Sky tests Sony’s 3D wireless camcorder
Sky Sports has embarked on a testing programme looking at the capabilities of Sony’s TD300 3D wireless camera. Using a RF Link provided by Broadcast RF, the camera’s been trotted out for the 4 Nations Rugby League series in particular throughout November, and was used for the first time in a live sports production at the final last Saturday.
The camera was launched at IBC and is based on Sony’s popular PMW-320 camcorder, using dual 3x 1/2-inch type Exmor CMOS sensors to offer what Sony boasts is ‘superb 3D picture quality, even in dark environments’. It has a fixed interaxial distance of 45mm, allowing for 3D shooting at close-up distances of 1.2m, and can record over six hours on SxS cards by using 4x 64GB SxS cards.
And, of course, be used as a wireless unit thanks to the addition of Broadcast RF’s tech, where its compact form-factor – it can easily be used as a shoulder camera or on a Steadicam – makes it a very attractive choice for 3D sports productions.
The TD300 has an individual HD-SDI output for each eye, so both left and right eye are available in full HD resolution rather than merged into a single side-by-side output. Broadcast RF’s 3D system (which was designed to provide 3D pictures and full remote control for the TD300 as well as all major stereoscopic rigs) uses double the standard HD video data rate to assure picture quality for each HD-SDI camera output. Thus the video from each eye, the left and the right, is similar to a “regular” 2D HD link.
The wireless camera control system allows for various 3D and camera parameters to be controlled remotely from the OB truck. This way the stereographer has full control of the 3D settings such as convergence, while the vision engineer has access to all the camera’s paint functions using the manufacturer’s control panel – in this case the Sony RCP1500.
“It worked well into the truck with good matching to the other OB cameras,” reports Sky’s 3D Development Manager, Robin Broomfield. “This type of camera has great potential for us, despite the limits of using a camera with a fixed interaxial. This comes down to knowing the limitations and working within them.
“I’m looking forward to testing the ‘final version’ of this camera,” he adds. “These results show that the technology in 3D hardware is moving forward.”