NAB 2009: Panasonic Speeds Up P2 Cards

Launches 3D workflow system development
Image placeholder title

LAS VEGAS: The Panasonic folks always said solid-state memory would get faster and cheaper, and each year since they introduced the SSD-based P2 line in 2003, the corollary has held true. The beefiest of Panasonic’s latest P2 cards, the E-Series, has eight times the storage capacity of the largest one available five years ago, at just over one-third of the price. The latest 32 GB card is list priced at $625; the 2004 4 GB card was $1,700.

What makes the E-Series even more notable is the transfer speed of 1.2 Gpbs, faster than any previous models. (Television Broadcast recently reported on an emerging processor technology from Saratoga, Calif.-based SandForce that significantly speeded SSD transfers. It’s not yet clear if this technology is at the heart of the E-Series.)

The E-Series, to bow next month, includes the 32 GB card and a 16 GB version for $420. A 64 GB card for $998 is on deck for August.

Panasonic bowed the E-Series at the NAB Show in Las Vegas yesterday, along with several other products and plans.

One initiative still cooking in the kitchen is a full 3D HD production workflow, encompassing everything from capture to Blu-Ray distribution. Current 3D systems are monkey-rigged from multiple 2D systems. A dedicated 3D system would cut the cost of production, Panasonic reasoned. For example, Dreamworks is said to have spent an additional $15 million to render “Monsters vs. Aliens” in 3D.

Image placeholder title

The Panasonic gear list comprises authoring, a twin-lens P2 camera recorder and drives, 3D Blu-Ray discs and players, and a 3D plasma display. Panasonic is displaying its HD 3D Plasma Home Theater at the NAB convention.

The Tokyo technology giant opened its Sunday presentation with the news that P2 HD would be the official capture format for the host broadcaster at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Marketing chief Jim Wickizer said the Vancouver games will make Panasonic’s ninth consecutive P2 Olympics.

One Panasonic debutante that made TVB’s resident video expert take particular notice was a small, battery-powered AVCCAM portable recorder, the AG-HMR10. Weighing in at a single pound in a housing not much larger than a BlackBerry, the AG-HMR10 has HD-SDI input and output capability for function within a professional A/V workflow. The device is priced at $2,650. A separate companion, $2,100 camera head turns the AG-HMR10 into a camcorder.

For a full list of Panasonic unveilings, check out the coverage at TVB sister site TV Technology. – Deborah D. McAdams