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Sony HVR-Z1U Camcorder: The HDV Revolution Has Arrived

$4900 camcorder leaves jaws agape in NYC debut

And then we got a sneak peek at the new CineForm plug-in for this HDV format, running in Vegas and demonstrated by none other than DMN guru Douglas Spotted Eagle. Without any hardware acceleration, Vegas was slinging around HDV footage as if it were DV. Well, maybe almost as fast, but the performance of this CineForm plugin, available later this year, was impressive. As Mr. Spotted Eagle added more and more effects to the timeline, the HDV footage kept solidly chugging along. For example, with a PIP effect, Vegas was still able to show us a preview of 6 frames per second, still enough to give a good idea of the effectís effectiveness. Iíll be heading over to Sonyís headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin early next week for more information and reportage on that new plug-in and other whiz-bang goodness from the ace crew of former Sonic Foundry video geniuses, so stay tuned to DMN for that. Meanwhile, Sony was gracious enough to mention that nearly every nonlinear editing software package in existence will be able to use this new HDV footage, mentioning such companies as Adobe, Apple, Avid, Canopus, Pinnacle, and Ulead.

On the left is Sony's consumer-level HDV camcorder, the HDR-FX1, set for late November (2004) release. On the right is Sony's new pro-featured HDV camcorder, the HVR-Z1U.

Summing up, I have to say that I am blown away buy this new camcorder from Sony, and by the HDV format in general. The only thing I found lacking in this Z1 model was that it doesnít have interchangeable lenses, a feature that I guess Sony didnít think was necessary or might compete too much with its higher-end HD camcorders. Even so, this new Z1 is packing a tremendously powerful punch, allowing an easy upgrade path for those still stuck in the DV world, while capturing video that's of extraordinary quality. This camcorder will cause a revolution just like its ancestor the VX1000 DV camcorder did eight years ago. It can do just about anything youíd like to do with HD video, and at the same time, gives you an editing workflow thatís surprisingly similar to that of garden-variety DV. This will be a catalyst that will spark most of us to jump over into the glorious world that is HDTV. 

Stay tuned to Digital Media Net, where we'll have a full hands-on review of the HVR-Z1U after its February, 2005 release.

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Related Keywords:Sony, HDV format, HD video, workflow, DV Format, serious videographers, Sony HVR-Z1U, HDV camcorder, pro-level features, HDTV production, Charlie White, HDR-FX1, wedding videographers

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