Panasonic expands P2 options, improving image quality and storage capacity

Sports broadcasters and program producers looking to quicken the pace of the acquisition and subsequent editing process have a variety of news option at NAB from Panasonic. Topping the list is Panasonic’s AG-HPX500. The new shoulder-mounted P2 HD camcorder teams the full production-quality of 2/3-inch 3-CCDs, DVCPRO HD, 4:2:2 sampling and independent frame encoding with the versatility of interchangeable lenses and the creativity of variable frame rates. More importantly, it’s $14,000 price tag and availability next month makes it a solution that doesn’t rely on promises.

“The full 2/3-inch production quality AG-HPX500 sets a new value benchmark and will quickly distinguish itself as the workhorse camera for the vast range of professional applications,” said Robert Harris, Vice President, Marketing, Panasonic Broadcast. “The camcorder’s P2 HD solid-state reliability, IT system flexibility and workflow speed, combined with the DVCPRO HD quality is unparalleled in the pro video industry.”

Offering the highly popular features of the incredibly successful AG-HVX200 P2 HD hand-held camcorder but with many new enhancements, the 8.2-pound AG-HPX500 features progressive 2/3” 3-CCDs to assure outstanding image quality, superb low-light performance, and wide viewing angles. The HPX500 records in 32 high definition and standard definition formats, including 1080i and 720p in production-proven, 100 Mbps DVCPRO HD. The AG-HPX500 records on removable P2 solid-state memory cards in 1080/60i, 50i, 30p, 25p and 24p; in 720/60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, and 24p; and in DVCPRO50, DVCPRO and DV. The camcorder features a high-performance digital signal processor (DSP) with 14-bit A/D conversion and 19-bit inner processing that handles HD /SD format conversion simultaneously – ensuring spectacular images in all video formats for applications ranging from news acquisition, independent filmmaking, corporate video, sports and much more.

The camera also supports Native Mode recording in 720p that can significantly increase record times. Other key operational benefits provided by P2 HD technology includes instant recording startup, clip thumbnail view for immediate access to video content on all cards, and a host of recording modes including continuous, card selector, hot swapping, loop, pre-record (three seconds in HD and seven seconds in SD), one-shot and interval. The camera also features an SD memory card slot for saving or loading scene files and user settings.

Coupled with the AG-HPG10 P2 Gear, a portable P2 HD player/recorder that provides viewing, back-up recording, and systems interface options for high definition and standard definition content in the field for a variety of broadcast, production and independent filmmaking applications, the AG-HPX500 can help ensure sportscasters, coaches, and teams can quickly get the right shot to air or in front of the team during practice and breaks in the action.

Designed to provide extremely reliable in-the-field performance, the two-pound solid-state memory card unit has a heavy-duty, shock-resistant body, and is equipped with easy-to-use controls, speakers and a flip-up, 3.5” 4:3 LCD monitor for video and thumbnail clip viewing, selecting or deleting footage, or shot marking. The AG-HPG10 features a two-slot P2 card reader and offers instant access to recorded content with playback in multiple formats including 1080i (24p, 24pA, 25p, 30p, 50i, 60i), 720p (24p, 24pN, 25p, 25pN, 30p, 30pN, 50p, 60p), 576i (25p, 50i) and 480i (24p, 24pA, 30p, 60i). A USB 2.0 and IEEE 1394 host connector allows copying of P2 content onto supported external storage drives.

Via its IEEE 1394 input, the battery-operated AG-HPG10 becomes a versatile backup recorder when connected to a P2 HD/SD or tape-based camera, or P2 card material in P2 Gear can be copied to FireStore FS100 via 1394 output. With its two card slots, it can record up to 32 minutes of 100Mbps DVCPRO HD, 64 minutes of DVCPRO50 and 128 minutes of DVCPRO quality video on two 16GB P2 cards. The P2 Gear can also downconvert HD content to be viewed on an SD monitor. P2 cards can be hot-swapped to transfer content to other recording devices.

And for sportscasters look for slow-motion capture the use of variable frame rates for undercranking and overcranking to create fast- or slow-motion effects is a key benefit. In 720p, users can set frame rates in 24p, 30p or 25p in any of 11 steps between 12fps and 60fps (or 50p). In addition, with the camera’s advanced 1080/480 24pA mode, users have the option of using 2:3:3:2 pull down, which allows most nonlinear editing systems to extract 24 frames on ingest.

Panasonic also premiered its BT-LH80W 16:9 high-definition/standard-definition LCD monitor for studio and field applications. The 7.9-inch low-power monitor doubles as a widescreen color viewfinder and delivers exceptional color reproduction and gradation for field production or live event applications.

For use in the edit room to the production truck, the BT-LH80W features the industry’s lowest delay realized by an image processing circuit that converts interlaced into progressive signals with delay within one field; a built-in Waveform Monitor that graphically displays luminance levels from -5 to 108 IRE; and a Diagonal Line compensation that reduces the occurrence of jagged noise in the diagonal direction for improved response. The 800 x 450 pixel resolution monitor reproduces up to 16.7 million colors, closely matching the chromaticity of CRT monitors, and is compatible with multiple HD/SD formats including 1080/24PsF, 1080i, 720p, 480p and 480i.

Two advanced focus assist functions — Focus-in-Red and Pixel-to-Pixel Matching — address the growing need for critical camera focusing in HD acquisition. Focus-in-Red displays the edges of the focused area in red when sharp focus is achieved. Pixel-to-Pixel allows the user to see an input signal pixel by pixel without any resizing, effectively confirming an image in a size equivalent to a 19” widescreen display (with a 1080/60i input signal). Both functions can be utilized by the user at the same time.

When used as an electronic viewfinder, the BT-LH80W can be configured with Panasonic’s full range of HD cameras, including the shoulder mount AJ-HDC27H VariCam, AJ-HDX900, AJ-HPX2000 and AG-HPX500. The BT-LH80W will also support a full range of HD and SD production equipment.