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FOX TV uses Panasonic AJ-HDC27V Cinema Camera for Special Effects

(December 17, 2001)
Fox Television has been taking advantage of the unique variable-speed capabilities of Panasonic Broadcasts new AJ-HDC27V HD Cinema camera for special-effects sequences on several episodes of the series ?Titus.

The companys News Technology Group (Los Angeles, CA) was the first announced customer for the AJ-HDC27V, and purchased two fully-equipped cameras and two AJ-HD150 DVCPRO HD studio VTRs for use by the Fox Entertainment and allied production units in television entertainment series, comedies and specials where special effects including slow-motion are required.

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

?Titus co-executive producer John Amodeo explained that several scenes in the November 14th season premiere episode, ?Racing In The Streets, required variable speed, including a racing scene, a scene in which Titus pummels an opponent and a third, surreal scene that depicts Titus being fired at a wall like a crash-car dummy.
(?Titus appears 9:30 10:00 p.m. Wednesdays on Fox.) Amodeo said,
?We recorded at 60-fps for the smoothest slow down at the desired speeds. We also recorded at 24-fps, and in conjunction with the DVS HD Station DDR, could instantly show what a sequence looks like at different speeds, achieving great economies of time and money vs. film. To date, weve successfully used the AJ-HDC27V on three episodes of ?Titus, and will do so throughout the season whenever we have a variable-frame application.

Jim DeFilippis, Vice President, Television Engineering, News Technology Group, added, ?On ?Titus, we used the AJ-HDC27V as a slo-motion and fast motion camera system with the DVS HD Station DDR. Two of the key features of the DDR are the ability to insert a 3:2 frame cadence on the output of any video sequence--thus in the case of a p60 sequence, applying a 3:2 frame repeat cadence effectively slows down the video playback by 2/5th (40%); the second feature is variable-speed playback.

?The HD Station can adjust its video playback speed from +9999:1 to 1/9999:1. In fact we can take the p60 with 3:2 slowdown back to real time speed by applying a 2.5 speed increase. In the case of ?Titus, we used a variety of speed controls, including speeding up a sequence to make it seem faster. The combination of the AJ-HDC27V and the DDR works terrifically! DeFilippis noted that the Panasonic AJ-HDC27V has also been utilized on a new Fox series, ?The Bernie Mac Show, which appears 9:00 9 :30 p.m., Wednesdays, before ?Titus.

Providing excellent economy, long recording times and a refreshing ease of use, the AJ-HDC27V offers 24 frame per second capture for acquisition of exquisite film-like images. And with its unique variable-frame selectivity, cinematographers can choose from a wide range of other frame rates including 4 to 33-fps (in one frame increments) 36-fps, 40-fps and 60-fps providing the capability to ?overcrank or undercrank the camera to achieve fast or slow-motion effects. This is the first time this traditional film technique has been applied to a high-definition digital camera system. A truly flexible digital camera, the AJ-HDC27Vs progressive images can be directly converted to film avoiding unnecessary frame rate conversions. By utilizing Panasonic's AJ-HD3700 D-5 HD Mastering VTR, images can be format 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 cameras shutter speeds automatically track frame rate changes, ensuring consistency throughout the shoot.

The AJ-HDC27V HD Cinema camera records for 46 minutes in standard 720/60p format on DVCPRO large-size cassettes and provides exceptional sensitivity-- equivalent ASA speed rating of 1000--F13@2000 lux. Capable of shooting in a wide range of light-level conditions, the AJ-HDC27Vs 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 adjusted without affecting the overall color imagery. The camera offers a total of 12 separate scene files, which are saved internally and on a removable memory card. Panasonics HD Cinema camera lineup also includes the AJ-HDC20A 1080i60 camera and the AJ-HDC27A 720p60 camera.

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