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Panasonic's NAB announcements

After reporting strong growth in HD products and their P2 product line as well as a strong story on their Plasma screens, Panasonic rolled into their new product annoucements. First off was a 103" 60P Plasma screen for fall this year. Panasonic will be, once again, showing this screen on their NAB Booth.

The majority of the presentation focused on their DVCPRO HD product line, which started with a review of the AG-HVX200. Panasonic reported selling 10,000 HVX200 units since shipping started at the end of December.

Joe Facchini, Director – Product Marketing, Panasonic Broadcast & TV Systems, introduced the new products, starting with an update to their extremely poplular AJ-HDX900 to an HD-capable version.

AJ- HDX900 Camcorder

This revision of the popular AJ-SDX900, the AJ-HDX900 adds support for the DVCPRO HD codec and a multi-format recording system that supports 1080 59.94i/50i/29.97p/25p/23.98p/23.98pA and 720 59.94p/50p/29.97p/25p/23.98p.

The AJ-HDX900 features a native 16:9, 2/3” HD, 1-million pixel 3-CCD system with low light shooting down to 0.032 lux (at+62 dB gain). It is equipped with 14-bit A/D DSP circuits that provide optimum picture quality, color reproduction and luminance gradation. The camcorder offers three Cine-like gamma modes to replicate the look and feel of film. The AJ-HDX900 is compatible with a wide range 2/3” quality lenses and accessories.

The AJ-HDX900 will be available in July at a suggested list price of US$26,500 (plus viewfinder).

AJ-HD1400 HD VTR

This is the successor to HD1200 with all of the AJ-HD1200’s capabilities but including Assemble and Insert editing, It pllays DVCPRO 50, DVCPRO 100, DV tapes as well as DVCPRO HD. This deck now comes with IEEE1394 and HD-SDI built in (no extra boards to buy) and will be available in July 2006 at a MSRP of US$25,000.

The AJ-HD1400 delivers all its predecessor’s capabilities plus comprehensive assemble/insert editing functions controlled by either the RS422 9-pin or IEEE 1394 interfaces. The VTR features HD-SDI in/out and SD-SDI out for applications such as line recording and in-studio production, and supports VANC metadata (UMID, CC, et al.) and also encoder remote control (component/composite style). It incorporates a built-in up/down/cross converter, so that users can play back DVCPRO50, DVCPRO and DV tapes and output a converted HD signal. Utilizing the advanced DVCPRO HD codec, the AJ-HD1400 supports superior 4:2:2 color sampling and independent frame compression.

All formats from around the world are supported inlcluding  1080/59.94, 1080/50i, 720/60p, 720/59.94p and 720/50p, and it can convert from an AJ-HDC27 VariCam 50p recording (over 60p) source to native 720p/50 or PAL output.

AK-0HC1500G multipurpose HD camera

The AK-HC1500G also debuts as the first multi-purpose camera to feature a variable frame rate functionality and cine gamma curve, features that have distinguished the company’s popular VariCam HD Cinema™ Camcorder including true 24P recording.

The HD production quality, high-performance AK-HC1500G incorporates proprietary Panasonic innovations, including new IT-CCDs, 14-bit A/D converter and digital signal processors to deliver crisp, sharp high definition images from dark to bright areas. The 1-megapixel, 2/3-inch 3-CCDs produce outstanding color accuracy, with improved on-chip lenses to achieve a standard sensitivity of F10.0 at 2000 lux and a smear level of less than -130 dB. The AK-HC1500 uses CCD accumulation and horizontal/vertical addition to create a gain increase of up to +68 dB (with a minimum illumination of 0.015 dB).

The AK-HC1500G offers both 1080 (60i/59.94i, 50i, 30p, 25p/24p) and 720 (60p, 59.94p/50p) high definition output. The camera boasts a wide range of variable frame rates (4-fps to 60-fps in single-frame increments) for “overcranked” and “undercranked” off-speed in-camera effects, and its CineGamma™ curve reproduces images that closely match the latitude of film stocks. 
Other key features include a standard HD SDI output; a 12-axis color correction circuit for fine adjustment of saturation and hue; an Electronic Extender for magnifying the image by 2X; genlock; DC (+12V) operation; a mini 15-pin connector; tally function; and iris and zoom/focus controls. The camera has a low power consumption of about 18 watts and compact footprint of 3.5” W x 4.6” H x 6.2” D and weighs in at just 3.3 pounds.
 

The AK-HC1500G is available now at a suggested list price of US$19,950.

Details of Pansonic’s broadcast cameras and P2 workflow accessories will be posted later tonight, but include:

  • A 720 P 1080i, 480i or 576i Progressive 2/3" CCDs – the AJ HPC2000 with sensitivity at really low light. Five P2 card slot, each hot-swappable to record up to 40 minutes continuous recording for US$27,000 in Jan 2007;
  • AJ HPM200, P2 mobile recorder based on the P2 laptop editor, with 6 P2 card slots, 9" widescreen LCD monitor, SD card slot. Jog/shuttle. $12K available in November;
  • AJ-HPS1500 P2 studio recorder – for ingest, up/down conversion and comes with five P2 slots, FireWire, USB 2, HD-SDI and 3.5" LCD. VTR coontrols with large capacity removable storage. January 2007 with a likely price of US$19,000;
  • AJ PCD20 Five Slot P2 drive – data transfer over FireWire or USB2 – Mac and PC available July $1980.

The other long term announcement was the use of an intra-frame version of the Advanced Video Codec (H.264) that will double the record duration of P2 media at the same high quality. More on that development later.

Jan Crittenden, Product Line Business Manager for DVCPRO, DVPRO 50 and DVCPRO HD will be interviewed on Creative Planet’s Digital Production BuZZ on Wednesday April 26th at 3:15 pm Pacific Time.

Philip Hodgetts, from the Panasonic Press Briefing.

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