NAB Reflections: Panasonic unveils third-gen VariCam HS

Panasonic used NAB to introduce its third-generation VariCam HS, incorporating the company’s AVC-ULTRA family of video codecs and high speed 1080p image capture for demanding documentary, sports or SFX slow-motion applications. The VariCam HS 2/3 type camera head docks with the AVC-ULTRA recording module to provide the full functionality of a conventional production camera/recorder.

This system flexibility can be expanded with an umbilical cable between the 2/3 type camera module (AU-V23HS1) and the recording module (AU-VREC1), providing ‘box’ camera functionality for jibs, cranes and other remote camera needs. This common recorder module is also interchangeable with Panasonic’s new s35mm 4K camera module (AU-V35C1), enabling professionals to switch between 2/3 type and s35mm camera heads to best suit their creative needs.

“Given the prevalence of Apple ProRes as a popular editing format within the production community, its inclusion in the VariCam HS will position the new camera/recorder solidly within a well-established and widely accepted HD workflow,” said Steve Cooperman, Product Manager, Panasonic System Communications Company of North America.

The VariCam HS utilises three newly-developed, 1920 x 1080p MOS imagers with 14 stops of latitude, providing full control over a wide range of lighting conditions for 1080p native recording/operation. The camera/recorder boasts a classical RGB imager/prism system that provides equi-band full resolution colour processing for critical applications.

Among the camcorder’s key features are realtime high frame rate and off-speed recording to 240fps in 1080p (using AVC-Intra Class100), plus the ability to change frame rates during record. To complement the video quality, the new VariCam HS boasts 24-bit LPCM audio capabilities. The VariCam HS will launch in Autumn 2014, with a suggested list price under €45,000, including EVF and shoulder mount module.

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