The Sony CMOS sensor keeps and stores all recorded data, allowing you to play it back at a later time. What Sony is trying to create is very different from commercially available high-speed 4K cameras. The "Super Motion Camera" can capture up to four hours of 4K video footage from the moment it is turned on, allowing for complete slow motion video coverage of nearly any sport event or game. We take a behind-the-scenes peek at the development of this "game-changing" technology with Kazuyoshi Maeda, HDC-4800 Planner in the Imaging Products & Solutions Sector of Sony Corporation and two of its designers.
The difference between 4K high-speed cameras and Sony's Super Motion camera.
"4K slow cameras are already commercially available; the ones you will find on the market, however, are 4K high-speed cameras, and they are significantly different from the 4K slow-motion camera that Sony is building (and which Sony refers to as the Super Motion Camera).
The high-speed cameras currently available on the market are equipped with a memory inside the camera onto which images are recorded. However, high-speed 4K shooting requires about 10 seconds. Since it then takes about another 30 seconds to transmit the data to the unit, not all moments will be captured on camera," says Maeda.
Delivering the ultimate slow-motion video
"One of our customers who specializes in broadcasting American sports games, told us that they wanted a camera with a high frame rate that could be used for sports broadcasting.He said it would be used in sports broadcasts at moments of particular impact, for smoothly re-playing in slow motion footage taken at normal speed. This is the sort of high-quality camera he told us they wanted. 'Well, let's make one, we said,'" tells us Ryosuke Amano, HDC-4800 Imaging Module Designer.
"What Sony is aiming for, is to capture every single moment, even when shot in 4K at 480 fps, so that when all the data recorded by the camera is sent to the processor unit, the colors of the image created will match that of other cameras. Since at 8x speed in 4K you can shoot up to 4 hours, in the case of most sports it would be possible to record entire games at 8x slow speed.
In sports, for example, your focus is obviously on covering the main action, the scenes where the players are moving; but if you take a wider shot and capture something taking place away from the players, that part too can be cut out to make two videos originating from the same camera."
A big game-changer in sports videos
"What I think is really special about the images of 4K slow cameras is the fact that even the slightest details are reproduced.
For example, the snow that the Caterpillar snowmobiles play through: you can see the details, its texture, the finer parts, the big chunks thrown up in the air and so on."
"A short while ago we did a test shoot and we were able to smoothly and successfully reproduce the movements of the players in the match, down to the tiniest detail, including the twitching of their muscles.
As I was watching the video, the images were so clear and free of noise, the movement of the players so smooth, that I realized I was watching a new type of image.
The other day the camera was used to broadcast a basketball game. Not only did it have 4K high image quality, it was also slow motion. Our customer's first impression was, 'This is going to be a big game-changer!'"
"With the release of this camera, I believe that the unique value of its high-frame rate will be further enhanced by the content creators. And it gives me great satisfaction to think that we were able to provide them with the tool and the opportunity to get there," says Yusuke Oike, CMOS Image Sensor Developer at Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation.
"Thanks to this technology, we expect many amazing sensors to be released one after the other in the future. I hope that you'll be looking forward to them as much as I am!"