Panasonic Starts NAB 2010 Discussion With Early Press Conference And Frank Talk Of Their Single Lens 3D Camera

Panasonic's $9900 BT-3DL2550 monitor uses passive cross-polarized glasses

It appears Panasonic had a press conference last Friday in the New York City area that revealed some of their plans for the upcoming NAB 2010 conference in Las Vegas.

AG-MHC150 Prosumer HD Camcorder

Described as ” intimate” the press conference showed a few of the forthcoming products that Panasonic plans to show this April. The company introduced the AG-HMC150, described as an AVCHD SD card-based addition to its pro HD options which includes their DVCProHD-based AG-HVX200. While borrowing the design of Panasonic’s  standard def AG-DVX100, the HMC150 incorporates three new 1/3-inch CCDs with native 16:9 aspect ratios while supporting all the various 1080 and 720 progressive and interlaced options. It uses a 28mm Leica lens which is optically stabilized and the camera provides for XLR audio inputs, an HDMI output connection and remote capability for the camera’s iris and record controls. It’s doesn’t appear to be clear yet exactly what bit rates the camera will suport. Current Panasonic maxes AVCHD to 13 megabits per second and the HMC150 will support the 13Mbps rate but Panasonic has left the door open for it to support a higher bandwidth option.

Panasonic AG-HMC70

Panasonic also focused on another new camera the AG-HMC70 that targets institutional and event videography. It is an SD card-based AVCHD shoulder-mount model that incorporates three 1/4-inch CCDs and a 38.5mm-to-462mm-equivalent 12X zoom optically stabilized Leica lens. The camera can record 1080i video and comes with standard pro audio connectors and BNC outputs.

AG-3DA1 With Integrated Dual Lenses

The company also provided more information on its one-piece 3D camcorder shown under glass at NAB 2009 and demonstrated at CES 2010. The six-CMOS, dual-stream SD-recording camcorder has been dubbed the  AG-3DA1. After receiving thousands of calls about the camcorder following CES, Panasonic announced that it has started taking pre-orders for the camcorder by way of a $1,000 non-refundable deposit. The camera will cost $21,000 and will be built to order starting in the fall.

The AG-3DA1 has integrated dual lenses but Panasonic was not ready to give details such as the supplier of the glass or the zoom ratio. The convergence range was not divulged and there was discussion about the fixed interocular distance — the distance from lens center to lens center– which appeared to be about 57 mm. The camera will weigh about 6 pounds, will use two sets of three 1/4in. CMOS imagers and will records dual streams of AVCHD to SD/SDHC cards. Outputs are dual HD-SDI and HDMI version 1.4 which will support dual channels of 1080i.

Given the small size of the cameras imagers, its fixed lenses and the fixed interocular distance, Panasonic was clear that the 3DA1 is not positioned to challenge beam-splitter rigs. They warned that due to the limited interocular distance, wide vistas will flatten out. They feel the pitcher in a baseball game would likely stand too far from the camera for there to be a noticeable stereo effect. Also its 1/4″ sensors means it will not be the most sensitive camcorder on the market.

The AW-HS50 HD Switcher That Includes a Multiviewer

Panasonic’s also showed a $9900 BT-3DL2550 3D monitor uses passive cross-polarized glasses to playback 3D material. There was also news about an inexpensive P2-to-USB adaptor, two tiny HD switchers that includes built in multiviewers and a small HD pan-tilt-zoom camera that was optimized for operation over IP networks. For customers with P2 HD cameras, the P2-to-USB adaptor is welcome news as the company announced that it is going to ship a 64GB P2 card this fall.

Sources for this blog post include…

Panasonic 3D Camcorder: Show Us the Money – Mark Schubin, Schubin Cafe

Panasonic Plans NAB in 3D – Trevor Boyer, Penton Media, Inc.

Panasonic shows off a pair of pro-level HD camcorders – Nilay Patel, Engadget

New Panasonic pro AVCHD camcorders – Lori Grunin, CNET


NAB 2009 To Feature Less Expensive HD Cameras

According to an article posted by TVNEWSDAY, this year’s NAB Show will showcase a variety of cost-effective cameras that feature IT efficiency and fit downsized budgets.

In something that has been historically uncharacteristic JVC, Panasonic and SONY have released a lot of information about their product offerings long in advance of NAB.

GY-HM100  hand-held 3-CCD camcorder

GY-HM100 hand-held 3-CCD camcorder

In January, JVC introduced new Final-Cut-Pro 6™-ready solid state camcorders that feature their ProHD camcorders that can natively record Quicktime for Apple’s Final Cut Pro directly onto SDHC memory cards.

The GY-HM100  hand-held 3-CCD camcorder was introduced in January and on February 10, JVC introduced the GY-HM700 shoulder camera. Both camcorders record 35Mbps high definition video and uncompressed audio directly to SDHC media cards in the Quicktime format used by Apple Final Cut Pro™. The camera’s also inroduced solid state recording into JVC’s professsional line.

HPX-300 - World’s first affordable 10-bit, 4:2:2 camera

HPX-300 - World’s first affordable 10-bit, 4:2:2 camera

One day later on February 11, Panasonic announced a huge slate of products including the AG-HPX300 which is a shoulder mount P2 HD camcorder. Panasonic is billing it as the “world’s first affordable 10-bit, 4:2:2 camera”. According to the TVNEWSDAY article the HPX-300 will cost $10,700 U.S. and comes with a 17x Fujinon lens. The camera employs one-third-inch CMOS native HD imagers and according to Panasonic the imagers overcome the physics of small chips and deliver low light sensitivity.

AJ-HRW10 Rapid Write

AJ-HRW10 Rapid Writer

Just in case your interested in Panasonic’s other announcemnts you can find them here. In a nutshell they’ve announced a new 17” BT-LH1710 HD LCD Production Monitor, an AJ-CVF100G color viewfinder for higher end P2 HD and DVCPRO HD camcorders, an AJ-PCD35 P2 memory drive with PCI Express interface for fast transfers,an AW-HE870 2/3-inch 3-CCD HD convertible camera, a free AVCHD-to-DV transcoder update, the AJ-HRW10 Rapid Writer P2 workflow tool, an AG-HPG20 P2 HD portable Recorder/Player that features AVC-Intra recording and an expansion to their professional AVCCAM product line with a compact HD Recorder and multi-purpose camera head.

SONY HVR-Z5U - compact point-of-view camcorder

SONY HVR-Z5U - compact point-of-view camcorder

According to Glen Dickson of Broadcasting & Cable, SONY surfaced last week. According to his post,   Sony is saving most of its major product announcements for NAB 2009 but last week it previewed a handful of new products. They included an HDV-format high-definition camcorder, the HVR-Z5U, which is a compact point-of-view camcorder, the HXR-MC1; and two new LCD monitors, the BVM-170 and PVM-L2300.

According to Dickson’s post SONY also announced a new field recorder for the XDCAM HD optical-disc format, the PDW-HR1, which supports legacy formats including MPEG IMX, DVCAM and 4:2:0 HD 24P content.

Looking forward to NAB.


NAB 2008 Report – Camera Mounting Devices

Camera Mounting Devices

Another interesting area at NAB was the diversity and number of camera mounting devices found on the floor. A number of them caught my eye. Here is information on some of them.

The Steadicam Merlin – was designed by Garrett Brown, the inventor of the original Steadicam Jr. It’s half the weight and four times as stable as the Steadicam JR and can move as smoothly as the big $60,000 rigs used in Hollywood. The video below outlines how one makes use of such a device.

HOODMAN WristShot® – has been designed to transfer camcorder weight to the forearm eliminating wrist fatigue, increasing stability and freeing up the hand to operate the camera. WristShot® fits all camcorders up to 10 pounds. With 5 axis adjustment options WristShot® fits all body types and shooting styles. Quick release camcorder mounting system with universal tripod adapter mount makes changing shooting modes quick and easy.

Easyrig – The Easyrig portable camera mount can be used with both film and video cameras. The Easyrigs ergonomic design reduces the load on the neck and shoulder muscles, and distributes it to other parts of the body which are more capable of handling it. It provides the camera operator with the speed and mobility of a handheld camera, allowing for steady shots from the shoulder, the hip and at knee level. The suspension lines can accept new lightweight digital cameras as well as heavier Betacams and 35 mm film cameras up to 25 kg.

LOSMANDY FLEXTRAK – This seamless dolly track can be configured in straight runs that can radically curve in any radius or direction. The basic unit will loop to make one 17′ run. 2 pieces side by side will create a 40′ run. Each section rolls up into a 2′ diameter bundle and weighs 40 lbs. It can curve into a 90 degree turn with a 2′ radius employing Spider Dolly’s track wheels that are designed with double articulating arms to create the ability to negotiate sharp radius turns. Below is some test footage.

Segway Camera – Perhaps the most interesting mount of all is this one (two videos below) that allows a camera operator to shoot from a Segway…..