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April 2011

Canon has announced details of firmware that will significantly upgrade the features of its Canon XF305 and XF300 professional camcorders, including the ability to configure two XF-300 series units for 3D HD video capture.

The firmware will upgrade the XF300-series camcorders to include Canon’s 3D Assist Function (which allows two units to be easily set up for 3D HD video), as well as an updated Scan Reverse function, Double Slot Recording for instantaneous backup, and the option to disable Relay Recording.

3D Shooting Capability with Axis Shift

Canon’s 3D Assist Function facilitates the setup of two XF305 or XF300 camcorders when used together to capture 3D HD video. The new firmware includes the ability to perform Optical Image Stabilizer (OIS) Lens Shift to aid in optically aligning two XF305 or XF300 camcorders, plus a Focal Length Guide to display the zoom position of each camera in relation to each other to help to calibrate zoom settings. This adjustment can be done through the menu system while the camcorders are mounted on a rig or tripod.

Once aligned, the amount of the angle-of-view change is displayed after zoom adjustment, preventing camera misalignment and simplifying adjustment. This is similar to the 3D shooting functionality that’s already found in the Canon’s XF105 and XF100 pro camcorders.

Scan Reverse for 3D rigs

The new firmware updates the Scan Reverse functionality of XF300-series camcorders to allow for recorded images to be flipped on the horizontal axis, vertical axis, or both simultaneously to facilitate recording with 3D mirror rigs.

Double Slot Recording

This new function allows the camcorders to record footage simultaneously to both card slots for instant backup of important footage and files. It is ideal for use in production environments to ensure multiple copies are secured for each take.

Relay Recording On/Off

Relay Recording - an innovative feature to aid ease of use where footage is seamlessly recorded to the second CF card as the first fills up - can now be turned off to prevent capture data from automatically being recorded to the second card. This allows the second card to be protected from recording and to be used only when designated, or it allows the user to only copy or back up select takes to the card.

The firmware upgrade for the XF300-series camcorders is expected to be available for download between July and September 2011.

Canon’s XF300-series camcorders were originally announced in April 2010 and employ the XF Codec, an MPEG-2 4:2:2 50Mbps codec for native 1920x1080 HD video recording onto affordable, universally available Compact Flash (CF) cards. Uniting video, audio and metadata into a single file, the Canon XF305 and XF300 camcorders use an MXF (Material eXchange Format) File Wrapper, a widely supported open-source format, to maximise compatibility with existing industry infrastructure and non-linear editing (NLE) systems.

The Canon XF305 and XF300 professional camcorders include a Canon 18x HD L-series lens, three Canon developed and designed native 1920x1080 CMOS image sensors, and Canon’s own XF Codec that delivers the extreme colour detail required for accurate chroma-keying, colour-grading and compositing for digital filmmaking. The XF305 also features industry-standard HD-SDI output, genlock, and SMPTE time code (in/out) terminals for multi-camera, broadcasting or 3D production.

To watch a film about the capabilities of Canon’s XF305 and XF300 camcorders please click here.