Helping the Economy, XDCAM-style

Well, seeing as how we have to deliver 52 episodes of two different series in the next 14 months & they are to be HD shows, we needed to accquire a new camera. The old BVW-600D and BVW-400 are rolling off their last tapes on shoots this weekend. And if you’re going to buy a new camera, you might as well buy the right deck to go with it. We dropped over $80,000 today on just that very thing.

Start with $70,000 on a new PDW-700 XDCAM-HD with Wide Angle Lens and a new set of HD sticks (Sacthler). There’s a wireless mic receiver and Anton-Bauer battery mount in there as well.Then top it off with a $20,000 PDW-1500 Deck.

We’re doing our part to keep the economy going. However, we won’t be taking possesion of this camera until December sometime. Special thanks to CNN and NBC who bought the entire North American allocation of these cameras earlier this year – Olympics and Election in same year will do that. We’ll have to get in line. Bexel is waiting for 5 or 7 of these cameras. The 700 is hard to find even for rentals, so we’re hoping we see ours before too long.

If you don’t already know, the PDW-700 is the latest SONY XDCAM-HD camera. It has 3 2/3″ CCDs and can record in 1080, 720 or even SD (if you buy the option – we didn’t, so no looking back now!). It makes 50Mbps Long GOP recordings using the new MPEG-2 4:2:2P@HL compression scheme with 4 channels of audio. In tests, the image looks really nice. Still a little too crunchy for green-screen work, but other than that it is an awesome camera. The PDW-1500 deck will playback discs made by this camera and other earlier XDCAM cameras (SD or HD). If you have an earlier XDCAM deck, you’re in for a little surprise – it won’t play these new 50Mbps discs – even if it handles the 50GB dual-layer discs. A bit of a surpirse there for us, but we’ve got the work to pay for this stuff.

Oh yeah, we also picked up PDW-U1 XDCAM drive. This unit allows you to log & load from XDCAM discs to PC or Macs via USB. It is great for turning almost any modern computer into a logging/loading station. It works really well and the workflow with XDCAM is one of our favorites. The U1 runs around $3,500, so it really gives us a cost-effective, flexibility we just wouldn’t have with tape formats.

Leave a Reply