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Panasonic HD cameras capture 2007 World Series of Poker

The 2007 World Series of Poker (WSOP) recently wrapped up in Las Vegas, NV, and this year ESPN broadcasted the event for the first time in HD. It used a Panasonic AJ-HDC27 VariCam HD camera, four AJ-HDX900 multiformat DVCPRO HD camcorders, and 12 new Panasonic GP-US932 HD lipstick cameras for “hole cam” shots from the main table at Harrah’s Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino.

The event was handled by Reel Shorts, a video and film production company. Jeff Christian, who served as director of photography for the WSOP (and is owner of Reel Shorts), purchased the Varicam last year, in response to requests from the Food Network to produce “Tyler’s Ultimate.”

Reel Shorts provided all the production equipment, staging and lighting for the WSOP’s main table, while groups of independent owner/operators handled the outer table shooting.

In addition to shooting in HD from the gaming floor, Christian explained that the original plan was to upgrade only five table cameras — four of the hole cameras (which display the player’s face down cards to the television/viewing audience) at the main table, and the flop camera (used for the tight shot of the dealer’s face-up cards).

The Panasonic HD lipstick camera, along with a subsequent request from the show’s producer to look into the cost of an all-HD main table, sealed the decision to make the show an all-Panasonic HD project.

The GP-US932 HD remote cameras were installed in the rail of the table and their CCUs in custom-made enclosures affixed to the underside of the table. Players were instructed to view their cards in the usual manner, and the hole cameras expose the cards to the viewing audience.

In addition to the 12 Panasonic GP-US932 HD remote cameras, four HDX900s and VariCam, the WSOP production equipment also included 11 AJ-HD1400 DVCPRO HD VTRs, a AJ-HD1200A DVCPRO HD VTR, six Panasonic LCD production monitors and 14 HD plasma displays.

At Panasonic, the GP-US932 camera is marketed by Panasonic System Solutions Company. The VariCam and AJ-HDX900 cameras, DVCPRO HD VTRs and monitors are marketed by Panasonic Broadcast & Television Systems Co.

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