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Panasonic AJ-HDC27V HD Cinema Camera to Capture Adventure Challenge

(July 10, 2001)
Red Sands Production Company of Denver, Colo. has purchased Panasonic Broadcast’s new AJ-HDC27V variable frame rate progressive HD Cinema camera and AJ-HD150 VTR to support production of a high-profile international adventure competition. The AJ-HDC27V allows digital cinematographers to capture 24-frame high-definition progressive scanned images with film-like sensitivity over a wide variety of frame rates.

Greg Gillam, Red Sands’ principal and the producer/director on the multifaceted “Adventure Team” project, will deploy the AJ-HDC27V this summer and fall to capture event participants as they perform daring feats all over the globe, with competitors advancing based on their mental and physical stamina. He characterizes the event as a component of a global marketing/advertising campaign, and explains that the footage his company shoots will be repurposed for various international broadcasts (30- and 60-minute series, news spots, specialty/adventure shows), as well as for specialty HD projections and worldwide advertising efforts in print and 35 mm film.

"To date, we have shot almost exclusively in PAL as a suitable origination format for global broadcast work," said Gillam. "This summer, HD will begin to replace PAL as our ‘Rosetta stone’ and open up new possibilities as an even more comprehensive acquisition format."

The AJ-HDC27V offers 24 frame per second capture, variable-frame selectivity, 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, the company claims.

Citing no current prerogative to finish in HD (other than for specialty display), Gillam said in post he will use Panasonic’s AJ-HD150 DVCPRO HD VTR to downconvert the native 1280 x 720 progressive material to standard definition for on line editing and finishing. For specialty display purposes, he will use a local facility to conform offline edits in HD, some of which will end up burned on 35mm film. “I’m keeping my eye on the Cinewave and AVID DS as possible HD NLE’s for our 720p future,” he notes, “but for now I’m just happy to get 60 fps slomo in the can and have that incredible filmic look translate to our broadcast work.”

He said, “For Red Sands, the AJ-HDC27V is another tool, not to replace the film work the Adventure Team entails, but to supplement it. I'm really looking forward to the integration of our HD and film in a single cinema commercial--that should be interesting to see on the big screen.”

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 [email protected] 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 production-oriented features include Interval Recording, a time-lapse function that allows for a recording duration of 10 frames to 59 seconds with a pause duration (interval) from 2 seconds to 24 hours. Power consumption is a low 32 watts (39 watts fully operational with lens, VF, VTR active, and SDI output active).

Two SMPTE 292M HD-SDI outputs permit direct monitoring onto a 720p/60 compatible HD video monitor, or an SXGA resolution computer monitor via appropriate HD-SDI to 15-pin VGA computer interface converter available from several 3rd party manufacturers. If required, 10-bit resolution, full bandwidth recordings of the HD-SDI outputs may also be made directly to Panasonic’s D-5 HD Studio Mastering format. Other models in Panasonic’s HD Cinema lineup include the AJ-HDC20A 1080 interlace camera, AJ-HDC27A progressive scan camera, AJ-HD3700H Studio Mastering D-5 HD recorder and PT-D9610U Black Optic™ HD Cinema projector.

For more information on Panasonic’s HD Cinema lineup, visit
Red Sands is a commercial and entertainment production company located at the foot of the Rocky Mountains in Denver, Colorado. For more information, access the company’s web site at

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