Panasonic P2 Technology Powers First HD Sports Production in Germany

Germany 11 July 2007 Panasonic P2 technology is being used to power the production of

Germany’s first HD sports feature, “The Axe of Manitoba,” a 90-minute feature documentary on the Frankfurt Lions ice hockey team, premiering at Kinopolis in September.

Producer Uwe Winter shot the documentary in 720p50 standard using Panasonic’s compact HVX200 cameras and P2 solid-state storage technology. “Ice hockey is the fastest sport in the world, and it was vital to be able to show the action in slow-motion at key points in the movie,” Winter explained. “The HVX200’s variable frame-rate feature gave me the perfect solution: for each second of action, I could get two-and-a-half seconds of beautiful slow-motion footage.”

The documentary follows the team both on and off the ice, and Winter’s crew needed to move fast to keep up. The benefits of the HVX200’s compact size, easy media handling and computer-friendly workflow were at a premium. “The P2 solid-state storage is so convenient, robust and simple to use when you are shooting a lot of footage in a short amount of time, and in physically demanding circumstances,” Winter said. “Our workflow was based around using two 8GB and five 4GB P2 memory cards to capture more than 45 hours of action, transferring footage during the day to a 60GB portable Panasonic P2 Store, and then direct to computer at night. Because P2 is based on the PCMCIA standard, there is a lot of flexibility in the workflows you can set up.”

When inserted into a computer’s PCMCIA slot, AV data on P2 cards are instantly available, with each cut ready to use as an MXF file. The data can be used immediately for nonlinear editing, or routed over a network. P2’s high data transfer rates (up to 640 Mbps) greatly speed up production workflow, and with Panasonic’s forthcoming codec developments and new 32GB cards, filmmakers will be able to shoot up to 64 minutes of HD per card.

Uwe Winters says the experience of working with P2 has convinced him that solid-state is the way to go: “I have been making films for 15 years, and the advantages of the compact cameras and media during shooting, combined with the easy post-production workflow, add up to a big step forward. I’m expecting to see much more of this technology in future.”