Sony started with these last year, and they were interesting, but we really thought they were too ‘high-end’ for most of our customers. Especially with products like the Gemini 4:4:4 being introduced for fractions of the cost.
Well, a year has gone by and two things have happened:
- We’ve seen other vendors struggle to get ‘real’ versions of their products to market, and
- Sony has rounded out the SRMASTER product line and reduced the prices of key pieces.
So this is really worth a closer look.
In layman’s terms, SRMASTER is a family of proprietary RAM cards, dock able and standalone recorders, studio playback and recorders, and card reader/writers that record video from HD to beyond 4k in a coordinated scheme meant to help optimize the production workflow past just simple acquisition. They have 3 different speed grades of the card, so you can purchase what you need, bandwidth-wise…
Here is Sony’s description of SRMASTER:
SRMASTER is a powerful format which offers maximum creativity to the professionals from HD to 4K cinema production. The SRMASTER format includes both MPEG-4 SStP (Simple Studio Profile) and F65RAW recordings.
MPEG-4 SStP is the image-compression scheme that’s used by the HDCAM-SR™ VTR product range. Fully tested and proven, SStP is an intra-frame visually lossless compression algorithm that records 10 or 12-bit RGB 4:4:4 or 10-bit 4:2:2 image files. In addition to the existing SR-HQ (880 Mbps) andSR-SQ (440 Mbps) modes, SRMASTER products support a new compression level calledSR-Lite (220 Mbps) to support HDTV production. Up to 16 channels of uncompressed audio and metadata can be recorded, all in an industry standard MXF wrapper.
For more information on SRMaster, click here.
Alright, onto some details. Here is the product lineup:
SR-R4 Dockable Memory Recorder – Designed specifically for the F65 – $20,000. Can record RAW, RAW Lite, and SR Files to SR Memory
SR-R1 Portable Memory Recorder – Now $8,800 – Perfect for the PMW-F3 or any other camera with HD-SDI or 3G outputs. Does up to 1080/59.94p and RGB 4:4:4 and dual stream recording (3D anyone?) at the SR-Lite (220 Mbps) and SR-SQ (440 Mpbs) resolutions.
SR-PC4 Data Transfer Unit $7,500. This is more than a card reader, it has a simple web-based GUI for simple viewing and control via an internet browser. Can also act as a server. Very interesting.
SR-D1 Low Cost SR Memory Card Reader – Price TBD (but probably around $5,000) – This is meant to be an affordable reader/writer – similar to the SBACUS10 for SxS cards, but faster because it has both USB 3.0 and eSATA connectivity
SR-R1000 Memory Storage Unit – $49,500 – This really is the full-blown ‘studio deck’ player/recorder for SR Master, akin to an HDCAM SR tape VTR, but does a whole lot more!
Here is a rundown of the codecs (probably incomplete):
- SR-Lite – 220 Mbps – will do up to 10 bit 4:2:2 HD
- SR-SQ – 440 Mbps – 1.4 Gbps – will do up to 10 bit 4k 14P 4:4:4
The SR Memory Cards come in three speeds and can be distinguished by the color of the border around the card:
- 5.5 Gbps guaranteed write speed (black border)
- 2.5 Gbps guaranteed write speed (blue border)
- 1.5 Gbps guaranteed write speed (orange border)
Click here for more info and pricing on the cards.