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Panasonic rolls out AG-HVX200 camcorder

Clerks director Kevin Smith speaks at event By John Virata

In Ballroom D of the Universal Hilton Hotel at the doorstep to the world famous San Fernando Valley, and across town from the 2005 DV Expo in Los Angeles, Panasonic Corp. introduced the Panasonic AG-HVX200, the successor to the company's popular AG-DVX100 to a group of journalists, indie filmmakers and others. The company touted the new camera, slated for a December 29, 2005 ship date as the next generation camera that will enable independent filmmakers, news gatherers and others to economically create content in the HD format using not tape, but Panasonic's P2 solid state memory cards.

Panasonic CTO Paul Liao spoke of the virtues of the new camera while at the same time, dismissing the HDV format, of which the AG-HVX200 does not support. "We see the AG-HVX200 as a link to the evolution to a true consumer HD camcorder," said Liao. "The right answer for HD is not HDV. Not now and not in the future."

AG-HVX200 captures to P2 memory cards

The AG HVX200, scheduled to ship for $5,995 ($6,995 with with two 4GB P2 cards, $9,995 with with two 8GB P2 cards) can capture images in 21 video formats, including such formats as HD 1080i and 720p, 1080/60i, 30p, 24p, 720/60p, 30p and 24p; 50mbps DVCPRO50, 25Mbps DVCPRO, and DV. The camera features a pair of P2 card slots, with cards currently available in 4GB and 8GB configurations. Depending on the mode the camera is set to shoot at, sample recording times range from four minutes per GB in DVCPRO format, to one minute per GB in DVCPRO HD720p.

The AG HVX200 features a 235,000 pixel viewfinder, 3 lux minimum illumination, a zoom range of 13X 4.2-55mm, four channels of PCM 48k 15-bit audio via two XLR connectors in DVCPROHD, DVCPRO50, DVCPRO, and DV while recording to a P2 card. While recording to DV tape, the camera supports two channels of PCM 48KHz 16-bit audio or four channels of 32kHz 12-bit audio. It features HD Component analog, 1080i, 720p, cross-converted 720p-1080i, 480i (D4) output, Composite input/output, S-video input/output, IEEE 1394, and USB 2.0. The company also introduced CineGamma with this camera, a feature found on Panasonic's VariCam systems that simulate the warm tones associated with film.

"We're witnessing a real boom in independent film production," Liao said. "The continuing growth of the Internet has created an ever increasing set of opportunities for independent content creators. Independent film production will be more diverse than ever possible."

Director Kevin Smith, left, speaks with Panasonic's  Joseph Facchini.

The event was highlighted with an appearance from Kevin Smith, director and producer of Clerks, Good Will Hunting and a host of other films. Smith, who has worked with the DVX 100 pined about the virtues of the HVX200, so much so that the Jersey native got fairly animated on the stage, tossing vulgarities to and fro, and even mentioning what he would like to do with the camera in the privacy of his own bedroom with his wife.

The AG-HVX200 is slated to ship the end of December 2005

The HVX200 with the "P2 cards enable you to get in that editing process much much faster," Smith said. "It's all about trying to get the best look with the least amount of money," Smith said.  Smith believes the HVX200 will really revolutionize the independent filmmaking community.

The appearance of Smith helping to hawk the new Panasonic camera was really sort of a calling card of where Panasonic is going with HD in both the independent film space and the consumer space, with the company choosing to bypass the HDV format and forge it alone in the acquisition space with its own format. That doesn't mean the software vendors haven't embraced what Panasonic is attempting to do because the big vendors have indeed stepped up with support. Avid Technology (Xpress Pro HD, NewsCutter, and Media Composer), Apple Computer (Final Cut Pro), and Canopus (Edius HD) Corp. were at the unveiling announcing their respective support for the AG-HVX200.

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John Virata is senior editor of Digital Media Online. You can email him at jvirata@digitalmedianet.com
Related Keywords:Panasonic AG-HVX200, P2 memory cards,


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