Looks and Feels More Like a 35mm Camera

Sony brought a surprise guest to NAB this year ‘ an engineering
prototype of a new RGB 4:4:4 multi-frame-rate camera. Addressing the
long-standing complaints from film cinematographers about the look and
feel of Sony’s high-end HDCAMs, the company has started from scratch
with a new CineAlta design that resembles a 35mm film camera, but the
differences go beyond the cosmetic. This camera will shoot 1080p video
at from 1 fps to 30 fps in 4:4:4 mode and up to 60 fps in 4:2:2 mode (a
limitation officials say owes to the lack of a suitable interface to
pull that much data off the camera that quickly).
It records to an SRW1 mounted on the camera’s top or back, or via a
dual-link tether to keep the camera’s weight at a minimum. The variable
frame rates are achieved by adjusting the actual speed of the SRW1
recorder during acquisition; when the tape is played back at nominal
speed the desired undercrank or overcrank effect is apparent.
The camera uses a 2/3-inch CCD with a 1920×1080 resolution and boasts a
14-bit A-to-D converter for extra dynamic range. In response to
feedback from cinematographers, Sony added brackets to the camera body
that can hold Arriflex-compatible accessories (powered, if necessary,
by 12V and 24V sources on the camera) and developed a more ruggedized
B4 lens mount to withstand lots of lens-switching.
Shown in a (mostly) functioning version at a whisper suite just off the
show floor, the new camera has been in development for just less than a
year. Sony officials say it should be delivered in time for next year’s