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Panasonic Unveils Handheld Solid-State Memory HD Camcorder(April 18, 2005)
Representing a quantum leap in camcorder technology, Panasonic Broadcast introduced today at NAB 2005 the AG-HVX200, the world's first 1080i/720p/480i multi-format camcorder.
Offering flexibility and versatility never before available to video professionals, the AG-HVX200 DVCPRO HD P2 hand-held camcorder provides 1080i and 720p recording with the production-proven image quality of 100 Mbps DVCPRO HD. The AG-HVX200 shoots on a P2 card in 1080/60i, 30p and 24p; in 720/60p, 30p and 24p; and in DVCPRO50, DVCPRO or DV. By eliminating all moving parts from the camera recording path when shooting on a P2 card, Panasonic has ensured the AG-HVX200 is extremely reliable and resistant to environmental hazards, such as the shock, vibration, and humidity that threaten camcorders based on mechanical recording transports.
"Television viewers have been promised that high definition will deliver beautiful, widescreen image and audio quality into their homes. To deliver on this promise, professional video users need to shoot with a cost-effective HD camcorder that is not bit rate starved or suffering from motion artifacts," said John Baisley, President, Panasonic Broadcast & Television Systems Company. "The AG-HVX200 is the revolutionary HD camera users have been dreaming about, and have also come to expect from Panasonic.
"The AG-HVX200 inherits many of the functions of our popular, shoulder-mount AJ-HDC27 VariCam(R) camcorder, including the exceptional DVCPRO HD quality images, variable frame rates to capture fast-speed and slow-speed action, and a cine-like gamma curve and cine-like color matrix to emulate the look of film. In addition, the AG-HVX200 has a Mini-DV tape recording capability that allows customers to shoot 16:9 images on DV tape and edit with existing workflow."
Seventeen U.S. TV stations; Birns & Sawyer, Inc., a premiere Hollywood, CA rental/sales firm; and NRK, the public broadcaster in Norway; have all placed orders for the AG-HVX200.
"NRK has a long experience of working with handheld cameras in many different applications. We are excited about the development of the AG-HVX200. In particular, its 720/50p capabilities (in PAL mode) and the IT capabilities of P2 are an important step for NRK towards a progressive HD migration," said Arild Hellgren, technical director in NRK.
Steve Smith, Vice President of Engineering and Technology, Liberty Corporation, who is purchasing AG-HVX200s for four of its stations converting to DVCPRO P2, said, "Our number one priority was to find a small, handheld camcorder to use in daily operations, and Panasonic's new P2 recording camcorder fulfills this need incredibly well, plus it records in both standard definition and high definition."
Tailor made for production and postproduction, the DVCPRO HD format offers users cost-effective, proven intra-frame compression, where each frame stands on it own for editing, and its full 4:2:2 color sampling allows the image to hold up under color correction. Additionally, the DVCPRO HD format includes robust uncompressed audio, which is perfect for audio sweetening in post production. In addition, established third-party nonlinear editing systems such as Apple, Avid and Canopus are available to work with the AG-HVX200 and DVCPRO HD via the IEEE 1394 interface.
"Apple and Panasonic have delivered many industry firsts, such as a Firewire enabled high definition VTR and native support for real-time DVCPRO HD in the Emmy Award-winning Final Cut Pro editing software," said Rob Schoeben, Apple's vice president of Application Marketing. "This year the combination of Final Cut Pro 5 with P2 support and Panasonic's new solid state HD camcorder will change the economics of professional HD production forever."
"Avid was one for the first companies to support both Panasonic's DVCPRO HD and the P2 series of products, so we are excited to see these two technologies coming together with the launch of the handheld P2-HD AG-HVX200," said Chas Smith, General Manager of Avid Video. "Given our knowledge and experience around these formats, we expect to deliver support in Avid products right around the time of the new camera's debut. Most importantly, our customers can look forward to ongoing compatibility and interoperability between our companies' products, given our mutually strong commitment to MXF."
"The AG-HVX200 handheld camcorder is impressive. The P2 format has been making great headway in ENG. Adding the outstanding quality of DVCPRO HD capture and flexibility of the handheld form factor makes it even more compelling for broadcasters," said Hiro Yamada, Founder and Chairman of the Board of Canopus. "EDIUS's realtime mixed HD/SD format editing, full frame rate resolution output, scalable design and a fast, flexible interface offers broadcaster professionals the perfect editing companion for Panasonic's new camcorder."
With the AG-HVX200, HD and SD video is recorded on the P2 card as IT-friendly MXF files that can be downloaded to a nonlinear editing system or server, or edited virtually instantly from the P2 card by connecting an IEEE 1394 or USB2.0 interface. P2 cards mount like a regular hard drive from a NLE system's point of view, which eliminates the time-taking task of digitizing footage. This speeds up workflow and ensures a smooth, fast acquisition-through-editing system that integrates the benefits of IT throughout the production and newsgathering process. For newsgathering, the AG-HVX200's pictures are enhanced with its built-in news gamma curve that assists the ENG photographer by suppressing over-saturation in highlight areas during sudden contrast changes. With its pre-record function, the AG-HVX200 starts recording from the moment it's switched on, so users can feel confident that they won't miss an important shot. With easy selection of SD or HD recording, news organizations that commit to the AG-HVX200 today are assured a future-proof migration to HD news on their own timetable.
For unprecedented mobility and ease of use, the AG-HVX200 uniquely combines a native progressive 16:9 3-CCD high definition imaging system and a HD-quality Leica Dicomar wide-angle zoom lens with a super-smooth, cam-driven manual zoom, focus ring, and aperture dial in a rugged package. On the newly-announced 8G P2 card, the AG-HVX200 records for 32 minutes in DVCPRO or DV, 20 minutes in 720p/24, 16 minutes in DVCPRO50, and eight minutes in 1080i/60 and 720p/60. The camcorder includes two P2 card slots to permit continuous recording, and the cards are hot swappable to assure non-stop recording. Like VariCam, the
AG-HVX200 can capture fast or slow action in 720p at various frame rates. The AG-HVX200's 4:3 viewfinder displays a 16:9 image in letterbox, which allows the user to view vital camera operating information in areas above and below the image. In addition, its 3.5" LCD monitor is available to assist shooting as well as to view and select thumbnail clips to speed editing. The LCD monitor allows random access to the thumbnail-displayed scenes (on the P2 card) for instant playback and the creation of an in-camera storyboard.
Audio performance is superb with 4-channel non-compressed 48KHz/16-bit digital audio in DVCPRO HD and DVCPRO50 and two channels in DVCPRO and DV. The HVX200 is loaded with system interfaces (including IEEE 1394 and USB 2.0), and professional interfaces including two XLR audio (with +48 volt phantom power) inputs, a component (D4) output, composite in/out, S-video in/out, audio (RCA) in/out, and headphone output.
For operator convenience, the camcorder is highly customizable with features including six user scene files, three user setup buttons, and Camera Setup Memory (up to eight camera setups can be saved to a SD Memory card). Other key features include Shot Mark and Time Code Stamp functions, and interval recording in Mini-DV on tape. The AG-HVX200's targeted weight is under five pounds.
The AG-HVX200 will be available in Fall 2005 at a suggested list price of $5,995.
Panasonic's DVCPRO P2 series products are fully compatible with DVCPRO, the industry's standard for digital newsgathering, and provide a seamless migration path to DVCPRO HD. DVCPRO P2 offers nonlinear acquisition and instant access to material, high-speed file transfer, laptop field editing without requirement for proxy videos, and compatibility with off-the-shelf data storage drives for low-cost archiving, while eliminating traditional digitizing and ingesting operations. The core DVCPRO P2 products eliminate transports and mechanisms, resulting in a significant maintenance cost-savings because of the absence of any moving parts that can break down or wear out from repetitive use. P2 cards can be re-used, since a card can be re-written on without performance degradation. Moreover, DVCPRO P2 products are resistant to environmental stresses such as shock and vibration. For more information, visit www.panasonic.com/p2.
About Panasonic Broadcast
Panasonic Broadcast & Television Systems Co. is a leading supplier of broadcast, professional video and presentation products and systems. Panasonic Broadcast is a unit company of Panasonic Corporation of North America. The company is the North American headquarters of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. (NYSE: MC) of Japan, and the hub of its U.S. marketing, sales, service and R&D operations For more information on Panasonic Broadcast products, access the company's web site at www.panasonic.com/broadcast.
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