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Seven Questions Part 2: Is HDV Good Enough?

Sony's Bob Ott thinks so By Charlie White

(6/30/05) In this second part of Digital Media Net's seven-question interviews about HDV, DMN's Charlie White turns to Bob Ott, Sony's Vice President of Marketing, Professional Audio/Video Products. Riding the tide of impressive sales for the company's Z1 HDV camcorder, Ott spoke about where Sony's 3-CCD 1080i HDV camcorder is being used. Is it good enough for air? Many broadcasters are beginning to answer in the affirmative.

DMN: This new HVR-Z1U camcorder can do a lot of interesting things, can't it?

Ott: Yes, we gave it the capability of recording HDV, DV, or DVCAM. Im going to shoot everything in HDV, safety at 4x3, do whatever I have to so that it meets the needs of my current mass consumer of 4x3 television sets. The great thing about this camcorder is its performance and its versatility. I can use it now because I can shoot 4x3 safety and the thing down-converts automatically to 480i or 480p, and I can have that down-convert to letter box, I can have that down-convert to 4x3 cropped, or I can do anamorphic.

DMN: Now HDV is opening up entirely new market for a lot of television stations that normally wouldnt have been doing any HD production. I think that might be a big part of this HDV story, dont you think?

Ott: Absolutely, because right now many of the TV stations in the United States do a lot of pass-through. Now, Im not saying that the HDV camera becomes your in-studio camera.

DMN: Lets say Im a TV station owner, and I want to get into HDV. How I get that footage into my existing plant?

Ott: If Im using an NLE system that has IEEE 1394, FireWire, or as Sonys moniker goes, iLink, if I already have that in the infrastructure, I basically can go out and acquire and HDV, down-convert and use my existing workstations.

DMN: You just output directly from the camera in DV format.

Ott: Right. With a standard-definition image. Ive just seen the product that we used on the television show Jag. The footage was intercut with some HDCam footage.

DMN: Was it hard to tell the difference?

Ott: Im still looking for the difference. Now, what I was looking at, which is typical, the footage I have is on a DVD, and its in 480i, and its what was seen on television. 

DMN: So, thats different from using it in the edit suite. You could probably tell the difference there.

Ott: It depends on the footage that was shot, a few other things, but, lets face it, Jag is also broadcast in high-def. Unfortunately I missed the episode that it was on trade its a helicopter shot, multiple helicopter shots of a boat in the water and shooting.

DMN: This brings up an interesting point, Bob. What you think the networks are going to be doing with HDV? Are they going to be using it on their newscasts? Could CBS use it on 60 Minutes? Will we start seeing it in those kind of applications, or do you think its not good enough for that? Whats HDV good enough for?

Ott: We didnt have a lot of product for evaluation up until the end of January. So a lot of the networks that were clamoring for evaluation product, its in their laps. Let me put it to you this way?I cant get anything back so far. Everyone is clamoring for this. But at the same time, because we made commitments to our dealers across the United States and our salespeople, everything that comes in, they want to sell. Its a nice situation. Its a good problem to have, and I hate to disappoint people what we did give, for network of valuation, and Ill leave it in the generic term of network because I honestly havent received enough feedback from them yet to say, oh, well, for this application theyre using it or that application. All we know is that we can get the stuff that, because theyre saying, oh no, no, were still evaluating. They dont want to give the stuff back. I havent received any verification about any usage of the product yet. I know its been used on Jag, I know its been a used in a lot of different applications, but I have not received any specific verification, this is where were using it, this is how many we want to buy, that type of thing?it hasnt happened yet.


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Related Keywords:HDV, Charlie White, Bob Ott, Sony, Professional Audio/Video Products, Z1, HDV camcorder, 3-CCD 1080i HDV camcorder, good enough for air, broadcasters

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