CamcorderInfo have posted a review on the new Sony HRD-SR1 tapeless HD camcorder. It records AVCHD (MPEG-4/H.264 based) format to an internal 30GB drive, which will apparently give you 4 hours of recording.

Sony-HDR-SR1-vanitySounds great! I’m completely sick of buying, labelling and especially rewinding tapes – it feels so ridiculous – and while the computer based capture options are impressive, the ability to just grab your camera and run will mean you get more video over time.

The HDD Downside: Support for AVCHD is currently weaktastic. Sony have a little link on their Vegas 7 Workflow page, which takes you to a little page which admits:

Note Regarding AVCHD camcorder support in Sony Vegas 7 software
Sony Vegas 7 does not currently support the AVCHD camcorder format.

In Spring 2007, AVCHD camcorder support will be included in a free update for all registered Vegas 7 users.

That’s slightly annoying, but it will change quickly enough as users start clamouring for support, and down the bottom of the review they have hidden something rather exciting for visualists:

Smooth Slow Record – Smooth Slow Record is one of the cooler features included on consumer camcorders this year. It’s a Sony technology made possible by the data transfer rate of CMOS sensors, and records footage in slow-motion that can be viewed nearly instantaneously – after 12 seconds of processing time – in the case of the HDR-SR1. This feat is accomplished by increasing the rate at which fields are recorded from 60fps to 240fps in three-second bursts, and then recording those frames at normal speed. Video shot in Smooth Slow Record mode is dark, because the amount of light recorded is reduced. Smooth Slow Record is a neat party trick, and perhaps even a useful tool for “analysing golf swings,” as Sony advertises.

3 seconds isn’t very much recording, as this video shows, and naturally it’s at decreased resolution. I can’t find any solid numbers on this, but it seems that it also undergoes in-camera uprezzing, which is a little daft. Quirks aside though, this is a huge step forward for slow motion in consumer cameras. It will be interesting to see the footage which makes it to the web in the coming months.

Street price seems to be around US$1300 on Amazon, or AU$2200.

Updated 2007-07-24: Jaymis has purchased a camera which features smooth slow record.

  • Smooth slow record is also included on the HRD-HC3 sony camcorder. I convinced a camp that i worked at all summer to purchase one.

    While the color quality, resolution, sharpness, and brightness of the image DOES get greatly reduced for 240FPS slow mo… its still 240FPS slow mo!

    If used properly it can yield some great results. Check out my latest video on my youtube to see, you'll be able to tell which shots were slow-motion right away.
    (other footage was shot with a DVC30)

  • Nice video Clint, looks like it was fun to put together. The quality is indeed rather horrible, especially as I've read they upsample it to HD, then you'd have to downsample it again for something like youtube.. Don't want to do that too many times 🙂

    That aside: 240FPS! Whoo! Very exciting.

  • Yes the quality on the HC3 was pretty horrible, nothing i would even consider usuable for anything "serious"

    On the upcoming sony HDR-FX7 and HDR-Z1U however the 240fps feature has been included. It also has had its max record time increased to 6 seconds.

    Obviously the video quality is going to take a major hit when this effect is used but i would not mind seeing just how bad the final 240fps HD image looks with the 3CMOS 1/4' sensor and vastly superior optics to the HC3. could be interesting

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