is the HDCAM tape format?
HDCAM AKA SMPTE D-11 format was developed and introduced by Sony in 1997 to
meet the needs of the global film industry in the 21st century. The HDCAM
format features Digital High Definition - 1920 horizontal and 1080 vertical
lines of active pixel picture - to provide increased contrast, sharpness and
detail. And because High Definition video has five times the resolution of
the Standard Definition video, the effect is an image that is life-like with
High Definition video抯 most noticeable attributes are a wide-screen 16:9
aspect ratio that is four times the width and three times the height of the
Standard Definition 4:3 video. The HDCAM format also features frame rate switchability to various digital broadcasting formats and the Motion Picture
Industry抯 film-like 24fps (frames per second) format. Additionally, the
HDCAM format supports four channels of 20-bit/48kHz AES/EBU digital audio or
can record Dolby-E bit streams onto each pair of AES/EBU audio channels.
HDCAM records 10 bits (8-bit data reduced for compression processing), 4𠂺
High Definition video using a DCT coefficient recording compression system
to achieve full-bandwidth HD digital recording. This results in a very high
bit rate after coding, delivering the highest resolution for digital
The HDCAM format records onto 1/2 inch (12.65mm) Metal Particle tape and
uses the same size cassettes as that of BETACAM SP, BETACAM SX and Digital
BETACAM. An HDCAM studio VTR is able to record for up to 124 minutes onto a
single large cassette and up to 40 minutes onto a small cassette.
How does it work?
The HDCAM video recorder, like many other digital recording systems, is an
electronic recording device that records video and audio signals on
videotape for later playback and postproduction work. During the record
process, the tape is moved past a high-speed rotating video head assembly
that writes video and audio signals as digital information. The HDCAM VTR
also employs multiple video heads to record and to play back the
magnetically recorded information.
In contrast to an analog recorder, which writes analog video and audio
signals, the HDCAM video recorder writes video and audio signals as 1抯 and
0抯. During the recording process, the video heads write video, sync and
audio data streams onto the tape in a helical track pattern (see figure
above). And unlike an analog recorder, which writes two tracks for each full
frame of video, an HDCAM digital recorder writes 10 or more tracks to record
a full video frame.
HDCAM offers playback compatibility with tapes recorded in an analog BETACAM
/ BETACAM SP, BETACAM SX and BETACAM IMX recorders, providing a natural
migration path for users of older BETACAM formats who wish to upgrade to
High Definition Digital.
Low error rate
Compared to Digital BETACAM, HDCAM employs even finer 0.1祄 new Ceramic
Armor Metal magnetic particles. Combining it with Maxell抯 unique
multi-orientation technology to effectively utilize its high magnetic
energy, Maxell has achieved a remarkable high-output and low-noise HDCAM
videotape. Low error rate is also reached by achieving superior C/N
Magnetic coating layer strength is remarkably improved by the super fine
Ceramic Armor Metal particles and high performance three-dimensional
cross-linking binder system. This has allowed superior reliability and
durability of the tape in extreme environment acquisition (ENG/EFP) and
editing operations where long-term still modes are frequently used. The low
error rate characteristic is maintained under various operating conditions.
Superior storage stability characteristics
The combination of Maxell抯 original super fine Ceramic Armor Metal
particles and high-performance binder systems allow superior anti-heat
resistance and anti-oxidation characteristics. The addition of another
unique process of minimizing tape shrinkage achieves superior stability
characteristics suitable for long-term storage, i.e., video archiving.
Smooth tape travel
Maxell employs a highly accurate cassette shell originally developed for
Digital BETACAM to optimize smooth tape travel. In addition, Maxell抯
patented SW (Smooth Winding) reel with radial grooves molded on the lower
flange emit most of the air generated during high-speed winding to minimize
uneven tape winding.
50 Locke Street, Unit #2
Concord, Ontario, Canada
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