AJA and Sound Devices embrace Sony NXCAM’s timecode-over-HDMI

Tecno Tur on PVC by Alan Tepper

Free firmware updates enable timecode-over-HDMI from NXCAM, but is that enough?

Many ProVideo Coalition readers may recall my article called Untapped features in Sony NXCAM’s new HDMI output from June 2011. At that point, I surveyed several external HD video recorder manufacturers as to their plans to support the multiple new NXCAM features. (This of course includes the FS100 which Adam Wilt just reviewed, along with other NXCAMs from Sony.) At that point, I received a response from AJA and from Sound Devices which both expressed intent to support at least some of the features, but no dates or other details. Now I am happy to report that both AJA and Sound Devices have embraced Sony NXCAM’s timecode-over-HDMI in some of their products. This article will review the NXCAM’s new HDMI features and clarify which are now supported (and which are not yet supported) by these two manufacturers, and what that means for you.

Link to the original article from June 2011

If you’d like to read all of the juicy details, here’s a link to my original article from June 2011, Untapped features in Sony NXCAM’s new HDMI output. Otherwise, a summary is ahead.

Summarized view of Sony NXCAM’s new HDMI features

  • The possibility of either YUV 4:2:2 or RGB 4:4:4 when requested via EDID (both sadly at 8-bit) over HDMI. [Apple ProRes444 (RGB) has existed for years, although to date not in any standalone portable recorder to my knowledge. Since several of the standalone recorder manufacturers have licensed ProRes from Apple, I hope to see those “matrimonies made in heaven” happening soon!]
  • Timecode metadata over HDMI (in the private stream channel). This is now available from some products, as you’ll read ahead in this article.
  • 1080/50p and/or 1080/59.94p over HDMI (model dependent) [Since several of the standalone recorder manufacturers have licensed ProRes from Apple, I hope to see them recording these formats soon.]
  • Pulldown versions of 23.976p, 25p, and 29.97p over HDMI (model dependent) [Rather than offering native 23.976p, 25p, and 29.97p over HDMI in the new NXCAMs, Sony has chosen (so far) to use pulldown (2:3 in the case of 23.976p, and 2:2 in the case of 25p and 29.97p) (model dependent) together with pulldown flags embedded in the timecode in order to facilitate reverse telecine prior to creating a native progressive recording on an external recorder. In this public video, Juan Martínez, NXCAM product manager, has explained that this decision for pulldown rather than native is to ensure compatibility with Sony’s professional monitors with HDMI input. This approach is obviously different from the one taken by many consumer Blu-ray players (even from Sony), which offer a menu option for outputting native 23.976p over HDMI when playing a “24p” Blu-ray disk onto a compatible monitor.]
  • 3D over HDMI [This will likely take much more time to get support in 3rd-party recorders based upon Apple ProRes, since to my knowledge, there isn’t (yet) a specific ProRes standard for 3D in a single file, although there is in Sony’s recent expansion of AVCHD at 28 Mb/s, both for 3D in a single file and for 2D at 1080p50 and 1080p59.94 (model dependent).] read more...
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