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Panasonic Intros 24p HD Cinema Cam
Panasonic enters the HD Cinema market with AJ-HDC24A

by Stephen Schleicher
[email protected]

Panasonic has announced the AJ-HDC24A HD Cinema Camera, the first multi-frame-rate progressive-scan digital high definition camera. The AJ-HDC24A shoots at 24 frames progressive, in addition to others selected by the operator, including 60, 12 and more. By allowing multi-frame rates, it allows the cinematographer to "overcrank" or "undercrank" to alter the recorded speed of the action to create a specific effect.

Because the AJ-HDC24A shoots at 24p, the images can be directly converted to film, which avoids the 3:2 pulldown issues that can sometimes cause a reduction in image quality and artifacts. Because of the variable frame rate, the camera can also shoot in 25p, which makes it a "universal" camera for shooting in NTSC and PAL formats.

The AJ-HDC24A HD Cinema camera records 46 minutes of 24-frame, 720p HD images onto a single DVCPRO HD compact cassette. For recording a full bandwidth HD signal, the camera has an SDI video output, which can send the signal to an HD VTR, which, according to Panasonic, is necessary for cinema-quality output.

The camera weighs 15 pounds and is compact enough to run off shoulder or SteadiCam—or mounted on a jib arm, helicopter and car mounts.

For shooting in the same location or similar situations, the AJ-HDC24A offers 12 assignable scene file setups, four of which can be stored inside the camcorder, while the other eight files are stored on removable Secure Digital (SD) or MultiMediaCard.

With a maximum gain of 36dB high quality images can be shot in low lighting conditions all the way to 0.7 lux.

The AJ-HDC24A includes two channels of 16-bit, 48 kHz digital audio, one mic and two line-level inputs, and automatic gain control that Panasonic says will capture high-quality sound without audible artifacts found in other auto gain control.

To deliver the "film look," the AJ-HDC24A's advanced color correction scheme utilizes a 12-pole color matrix that allows very specific colors to be set, especially when critical color matching is vital.

Standard features of the AJ-HDC24A include two user-customized buttons for setting either Super Iris; Super Gain; Super Black; Black Stretch; switch Audio CH1/CH2 inputs to front/rear; a six-speed Electronic Shutter with Synchro-Scan capability; 0.66" Standard Lens Mount; Dual ND and CC filters; two HD-SDI outputs; genlock video input; timecode I/O; and SMPTE time code.

Additional information on the AJ-HDC24A Multi-Frame Rate HD Cinema Camera will be announced at NAB 2001. For more information, visit http://www.panasonic.com.

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