Digital video production and Sony high-definition solutions are co-headliners at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
More than half of this year’s festival entries were shot digitally, with many of those originated in a Sony HD video format. In addition, each of the Sundance screening venues is equipped for digital playback in the company’s HDCAM format.
“Sony has championed video production for moviemakers, first from analog to digital, and then from standard- to high-definition technology,” said Ian Calderon, director of digital initiatives for The Sundance Institute. “The independent community continues to embrace the creative and economic advantages of shooting and recording digitally.
“With Sony’s recent introductions of its HDV and XDCAM HD(TM) systems, bringing high-end capabilities down to more affordable costs, I expect to see many more independent HD features in the coming years.”
At the festival’s “New Frontier on Main” technology exhibit, Sony is highlighting its lineup of “affordable HD” formats that offer movie-makers a range of production options for telling their stories more creatively and effectively. These include Sony’s XDCAM EX PMW-EX1 solid-state memory camcorder, and its newest HDV(TM) camcorders, models HVR-Z7U and HVR-S270U.
Each camcorder can offer specific benefits for the independent shooter.
The new PMW-EX1 camcorder records and stores content to ExpressCard high-speed media technology, using Sony’s newly developed SxS PRO solid-state memory as its recording medium. The camcorder also offers selectable bit rates as well as editing and effects capabilities suited to independent production.
Its 1/2-inch type image sensor can capture images with a shallower depth of field than other hand-held camcorders’ smaller-size image sensors, and the low-light capabilities of this sensor are helpful to professionals such as documentary makers who often need to capture footage in challenging lighting applications.
Other features include “Slow and Quick Motion” capability — also commonly known as “over-cranking” and “under-cranking” — for creating unique “looks” or special effects of slow and fast motion, and Slow Shutter and Interval Recording.
Sony’s two new HDV camcorders feature interchangeable lens systems, native progressive recording, increased sensitivity for low-light conditions and hybrid solid-state recording to professional videotape and CompactFlash memory cards.
Sony will highlight its professional media products that complement the camcorders designed for independent video work.
At Sundance, Sony is also conducting free workshops targeted towards digital movie-makers. Veteran director/cameraman Jody Eldred will conduct four presentations on creative shooting techniques using the XDCAM EX camcorder, showing recent footage he shot using the new camera.
Since digital technology first appeared at Sundance in the mid-’90s, there has been a steady evolution toward digital throughout the independent production community.
“It’s clear that the digital and HD revolutions have made their marks in the world of independent cinematography,” said Paul Foschino, senior marketing manager for professional video and audio at Sony Electronics.