1 Balanced Optical SteadyShot is the world s first 1 Floating Lens Unit image stabilisation technology, capable of delivering up to 13 times 2 the performance of its predecessor and effective across all forms of videography, from wide-angle to long-range and telephotography. Read on to find out how it outshines other existing image stabilisation technology, and learn about its development from the engineers themselves. 1 As an AVCHD camcorder (as of March 2012) 2 When compared to the HDR-CX700V s standard mode Balanced Optical SteadyShot has brought about amazing improvements to image stabilisation The world s first Balanced Optical SteadyShot image stabilisation was developed with an entirely new approach, while still retaining the advantages of its recognised predecessor technology Optical SteadyShot (Active Mode). Creation of the Floating Lens Unit Former image stabilisation technology relied on moving a single corrective lens to compensate for camera shake. When the camera moved during recording, all other lenses in the barrel moved along with it, causing some image blur. With Balanced Optical SteadyShot however, the entire lens barrel is suspended within the camera unit, so that movement of the camera does not affect the lenses or image sensor. When you shake the camera, you can see the entire integrated lens and sensor mechanism move against the shake, dramatically reducing image blur. Balanced Optical SteadyShot (Predecessor technology) Blur correction using a single lens Balanced Optical SteadyShot Blur correction using the entire lens barrel By moving the lenses and image sensor together, our engineers were able to clearly demonstrate the effect of image stabilisation, even at long telephoto distances. Previously, they were able to obtain up to 10X image stabilisation for wide-angle settings and 2X for zoom. Now however, they have achieved image stabilisation for up to 13X for both wide-angle and zoom settings. This effectiveness is especially stunning when recording small, fast-moving subjects while zooming, such as when filming your children during school sports events.
2 Effectively eliminates even strong camera shake Picture quality is also much better with Balanced Optical SteadyShot than with optical image stabilisation. In the former technology, a corrective lens moves in order to perform image stabilisation. When correcting strong camera shake, it became necessary to utilise the edge of the lens. Since optical performance drops towards the edge of the lens, it led to deterioration in the picture quality, causing darkening in the four corners of the video. However, with the use of Balanced Optical SteadyShot technology, the entire lens barrel moves together, allowing the image to always pass through the centre of the lens, resulting in high quality clear images. Darkened corners caused by utilising the lens edge to compensate for strong camera shake in optical image stabilisation High quality image obtained using Balanced Optical SteadyShot technology The development team shares their secret behind Balanced Optical SteadyShot technology We asked 4 members of the Handycam development team to share their insights and the challenges they faced when engineering the revolutionary Balanced Optical SteadyShot. HDR-PJ760V/CX720V Project Leader Takao Kanzawa Lens Barrel Engineer Kazuhiro Lens Control Engineer Kosuke Product Planner Junichi Sakai Tell us what led your team to develop this new technology Kanzawa The image stabilisation of Sony camcorders has been favourably received by the industry, and surveys also show that this feature is important to consumers. The lack of efficient image blur correction has been the main cause of dissatisfaction among customers. Therefore, we conducted several studies and our results led to the development of the Floating Lens Unit as the best technique for image stabilisation. When we were thinking about how to upgrade the image stabilisation feature, we analysed the pros and cons of various techniques, and this technique emerged as the most effective. Professional cameras used in the film industry make use of a large device known as a stabiliser, which fixes the camera to the body of the cameraman, allowing him to record highly stable images while moving. One idea we considered was whether or not to put this device into the Handycam. We considered using the well-known Gimbal mechanism, but if integrated into the Handycam, it would have made the unit extremely large. Our objective was to keep its size small enough to fit in the palm of the user. One of the highlights was the development of the new motor. The unit as a whole needed to be able to move a weight of times the weight moved in the existing technique involving the moving of just the lens, and this required a powerful motor. This is why we had to develop a new, slim motor.
3 The newly developed slim motor One notable difference from optical image stabilisation technology (in which only the corrective lens moves) is that Balanced Optical SteadyShot technology requires a powerful motor, capable of moving the whole lens unit which is heavy. Since a powerful motor is also likely to be large, that made it difficult for us to install it in a camcorder for the consumer market, where the trend is towards a reduction in size. By developing this new slim motor, Sony was able to achieve both size reduction and driving power. There were a variety of problems related to the sound of the motor as well as power consumption, but by reviewing the entire process from the design of the unit to the manufacturing process, we were able to implement this technology as the first of its kind in the world. Yaw rotating motor Lens barrel The lens unit enables precise and delicate movements, yet boasts high durability, and can be deemed the gem of Sony s product development technology. Pitch rotating motor Please tell us about the difficulties you had and the hardships you faced in the course of development The lenses and the image sensor are the heart of the Handycam, so we strived to ensure that the housing unit was strong enough to protect them. In the previous model, we maintained durability by inserting a frame into the body around the lens unit. However, the lens unit in this model is bigger, so we could not insert a frame around it. Instead, we needed to reinforce the unit itself to function as a frame. Moreover, the motor is an extremely sensitive component, and hence we even took special steps to arrange for a newly designed tray to carry it from the factory. The toughest task was the development of the algorithm to isolate the shaking of the camera from the photographic movement of the camera. We worked really hard on this. By achieving a blur correction 13 times more efficient, we also needed to control the side effects which are 13 times stronger. In physical terms, it was like moving an object which was 100 times heavier than a single lens, and this was the most difficult thing to bring under control.
4 Algorithm to differentiate camera shake from photographic movement Angular velocity sensor (to detect camera shake) Real time waveform analysis Signal isolation Camera shake Intended camera movement Outstanding image stabilisation performance Achieves smooth movement of the camera Software to differentiate camera shake from intended camera movement plays a vital role in image stabilisation. We developed our own algorithm to differentiate small camera shake which happens when holding the camera, from the swift movement of the camera that is intended. These intended movements should not be mistaken for camera shake. We developed an algorithm that analysed the waveforms for the shaking of the camera in real time, and isolated camera shake from intended movement, and in doing so, we were able to reduce the delay in tracking intentional camera movements. Kanzawa It is crucial to control the sound made by the motor drive, which is used to move the large lens unit. The initial trial piece made tremendous noise. The vibrations of the motor were picked up by the external components and in turn converted to noise, which could be heard even from a metre away. In most cases, enough room is created around the microphone to solve this kind of noise problems. However, there is no gap around the lens unit, and the parts are so closely placed that it is difficult to position the microphone even slightly apart. Every department was involved to solve this problem. Various innovative solutions were implemented to keep the noise down to a level where it does not affect the videography. Sakai The first prototype we developed was extremely large, and until the very end, we were anxious about whether it was acceptable. But once the product was finished, we were amazed at how effective the image stabilisation was, and we have also received favourable reviews from our customers.
5 How would you like people to use Handycam, and what are the points that you would like the user to focus on? When you are shooting a video, you don t always keep your eyes on the camcorder s screen. It s likely you will look up to watch your son shoot a goal in a football match, for instance. A lot of the time, this is the instant when the camera shakes, and as a result, you might miss capturing the moment you wanted to record. We developed this feature to ensure that you get a clear, steady video footage even in such cases. I want you to use this camcorder at sporting events, like your child s sports day. From an engineer s perspective, I would like to highlight the strength and durability. Even without turning the camera on, the lens unit still moves when being carried, so there will be degradation of the components within. Therefore, we calculated the number of times the unit will be carried and used from the time the customer purchases the camera until it can no longer be used, then used these calculations to design its strength and durability. The lens unit alone has cleared the durability test a million times, hence we have absolute confidence in its durability. Kanzawa As a developer, there are so many features that I would like you to take note of. For instance, the cover around the lens is the result of trials with about 100 different samples which we made before deciding on this colour. However, what I want most of all is for our customers to visit our Sony stores and actually hold the camera and use it. I would like them to witness the effectiveness of the image stabilisation out for themselves. Sakai Not just the picture quality, but also the sound quality is good. What s more, the Handycam HDR-PJ760V also allows you to view your videos through a projector. Since this is a highly feature-rich and efficient product, I can recommend it with confidence. I want our customers to go to the stores to personally experience its effectiveness.
6 More beautiful video images using Balanced Optical SteadyShot Once you turn the power on and start shooting, you can see how the lens unit moves against the movement of the camera unit. This structure known as the Balanced Optical SteadyShot successfully controls the shaking of the camera during videography. This is especially effective during videography that involves frequent use of the zoom function. The high quality of the video clips you can obtain will amaze you. You must personally experience the compact Handycam which is equipped with Balanced Optical SteadyShot, the first of its kind in the world. A high end model with a built-in projector for the best videography experience The Digital HD Camcorder Captures and projects your precious moments in breathtaking Full HD The Digital HD Camcorder Makes it easy and fun to share your memories The Digital HD Camcorder HDR-PJ790VE/E HDR-PJ660VE/E HDR-PJ430E The information published in this page is accurate as of 2nd August 2012, and is subject to change without notice.
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