Panasonic puts AVC formats, 3D front and center

The Panasonic Solutions Company is putting its efforts behind the AVC-Intra and Ultra flavors of the P2 format as well as 3D that will capture the attention of sports production pros.

“AVC-Intra is the highest quality encoding in a one-piece camera today and AVC Ultra is a professional I-frame-only implementation of the H.264-based format that can go much higher than AVC-Intra and record 1080/60p for higher-quality video,” says Steve Cooperman, Panasonic Solutions Company, project manager.

And AVC-Intra continues to make gains. NFL Films  in Mount Laurel, NJ is moving to file-based, 24P solid-state acquisition with its investment in an array of Panasonic P2 HD gear including AG-HPX3100 master-quality, 1080p 2/3-inch P2 HD camcorders and AG-HPD24 P2 portable decks, as well as BT-LH910 9-inch LCD monitors.

NFL Films, and others, will be able to take advantage of new features like the creation of 3.5Mbps proxies for live events that need to go straight to air. Another new feature for the AG-HPX3100 is wireless metadata that can be tagged to clips as they are acquired. Then when the clips are dropped into Apple Final Cut Pro the metadata is immediately available to help speed up the editing process.

AVC-Intra is also flexing its muscles in 3D in the AG-3DP1, the next-generation 3D shoulder-mounted camcorder from Panasonic and a successor to the AG-3DA1.

“The 3DA1 is an awesome camera and came out at the right time because it took care of pretty complex controls and allowed the users to concentrate on things like adjusting convergence,” says Cooperman. “But the next step is the 3DP1 and it brings full resolution 1920×1080 to each eye which is a huge advantage. And with 10-bit recording all of the colour, movement and action can be captured.”

It also offers P2 features like recording start-up, clip thumbnail view for immediate access to video content on all cards, and a host of time-saving recording modes including continuous recording and interval recording. Pricing is still to be announced and it will be available in the fall.

“The ability to move around the field with a AG-3DP1 camera is a major accomplishment,” says Cooperman.

In other AVC-Intra news, the AG-HPX250 handheld weighs just 5.5 pounds and has a 21x wide-angle lens that Cooperman says is ideal for sports.

Cooperman also says the BT-LH910 monitor nine-inch LCD monitor will be of interest to sports broadcasters and remote production professionals.

“It’s a 2D on-board monitor with high resolution and high contrast but it can be used for 3D assist,” he says. It also interfaces with HDMI and 3G-SDI, giving it a lot of flexibility to be dropped into an existing 3D infrastructure.

“It allows the users to overlay images from the left and right camera and see convergence points or if the cameras are not aligned properly,” adds Cooperman.

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