Grass Valley looks to expand Infinity line

Grass Valley s Infinity camcorder and deck made its working world debut at the NAB convention in Las Vegas. John Naylor, Grass Valley Infinity program director, took some time to talk with SVG about the launch and future plans for the format.

What s been the response at the show to the Infinity camera and deck and can you give us more details with respect to price and shipping dates?
It s been overwhelmingly positive. The camcorder will cost $26,000 and begin shipping in July while the deck will be available in September.

One of the concerns I ve heard raised about the system is your reliance on a single supplier, iOmega, for the REV drives. What happens if iOmega folds up or has something else befall it?

We have agreements in place with iOmega just in case something like that happens. Those agreements will basically have us take over the technology and get into the storage business ourselves so we can continue to support our customers.

The camcorder can work with either the REV drives or Flash-based solid-state memory. Are potential customers leaning one way or the other?

It depends. Some are really interested in using the Flash-based memory because they believe in it and have some great ideas for new workflows where a small pool of storage is shared between the field production and post-production teams. Others, however, are attracted to the high-capacity REV Pro drives that can record two hours of SD material or 45 minutes of HD material on a drive that costs less than $70.

What s the current cost of the Flash drives?

Right now you can get an 8GB card for about $450 which is one third of the price of the equivalent storage in Panasonic s P2 format.

Obviously it s important to work with other vendors to ensure Infinity has support from makers of third-party editing and other gear. How is Grass Valley developing those relationships?

Right now we have an Open Alliance Partnership. We re at the advanced stage of discussion with editing companies and Avid is already signed on. The goal is to design ways to organize clips, handle proxies, and make sure the editing systems can accommodate Infinity.
For those unfamiliar with tapeless workflows what are the advantages?

One of the nice things about digitizing on disk and IT systems is that you eliminate the tape ingest step. That s one less tape machine you need and you can edit by simply connecting the camcorder to the editing system.
So you have the camcorder and the deck. What s next for Infinity?

This is only the start, not the end, of the Infinity series. We re already hearing requests for a small-format camcorder and likewise a studio deck. And in terms of the iOmega drives the company is already working on next-generation drives where users can upgrade by simply changing the 3.5-inch REV drive bay.