Panasonic Keeps Focus on P2, Today’s Production Needs

For sports-production professionals, the Panasonic booth at NAB offered a chance to take a look at next-generation developments for the P2 format, a new 4K monitor for postproduction applications, the new AJ-HPX5000G P2 camcorder, and a new still-to-be-named third-generation Varicam for sports-feature and -documentary needs. Simply put, at a show that has plenty of focus on a 4K future, Panasonic is serving up the type of bread-and-butter products that keep food on the table for today’s professionals.

Topping the list is, literally, a small innovation: the Micro P2 card. Available in 32-GB and 64-GB capacities, it has the same form factor as an SD card and slips into an adaptor the size of an existing P2 card so that it can be easily used with existing P2 gear. And the top operational advantage is, it can transfer content at 1.7 times faster than standard P2 media. Pricing is $380 for the 64-GB version and $250 for the 32-GB version; the adapters are priced at $199.

“Something like the Micro P2 card drops the price of our P2 media by half,” says Steve Cooperman, product manager, Panasonic System Communications Co. of North America. “Economics play a factor for our customers, and we are now taking advantage of the lower price points.”

Also new is the AJ-PX5000G with AVC-Ultra recording capability (it records full-res 10-bit 1080/60p video using the AVC-Intra100 codec as well as 10-bit 4:2:2 AVC-LongGOP, a long-GOP variant offering bitrate options of 25 Mbps and 50 Mbps). Like the current AG-HPX600, the PX5000G is “future-proofed” to provide inventive functionality and improved workflows, with additional options, such as wireless metadata input and variable frame rates. The PX5000G features wireless- and wired-connection capability with WiFi, USB, and Gigabit Ethernet, including wireless control of key camera functions from a smartphone. In addition, an option will support operational integration with live-video-uplink transmitter devices from partners LiveU, AVIWEST, Streambox, and TVU Networks.

“Now, with a wireless USB, the video on the camcorder can be viewed on a tablet or smartphone, and metadata can be uploaded,” explains Cooperman. “And, with AVC-Ultra recording at 200 Mbps, the user has less artifacts and can move into markets previously served by the HDCAM SR format.”

A third-generation VariCam also was introduced and, when made available later this year, will make use of three advanced, full 1920 x 1080p wide dynamic range MOS imagers for native 1080/60p recording/operation. The camcorder will also boast a true RGB imager/prism system that provides full resolution color. With an EFP-style body, the VariCam’s 2/3-inch B4 lens mount enables use of native format prime lenses and servo zooms, eliminating the expensive and cumbersome workarounds required when using such optics on larger formats.

Among the camcorder’s top-level production features will be real-time high frame rate, off-speed recording to 120fps in full 1080p (in AVC-Intra Class100), a wide dynamic range and 24-bit LPCM audio. A powerful Color Management System provides an exceptional color gamut, and the new Log functionality provides powerful creative control over image contrast. The third-generation VariCam will have both standard P2 and Panasonic’s new microP2 slots.

And, although Panasonic did not roll out a 4K camera at the show, it did introduce the BT-4LH310, a 31-in. 4096×2160 LCD monitor that can be used for viewing 4K camera signals as well as dailies.

“In postproduction, the limitation is [that] 4K finishing can often require a DLP projector, and that takes up size and also limits the amount of 4K production that a facility can do,” says Cooperman. “But this monitor can allow 4K work to take place in other rooms, making 4K editing, color correction, graphics, and other 4K workflows possible.”

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