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Panasonic shows 3-D camcorder with solid-state recording

At CES Panasonic unveiled a prototype high-definition 3-D camcorder that records to solid-state memory and will be available for live sports and entertainment productions later this year. The company said it would begin taking orders in April, whereby the twin-lens camcorder will be made-to-order at a suggested retail price of $21,000.

In Panasonic’s new 3-D camcorder, the lenses, camera head and a dual SDHC/SD memory card recorder are integrated into a single, lightweight body. The camcorder also incorporates stereoscopic adjustment controls, making it easier to use and operate than current 3-D camera systems in which two cameras are fitted to a rig in parallel, or vertically intersect across a half mirror. External recorders are also required.

The twin-lens system adopted in the Panasonic camcorder’s optical section allows the convergence point (the point at which the left and right-camera lenses’ optical axes converge) to be adjusted by the operator on the fly. Functions for automatically correcting horizontal and vertical displacement are also provided. Conventional 3-D camera systems require these adjustments to be made by means of a PC or an external video processor. This new camcorder, however, will automatically recalibrate without any need for external equipment, allowing immediate 3-D image capture.

The camcorder’s solid-state memory file-based recording system makes it lighter than current 3-D systems, facilitating handheld-style shooting.

Right and left HD video streams of the twin-lens 3-D camcorder can be recorded as files on SDHC/SD cards, significantly reducing maintenance costs, and making it ideally suited to shooting in extreme environments as it is resistant to temperature extremes, shock and vibration. And users can take advantage of a file-based workflow, with instant, random access to recorded content; easy plug-in to both Mac and PC-based platforms; and longer recording capacity.

In addition to a camcorder, Panasonic also plans to offer a professional-quality 3-D HD LCD monitor for field use as well as a professional HD digital A/V mixer for live event production.