Autor: Redaktion


HDCAM SR (Superior Resolution) is a recording and delivery format introduced by Sony in 2003.

Although tape based, it is still used by some broadcasters for mastering and delivery of HD content. It records on ½-inch magnetic tape cassettes that come from the BETACAM family. 

HDCAM SR is HD at a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels and either YCbCr 4:22 or 10-bit 4:4:4 RGB. In SQ mode HDCAM SR is 440 Mbit / s and in HQ mode it is 880 Mbit / s . In 4:2:2, it can record  two simultaneous HD streams via SDI.

The video signal is compressed using the MPEG4 SStP (Simple Studio Profile) codec. This codec is also used by the file-based HDCAM SR successor, SR Memory. The file-based recording of this codec packages the data into an MXF OP1a wrapper. The codec uses an intraframe method, producing individual frames, not interpolated intermediate images as is the case with interframe codecs.

HDCAM tapes are not to be confused (and are not compatible with) recorders or camcorders in the SR family. Although HDCAM records onto a similar ½-inch magnetic tape cassette, it differs from HDCAM SR in many areas. For example, HDCAM SR tapes have approximately twice the particle density and three times the data rate as HDCAM tapes.

HDCAM SR supports the following frame rates: 23.98PsF, 24PsF, 25PsF, 29.97PsF, 25i, 59.94i, 50P, and 59.94P. 

50P, and 59.94P frame rates are no longer available in RGB 444 HQ mode and 422 dual stream mode.

The SRW5800 / 5100  tape machines are capable of recording and playback of 2K material at  2048x1080 with 12bit 4:4:4  XYZ colour-coded signals or 10bit 4:4:4  RGB colour-coded signals, the data rate of this is 880MBits/s. Similarly, with an image size of 2048x1556 the RGB encoding is 880MBits/s. The 2K signals can achieve frame rates of 23.98PsF, 24PsF, or 25PsF.

HDCAM SR can record up to 12 uncompressed 24 bit 48 kHz audio tracks (SR memory records up to 16 tracks) and is AES3 compliant.

Like all other tape formats, the HDCAM SR delivery tape format is in decline due to migration towards file-based recording and its associated workflows and processes. It remains a viable delivery and archival format due to its low compression and high data rate. Nevertheless, Sony discontinued  the development, manufacture, and sale of professional tape-based recorders, players, and camcorders in March 2016. Sony will continue to provide support and maintenance of professional videotape technology upto 2023, and beyond. The production and supply of video tapes is not affected.

HDCAM SR Summary

  • Bit Depth: 10-bit
  • Compression: MPEG4-SStP, Intraframe / Intrafield
  • Compression Ratio: 2:1 - 2.8-1
  • Chroma-Subsampling: 4:4:4 or 4:2:2
  • Video data rate: 400 Mbit/s at SQ- , 880 Mbit/s at HQ-mode
  • Interface: HD-SDI, SDI
  • 1280x720: 23.98PsF, 24PsF, 25PsF, 50p, 59.94p
  • 1920x1080 (422): 23.98PsF, 24PsF, 25PsF, 29.97PsF, 50i, 59.94i, 50p, 59.94p
  • 1920x1080 (444SQ): 23.98PsF, 24PsF, 25PsF, 29.97PsF, 50i, 59.94i, (50p, 59.94p)
  • 1920x1080 (444HQ): 23.98PsF, 24PsF, 25PsF, 29.97PsF, 50i, 59.94i
  • 1920x1080 (422/444 Dual Stream): 23.98PsF, 24PsF, 25PsF, 29.97PsF, 50i, 59.94i, 50p, 59.94p
  • 2048x1080 & 2048x1556: 23.98PsF, 24PsF, 25PsF
  • Channels: 2 - 4
  • Encoding: PCM 48kHz / 24-bit
  • Recording Media: 1/2" cassette for HDCAM-SR (Betacam), SR Memory Cards (hi-speed flash storage)
  • Capacity: dependent on tape length / card size

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