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Chicago Film Rental Facility Acquires Panasonic's AJ-HDC27V HD Cinema Camera

(August 02, 2001)
SMS Productions, Inc. has purchased Panasonic Broadcast’s new AJ-HDC27V variable frame rate progressive HD Cinema camera for both rentals and its own projects.

The AJ-HDC27V allows digital cinematographers to capture film-like 24-frame high-definition progressive scanned images; in addition the camera also provides a wide range of variable frame rates (4 to 33-fps, 36, 40 and 60-fps) for off-speed capture situations.

SMS principal Man-Sung Son, who established the facility 17 years ago, has been a fixture in the Chicago film community for the past 40 years. In addition to selling, renting and servicing film equipment, SMS produces theatrical features, music videos, commercials, and corporate videos. Mr. Son is a guest lecturer in film at Columbia College (Chicago, IL), and founded the non-profit Chicago Academy of Visual Arts, specializing in advanced instruction for film school graduates and videographers.

“Traditionally, there have been many film cameras, each with its own specific purpose,” said Mr. Son. “Until now, digital video has not been so versatile, but the AJ-HDC27V, with its variable frame rate, gives us an invaluable feature--choice.” He said that he will use the AJ-HDC27V alongside Super 16 and 35mm to shoot a demo tape illustrating how the different formats can work together. The Panasonic camera will be immediately available for rentals. Early next year, Mr. Son plans to produce an action feature that will be shot with the AJ-HDC27V, with Super 16 and 35mm segments.

A truly flexible digital camera, the AJ-HDC27V’s progressive images can be directly converted to film avoiding unnecessary frame rate conversions. By utilizing Panasonic's AJ-HD3700 D-5 HD Studio Mastering VTR, images can be converted to 1080p/24 -- a Universal Master from which 25fps PAL programming can be easily derived. The AJ-HDC27V can also create “motion-blur” and “warp-speed” special effects in real-time by shooting at very low frame rates without shutter. The camera’s shutter speeds automatically track frame rate changes, ensuring consistency throughout the shoot.

The AJ-HDC27V HD Cinema camera records for 46 minutes on DVCPRO HD format large-size cassettes and provides exceptional sensitivity—at 24fps its equivalent ASA speed rating is approximately 1000 (without shutter) or F13@2000 lux. Capable of shooting in a wide range of light-level conditions, the AJ-HDC27V’s programmable gain preamplifier can be set to optimize signal levels--operators can choose from -6 dB to +36 dB in 12 steps. Its advanced color correction scheme utilizes a 12-pole color matrix that allows very specific colors to be set without affecting the overall picture color imagery. The camera offers a selection of 12 separate camera set-ups, which can be saved internally or on a removable memory card.

Other models in Panasonic’s HD Cinema lineup include the AJ-HDC20A 1080 interlace camera, AJ-HDC27A 720 progressive scan camera, AJ-HD3700H Studio Mastering D-5 HD recorder and PT-D9610U Black Optic HD Cinema projector. For more information, visit

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