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Sony HDC-F5500 brings shallow-depth-of-field capabilities to broadcast camera form factor

Sony today introduced the HDC-F5500 system camera which is designed to bring Super 35mm sensor performance and make shallow depth of field production easier than ever. Featuring a highly sensitive Super 35mm, 4K CMOS global shutter image sensor as well as a global shutter and 120 frames per second capabilities, Theresa Alesso, Sony Electronics, Pro Division, president, says the camera is the result of conversations with customers who wanted to bring a more “cinematic look” to sports and entertainment productions.

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“Listening to the voice of our customers, we’ve taken our expertise with 35mm cinema cameras and our learnings in industry-leading system cameras and created a new Super 35mm system camera that will match perfectly and easily work alongside our HDC camera series, as well as our portfolio of production solutions,” she says.

Robert Willox, Sony Electronics, Pro Division, director of marketing, says the HDC-F5500 has the same configuration as the HDC-5500.

“All of the workflows have been completely ported to this camera system,” he says. “And we’ve tried to fix some things that have made using cinema cameras very difficult, like balance when positioning the viewfinder. And it’s a purpose-built system that imported a lot of the tools for the image control and the depth control from our cinematography experience.”

A first for a systemized S35mm system, the HDC-F5500 features a motorized 8-step ND filter adopted in Sony’s digital motion picture camera VENICE, which can be controlled locally or remotely, for increased operational flexibility. It also allows for the precise selection of focus depth as well as controlled capture of fast-moving subjects even in bright lighting conditions.

Willox says the camera can also use PL-mount lenses and also features a new viewfinder slide mechanism compatible with existing large viewfinders that minimizes the camera operator’s body movement while panning and allows for use in tight or challenging environments. The HDC-F5500 also has an ergonomic grip for handheld work, and side tally lamp. 4K/12G-SDI direct output from the camera facilitates wireless operation and direct recording.

“They don’t need to remember to bring a special viewfinder or anything else,” he says. “It’s in the chassis of an HDC-5500 but it’s a little wider to accommodate the super 35 sensor. And its native UHD so it’s going to work with other Sony cameras for painting and match.”

Willox says the global shutter is a complete necessity with all of the scoreboards that are in an arena these days that are out of the control of the TV production crew and can cause issues in a broadcast. And the low noise allows for the user to have complete control over depth of field, regardless of the shooting conditions like night or day games.

“We can control the filter disk and have that work in concert with the iris,” he adds.

As for frame rates, the camera is capable of 24, 25, 30, 60p and 120p. It can work as a two times slow motion if recording at 60 and up to five times if recording at 24 or 25p.

The use of Sony’s HDCE-TX50 IP Extension Adaptor is another big part of the overall solution, especially as more and more productions make the move to IP. Easily carried in a flight case, the compact 1/3-rack width adaptor connects directly to a camera head in the field. Compliant with the SMPTE ST 2110 family of open standards, the HDCE-TX50 transmits signals from the camera head over IP networks to the Camera Control Unit (CCU) sited at a remote production center.

“Putting IP processing into a device is going to generate a lot of heat and in a camera that means you need to do some balancing,” adds Willox. “Do you want to run hot, or do you want to have low noise and focus control? We know the limitations that happen when you put too much heat in a camera. Also, by having this adaptor instead of a bespoke camera it can work with other cameras like the HDC-2025 and bring them into the IP environment.”

Other benefits of an external box are that changes like software changes to the camera or even putting in a new port can be done without putting the camera in service.

Another highlight of the new system camera is its wide color gamut. Support for BT.2020, S-Gamut3/S-Gamut3.cine and HLG enhance creativity and reality and match seamlessly with the color science driving Sony’s most in-demand cameras. The HDC-F5500 is also compatible with Sony’s existing SR Live for HDR workflow with HLG and S-Log3.

Additionally, the newly developed ARIA (Automatic Restoration of Illumination Attenuation) function, for select supported PL and zoom lenses, calibrates and compensates picture appearance when shooting at a distance. SVG

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