Why has Sharp just announced an 8K camcorder?

Written by Simon Wyndham

SharpThe 8C-B60A is could make you rethink how quickly 8K will catch on

New professional camcorder from Sharp could make us reconsider how quickly 8K will become commonplace.

No sooner have we started to accept that 4K is pretty much becoming par for the course these days than Sharp enters the fray with a resolution bomb in the form of the 8C-B60A. A 60p 8K camcorder that looks set to cause some waves.

The astute among you will most probably be asking what is so special about an 8K camera release? After all, companies such as RED embraced the 8K format a good while ago, while Sony, too, has it’s own offerings. But there are a few things that make this new announcement different. For one thing it was totally unexpected. Secondly, the 8C-B60A is clearly designed with much more in the way of EFP/ENG sensibilities.

It uses a S35mm chip, and it is adorned by a PL mount. So far, so cinema. But the body has been designed with built in ND filters, an integrated top handle with viewfinder attachment, audio in XLR jacks, an LCD side display for audio levels etc, an SD card slot for recording proxy files, HLG gamma capability, and an optional shoulder pad with VCT-14 tripod plate compatibility.

This, then, is a camcorder that is very clearly aimed at location broadcast shooting. Whether that’s for documentary, or event filming. But what of storage? Surely it needs to be tethered to a truck? Not so. The camcorder utilises an SSD slot for drives, to which it can then record 4:2:2 10-bit 8K images using the Grass Valley HQX codec, allowing for 40 minutes of footage to be laid down onto a 2TB SSD pack. Footage can be output simultaneously to internal recording, uncompressed, via a quad-link 12G-SDI output.

The 8C-B60A weighs in at a pretty hefty 5kg for the body and draws 80W when not recording. This is falling into the Arri Alexa style weight range and power consumption category. That Easyrig you bought will be making its money back for years to come.

Okay, so the question on many peoples lips will be ‘why?’ Not withstanding the fact that Sharp already make 8K displays, undoubtedly something that has influenced its progression, it is also an unavoidable fact that we are heading towards 8K and possibly beyond anyway. Each time we have had a resolution bump the same questions get asked and same arguments ensue. But eventually we realise that oversampling is a good thing. 4K is great for HD output, and so 8K is wonderful for 4K output. Rinse and repeat. So any debate about why we need resolution increases is really a moot one. Just like stills, video is heading ever upwards. And this camcorder is the proof.

Sharp’s press release follows on the next page. But don't empty your wallets just yet. At $70,000 for the body alone it isn't exactly a small scale purchase.

 

Sharp Announces 8C-B60A 8K Professional Camcorder

World’s First*1: Realizes Shooting, Recording, Playback, and Line Output of 8K (60p*2) Images in One Package*3

Sharp Corporation announces the release of the 8C-B60A 8K (60p) professional camcorder, a world’s first, integrating capabilities for video shooting and recording, playback, and line output. The 8C-B60A was developed with technical cooperation from Astrodesign, Inc.*4 (Head office: Ota, Tokyo; President and CEO: Shigeaki Suzuki), a company possessing 8K image technologies.

Besides the ability to shoot images in high resolution 8K (60p), this camcorder is designed to offer ease of use in shooting and recording and to lessen the burden on the camera operator in the post-recording editing process. The 8C-B60A’s image pickup device is a large, Super 35-mm-equivalent CMOS image sensor with 33 million pixels.

Compression utilizes a coding method*5 that exerts minimal burden on the CPU, thus enabling efficient 8K (60p)-image editing and approximately 40 minutes of continuous recording (when using the bundled 2-TB SSD pack). Because it allows real-time output of 8K uncompressed images at the same time that recording is taking place, the 8C-B60A can be used for live transmissions as well.

With this professional-use camcorder as the entry point to the creation of 8K images, Sharp is striving to disseminate 8K image content in its aim of establishing an 8K ecosystem at the earliest possible date.

The 8C-B60A 8K professional camcorder will be on display at the Sharp booth at the International Broadcast Equipment Exhibition 2017 (Inter BEE 2017) at the Makuhari Messe in Mihama, Chiba, Japan from November 15 to 17, 2017.

Product name: 8K Professional Camcorder
Model name: 8C-B60A
Suggested retail price: 8,800,000 yen (tax not included)
Date of introduction: December 2017

Major Features
1. World’s first camcorder integrating capabilities for video shooting and recording, playback, and line output for 8K (60p).
2. Compatible with 8K (60p) shooting thanks to a large, Super 35-mm-equivalent CMOS image sensor with 33 million pixels.
3. Realizes 4:2:2 sampling*6 and 10-bit recording of 8K (60p) images. A compression method that exerts low burden on the CPU makes editing more efficient and allows approximately 40 minutes of continuous recording (when using 2TB SSD pack).
4. Real-time output of uncompressed 8K (60P) images can be performed simultaneously with recording (equipped with quad-link 12G-SDI output terminal), making possible live 8K transmissions and replay output after recording.
5. Built-in SSD back slot for recording media. Realizes one-person operation at 8K shooting with V-mount battery drive.
*1 As of July 2017. (based on Sharp survey)
*2 Displays 60 frames per second (progressive).
*3 The 8C-B60A requires a commercially available lens, viewfinder, microphone, etc.
*4 Business fields: Design, manufacture, and sale of video and still image peripherals and software, HDTV studio peripherals, digital-broadcast-related peripherals, and display measuring instruments; sale of modules and systems related to communication, control, and measurement.
*5 Grass Valley HQX Codec
*6 One of the standardized methods for sampling digital video signals.

Specifications

Camera Section

Image sensor (number of effective pixels): Super 35 mm equivalent single plate CMOS image sensor (approx. 33 million pixels)
Built-in neutral density filter: Clear, 1/4ND, 1/16ND, 1/64ND
Lens mount: PL mount
Electronic shutter: 1/24, 1/48, 1/50, 1/60, 1/100, 1/120, 1/240, 1/480, 1/960, 1/1920
Variable shutter (1/24 sec. to 1/10000 sec.). Frame frequency: 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94, 60 Hz
Gamma curve: HLG (dynamic range 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1200, 2000%), Log gamma
Color gamut: ITU-R BT.2020
Input/Output Terminal: SDI output, BNC×4, 4K output and 8K output switchable
At the 4K outputquad-link 3G-SDI, 4:2:2 2SI
At the 8K output: quad-link 12G-SDI, 4:2:2 2SI
BNC×1
For HD WFM (with focus assist function): 1.5G-SDI 4:2:2 (Gamma HLG/Log Gamma compatible)
Analog audio input: AUDIO IN XLR type 3 pin (concave) × 2 (compatible with phantom power supply)
Mic input: MIC IN XLR type 5-pin (stereo) (concave) × 1 (compatible with phantom power supply)
Others: MADI audio input, TC IN / OUT, genlock, lens remote, headphone output, speaker output, 10 GbE (for file transfer)

Recording Section

SD card
SDHC × 1 (for proxy recording and firmware update)
Storage: SSD pack (MM-210). Number of slots ×1
Duration: Approx. 40 min. (when 2TB SSD pack used)
Video Codec: Grass Valley HQX Codec (7680×4320 4:2:2 10-bit)
Video compression rate: 6 Gbps (8K 60p: approx. 1/7 compression)
Audio format: Linear PCM 24-bit 48kHz 32 ch

General

Power supply: DC 12V to 17V
Weight: Approx. 5 kg (body unit)
External dimensions (W × H × D): W155 × H188 × D312 mm (not including protrusions)
Power consumption: Approx. 80W (non-recording)

Accessories

AC/DC adapter: 130W 13V DC output AC/DC adapter XLR 4-pin (concave)
MM-210 SSD pack: 2 TB x 1
User manual
CD-ROM x 1
File transfer software
CD-ROM: 10GbE (during Pear to pear network)
Data transfer software via transfer BOX
Compatible both Win and Mac

Tags: Production

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