Sony ships advanced concepts based on work we did for them

I found this review of a new Sony digital camera/camcorder called the M1. I was quite excited to see a couple of features included that were part of the set of concepts we delivered to Sony’s Digital Imaging group in a user research and innovation project about five years ago.

Two unusual operating modes related to the camera’s movie functionality that bear a little further description are accessed via switches on the rear of the camera. Even though the M1 is capable of recording movie clips for as long as there is memory space and battery life available, the ‘5SEC’ switch enables a mode where movie clips are limited to five seconds in length. Should you decide when already recording a movie that five seconds is not sufficient, you can press the Movie shutter button again to reset the counter and give yourself another five seconds of recording time. There is no way to stop the movie from recording before the most recent five second counter runs out. The idea of this, according to Sony, is to emphasise the fact that the M1 is not intended to replace a camcorder, and is better suited to taking short video clips.

Even more unusual is the Hybrid mode, accessed via a Hybrid switch. Whenever the camera is operating in Hybrid mode, it is recording video from the CCD to the camera’s internal buffer. At any time, there will be up to five seconds of video stored in the buffer, and anything older is discarded. When you press the Photo shutter button, the most recent five seconds of video is saved to the Memory Stick PRO Duo card. The camera then captures a still image, then (if enabled in the setup menu) records a further three second video clip. This is in a way reminiscent of the still image burst mode in some cameras, in that it allows the camera to help you in capturing unexpected action that happened before you pressed the shutter button.


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