I'm in the Windy City — NYC!

If I told you I was in the “Windy City,” you’d probably think I was in Chicago. Normally that’d be true, but last Thursday, the very windy city was NYC. With 50mph winds whipping through Manhattan, it became a real challenge to navigate from my hotel to lunch with my friend Dave Walton from JVC.

Later, I discovered that the news Dave and JVC's Digital Video Division VP, Larry Librach, had to show me was well worth the walk from my hotel to the nearby Tribeca Grill at 375 Greenwich St. at the corner of Franklin Street. (See, I can find my way around Manhattan. If you missed the story of me getting lost in wonderful lower Manhattan, check it out.)

Let me cut to the chase about our luncheon meeting. While the food was really good, it was JVC’s new camera that blew me away.

After lunch, Dave literally whipped out of a black bag the company’s innovative new GY-HM700 camera. This compact, shoulder-mount, professional camcorder is targeted at mainstream production applications, including ENG and cinematography.

The new camera uniquely records directly to inexpensive SDHC memory cards in the QuickTime (.MOV) format for Final Cut Pro and optionally to SxS media compatible with Sony's XDCAM EX format. By recording in an editing system's native format, users no longer have to endure the time-consuming transfer step, which dramatically speeds up the post-production workflow. But this new camera has a lot of other new features too.

By natively recording in QuickTime, there is no need to convert or rewrap files prior to editing in FCP. Post-production can begin immediately after shooting. It is even possible to edit directly from the memory card, and because no media transfer or re-encoding takes place, first generation quality is always maintained.

SDHC memory cards

Also, the GY-HM700 is the industry's first shoulder-supported camcorder to store files on inexpensive SDHC memory cards. The camera provides two memory card slots with up to 64GB of onboard storage, which is enough for more than six hours of continuous HD recording. The camera automatically begins recording on the second card when the first card fills up. When the second card fills up, the camera reverts to recording to the first card slot, allowing for virtually unlimited record time.

In addition, SDHC cards are inexpensive, highly reliable and make it possible for a recording system to consume up to 20 percent less power than tape- or HDD-based systems. The per-minute cost of SDHC memory is comparable to videotape.

If users need compatibility with the Sony XDCAM EX format, they can attach an optional KA-MR100 dockable media recorder and record .MP4 files onto high-speed SxS memory cards, while simultaneously recording the same .MP4 files to inexpensive SDHC cards. Shooters now can concurrently create a master and backup copy.

High-resolution progressive imaging

The GY-HM700 uses three, 1/3in, progressive scan full HD CCDs. The higher resolution imaging is complemented with a new standard detachable Canon HD lens. The camera’s standard bayonet mount supports a wide range of other lenses available from JVC. Cinematographers will also appreciate JVC's optional prime lens adapter. In addition, the camera can flip the displayed image, which is commonly inverted when prime lenses are used.

JVC’s proprietary MPEG-2 encoder provides highly efficient compression at bit rates up to 35Mb/s. The GY-HM700 supports all major HD signal formats, including 1920 x 1080, 1440 x 1080 and 1280 x 720.

The camera is equipped with a new and rugged high-resolution viewfinder based on a .45in 1.22 million pixel Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCOS) panel (852 x 480 x 3). This new all-digital viewfinder displays images with more than 5X the resolution of typical color viewfinders. Also provided is a jumbo-size 4.3in flip-out LCD monitor that functions for recording, playback, clip management and menu operation.

The camera weighs a mere 8lbs, including lens, viewfinder, microphone and battery, and it “feels” good and solid when setting on your shoulder. Be sure and add the JVC GY-HM700 to your list of must-see new products at the 2009 NAB show. JVC will be exhibiting at booth C431.