afforded the opportunity to allow high-def shooting in the field in addition to allowing capture systems from other companies to record on it, such as the Panavision Genesis, ARRIFLEX D-21 and Grass Valley Viper. In recent years, with many users already considering SR the go-to for originating on HD with its file-based workflow, Sony introduced the 5800 deck, a dual system (digital and data recording to 4K) supporting its newer F23 and F35 digital cinema cameras, which augmented the workhorse F900.

Sony’s new 5800/2 deck will be able to record and play back 4:4:4 content at twice real time.

Sony’s recent rollout of SR 2.0, beginning with a December 2009 conference, brings with it a new and fully upgradeable camcorder, the SRW9000 HDCAM-SR, as well as the 5800/2 deck (with separate-eye 3D-recording capability, a timely option given the recent and continuing resurgence of that technology).

"People have been using SRW tape for DPX file conversion for a long while, so the workflow is already in place."
—Chris Marchitelli, Senior Marketing Manager, Sony’s Content Creation Division

“Going back to Betacam SP and as far ahead as HDCAM and HDCAM-SR, our tape decks have always been backwards-compatible,” notes Chris Marchitelli, senior marketing manager for Sony’s Content Creation Division. “Our customers always have a bridge from the old tech to the new, and now this focus extends beyond media to camera as well. The SRW9000 is in many ways taking the place of the 900 for digital cinema. Lighter and easier to manage for Steadicam shooting, it’s a true shoulder-mount, one-piece camcorder, which feedback to us had indicated was an option many strongly preferred to have. Previously, with both the F23 and the F35, the SRW-1 [recorder] had to be mounted onto the camera body; the only other option was to use a camera cable for capture onto it.”