Panasonic Intros Third-Gen VariCam; 31-inch LCD with Native 4K Resolution

At the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) annual convention, Panasonic has unveiled its third-generation VariCam HD production camera, and a new 31-inch LCD production monitor with native 4K resolution for 4K/2K/HD cinema production. The recently announced AJ-PX5000G and AJ-PD500, the company’s first P2 HD camcorder and recorder with native AVC-ULTRA recording and built-in microP2 card slots, will be shown for the first time here.

The third-generation VariCam improves upon the camera brand’s signature features–off-speed shooting and film-like image production—while incorporating Panasonic’s new AVC-ULTRA family of video codecs. The camcorder utilizes three advanced, full 1920 x 1080p wide dynamic range MOS imagers for native 1080/60p recording/operation, and boasts a true RGB imager/prism system that provides full resolution color. With an EFP-style body, the VariCam’s 2/3” 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 are 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. The camera will feature a range of high-quality recording formats including AVC-Intra Class100, AVC-Intra Class200 and AVC-Intra Class4:4:4. The third-generation VariCam will be available early next year, with pricing to be announced.

The BT-4LH310 is a 31-inch 4096 x 2160 resolution LCD monitor for unrivalled 4K/2K monitoring in the field, including use in a video village for live viewing of 4K cameras and devices with I/Os as well as for viewing of dailies. The 4LH310’s 4K 10-bit IPS panel affords native 4K resolution (more than four times that of full HD), a wide viewing angle, and faithful reproduction of up to 1.07 billion colors. Equipped with a production-tough aluminum frame, the BT-4LH310 features multiple professional inputs (including HD-SDI, 3G-SDI and HDMI); true color processing with a 3D look-up table (LUT); HD/SD closed captioning; 28V DC operation for field use; and an eco-friendly panel with mercury-free LED backlight. In addition to 4K, the 4LH310 Iis ideal for 2K and HD resolutions, meaning it can be used for all types of cinema production and post production. The BT-4LH310 will be available in fall 2013, with pricing to be announced.

The 2/3-inch, 2.2M 3-MOS AJ-PX5000G combines superb image production, light weight and innovative expandability. The camcorder features 720p and 1080p/i recording, and is the first P2 camcorder that will record in full-resolution, 10-bit 1080/60p (in AVC-Intra Class100). AVC-LongG is standard. The PX5000G will offer optional AVC-Intra Class200 recording, which at twice the bit rate per frame of AVC-Intra Class100 is visually lossless, delivering a master quality codec in an affordable, file-based shoulder-mount camera. High-resolution AVC-Proxy recording is likewise an option. The PX5000G will address applications in network news, documentary, high-end corporate and sports production, as well as the rental market. The AJ-PX5000G will be available in fall 2013, with a suggested list price under $28,000.

The AJ-PD500 is the first P2 deck that will record in full-resolution, 10-bit 1080/60p (in AVC-Intra Class100). Its range of format choices (including AVC-LongG and AVC-Proxy as standard, and AVC-Intra Class200, DVCPRO HD/50/25 and DV, and AVCHD playback as options) and variety of professional I/Os make the PD500 ideal for implementations such as production, post-production, long-form documentaries, live event systems, satellite facilities, reality television, news trucks, and as a redundant playback/record device in news facilities. The AJ-PD500 will be available in fall 2013, with a suggested list price under $14,000.

 In other NAB news, Panasonic announced April delivery for its new microP2 series, the world’s first UHS-II compliant memory cards, which continues the company’s evolution to higher-speed, lower-cost, more compact media. A major free firmware upgrade for the company’s new AK-HC3800 studio camera system supports 720/59.94p, 720/50p, 1080/29.97PsF and 1080/25PsF output from the studio camera and enables IP control between the AK-HRP200 remote operation panel (ROP) and the AK-HCU200 camera control unit (CCU).

Four partners for operational integration with live video uplink transmitter devices and the AG-HPX600 P2 HD camcorder have been announced: LiveU, AVIWEST, Streambox and TVU Networks. Also, Panasonic has announced AVC-ULTRA plug-ins for Avid Media Composer 6.5, both Mac and Windows versions.


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