Sony’s high capacity Blu-ray discs are still absent from American homes, but the 23 GByte blue-colored discs will soon be in the hands of movie and news crews. In March 2006, Sony will release its XDCAM HD camcorder which will record high definition footage directly to a Blu-ray disc. Sony has sold around 8000 units of their standard definition version of the XDCAM.
While most high-end camcorders record to tape, Sony took a different route for the XDCAM. Footage is captured and then stored onto the disc in MPEG-2 format. The disc is rewritable and allows for fast transfers to a harddrive and easy search of clips. Unlike tape, a video producer can skip to a clip shot in the middle of a shoot – tape users have to rewind or fast-forward to a clip.
While previous XDCAMs have recorded in standard definition, the new version will record at 1080i in a variety of bit-rates: 25 Mbps, 35 Mbps and 18 Mbps. In addition, the camcorder can capture at 24 progressive and has four channels of audio.
There is no official price of the new XDCAM, but Sony estimates it will be in the $20,000 range.