Sony’s New HD Cameras, Switcher Meet College Demands

By Ken Kerschbaumer

Sony Electronics is tackling the college-sports video market with two new HD cameras and a cost-effective production switcher that combine to meet a wide variety of collegiate video needs.

The HSC-300 and HXC-100 cameras are based on Sony’s HDC Series studio cameras, a mainstay in the highest level of professional sports productions. Both cameras use Sony’s digital triax transmission technology, allowing customers to use their facility’s existing triax-cable infrastructure.

“While many professional stadiums and arenas are wired with fiber, there are thousands of installations in college that are wired with triax,” says Rob Willox, director of marketing, Sony Electronic content creation group. “We built the 100 and 300 thinking of the college market’s needs.”

The HSC-300 camera is compatible with Sony’s existing large-lens adaptors and can be used with triax cable runs of up to 1,300 m. The HXC-100 model can be used for runs of up to 850 m. Both models feature a ⅔-in. Power HAD FX CCD with 2.2 million pixels and are switchable between 1080i and 720p 50/60 Hz, with 525i and 625 SD modes available from the camera head and CCU. They offer comprehensive image controls with wide dynamic range and a 14-bit A/D.

The triax vs. fiber debate continues in the college market, as facilities with fewer capital resources than professional venues look to stretch every dollar. “It comes down to maintenance as fiber is more difficult to self-maintain,” says Willox. “There aren’t many problems with triax cables that can’t be handled with a splice at the termination point. From our standpoint, these cameras allow the campus to use the existing infrastructure.”

The cost-effective cameras don’t have all of the high-tech features found in the HDC-1500 line. Users won’t have access to multiformat and multifrequency switchability or an upgrade path for 3-Gbps signal transport. But the construction is still similar, giving the 1400 line the same ruggedness found in the 1500 series.

The cameras also offer a range of automatic features designed to minimize the adjustments necessary during production, including auto iris with multi-zone weighting, auto skin-tone detail, auto knee, electronic color correction, focus-assist function, and hyper gamma.

Sony is also expanding its successful line of MVS Series production switchers with the new MVS-6000, which inherits many of the capabilities of the MVS-8000G in a small and efficient design. The new multiformat switcher is expandable with up to 49 inputs and is available in configurations up to 2.5 mix effects (M/Es).

“It’s designed for shows and productions that don’t require four M/Es and heavy effects,” adds Willox. The switcher offers options for internal format conversion, frame memory, and internal DME and can be purchased as an SD unit and upgraded to multiformat at any time. Users can select smaller fixed control-panel configurations or the traditional MVS fully customized control panel for complete flexibility.

At the heart of the MVS-6000 switcher is Sony’s new “System on a Chip” image processor. This technology embeds keyer and DME processing within the switcher’s CPU and enables multiformat switching, multiple key channels, transitions, and DME functions to be carried out on one chip. This efficiency allows a compact frame, high-speed effect processing, and low-power consumption, all at a reduced cost compared with the MVS-8000G.

The HSC-300 and HXC-100 studio cameras are planned to be available in May, with basic systems priced starting at $69,900 and $45,900, respectively. The MVS-6000 is expected to be available this month with pricing for various system configurations to be announced.

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