SVG Europe Sit-Down: Panasonic’s André Meterian discusses IBC 2017 and future developments
By: Philip Stevens
Wednesday, December 6, 2017 - 11:58 am

André Meterian, Director Professional Video Systems Business Unit for Europe, Russia/CIS, Middle East and Africa (EMEA)

With so many products on offer, Panasonic is well-placed to talk about developments in IP and HDR. But before asking André Meterian, Director Professional Video Systems Business Unit for Europe, Russia/CIS, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) for his thoughts on those technologies, SVG Europe’s conversation started with some reflections on the recent IBC…

What was your most significant showcase products at IBC with regards to sports production? How do these benefit sports broadcasters?

IBC saw Panasonic showcase a number of products which have a natural home within sports broadcasting. In particular, the AK-UC3000 4K studio camera is used to deliver sports broadcasting sitting alongside the AK-HC5000 offering Full HD quality and high speed. We’ve sold more than 1,100 units in three years, and aside from our extensive work with Mediapro, we provide various types of capture tools including cameras and mixers, to numerous prestigious customers, catering to all of their broadcasting activities, such as EuroMediaGroup, NEP, AV Set and CTV in Europe, all of which use remotes to operate these tools.

Panasonic has more recently expanded within Africa too, an example being CIP and MyProd in Algeria, where we’ve supplied 4K studio cameras.

Panasonic also announced a European distribution agreement with Antelope for their next generation micro-cameras. Further partnerships have occurred between Panasonic and MOVICOM to develop a custom-made 4K ready pan-tilt head, which is a companion to the UB300 box camera. The MOVICOM head was used at the Summer Universiade, held in Taipeh, Taiwan. The combination of the camera with Robycam system, provided spectacular shots for the athletics competitions and for the event closing ceremony, all of which was in 4K quality.

An exclusive distribution agreement has also been signed with AR+, meaning we are now able to offer and support unique robotic systems across Europe. Both of these partnerships can have a great impact on the use of Panasonic broadcasting in sports.

How do you see remote production moving forward over the next 6-12 months?

Remote camera production is progressively moving forward with the ability to control cameras from a distant location increasing. Stemming from our built-up success of remote cameras, the integration of these systems makes it much easier to remotely produce within sports and other live production areas. Their ease of use is also what pushes the demand for this form of production.

Building on this success, Panasonic has collaborated with industry partners to create robotic systems, new protocols and tracking systems making this level of integration easier.

Apart from the expansion of IP use, what changes have you noticed in sports productions regarding the utilisation of your solutions? 

The biggest shift remains the move to 4K and HDR. The AK-UC3000 has created a real movement in the market towards the higher resolutions. We anticipate that other production companies and other sports broadcasters will make this transition in the future.

Through strengthening our switcher line-up at this year’s IBC, we introduced the AV-HLC100 live production centre, of which natively supports NDI.

The AW-HN38, AW-HN40, AW-UN70, and the AW-HN130 have joined Panasonic’s market of leading existing PTZ models, further developing the integration of NDI within IP.

Can you tell us more about how your Autotracking Software benefits sports productions?

Autotracking is currently not used by us within sports, but we are working on implementing it across our broadcasting technologies. It would be particularly suitable for individual sports like tennis, where a single camera could be set to track the player around the court.

What is your latest thinking when it comes to HDR?

We’ve responded to the requests of many customers and introduced HDR support across the studio camera and box camera lineup in both Full HD and 4K. High Dynamic Range technology offers an enhanced experience thanks to highly contrasted pictures which look more alive than ever, it’s the next best thing to being at the game.

We use the HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma) standard, which can be shown on existing HDR displays without conversion and which can be easily converted to SDR.

Our cameras can handle simultaneous SDR and HDR outputs, which has also been requested by the market.

And looking ahead to the next six months, will we have seen any major developments in the area of 4K? If so, what they be? If not, why not?

Our plan is to provide more 4K products to ensure our clients are future proofing their systems. Currently, we are working on creating new sensors and models based on the success of the UC3000.

Panasonic is also looking into the development of 8K. Panasonic has targeted the 2020 Olympics as a test bed for delivering 8K content alongside host broadcaster NHK.