Panasonic to Launch AVC-Ultra Gear at NAB

NEW YORK—Panasonic’s AVC-Ultra chip, an electrical component described as the size of a square dime, is a critical element in some of the company’s key NAB Show product announcements this year. At the show, the company will introduce an AVC-Ultra camcorder, rackmount recorder and AVC-Ultra plug-ins for Avid Media Composer 6.5.

At NAB, Panasonic will launch the AJ-PX5000G, its first camcorder with native AVC-Ultra recording.

“This year we’re getting to the point where we’re going to start launching several products that put AVC-Ultra to work,” said Mike Bergeron, senior business development manager for Panasonic Media & Production Solutions. The chip “is something that will go into our shouldermount camera, as well as the small handheld camera, a small player, or other products moving forward.”

The AVC-Ultra codec encompasses the company’s existing AVC-HD, AVC-Intra and AVC-Proxy formats.

Bergeron said that equipment will be available for each point in the AVC-Ultra workflow. As to why someone would use Ultra’s 200 Mbps maximum data rate when the company’s 100 Mbps AVC-Intra data rate appears lossless, he likened compression artifacts to icebergs.

“The ones you see on playback are just the tip of the iceberg. There are other changes that are invisible, but if you then pass them off to another codec, they can show up.” Because video is ultimately delivered through so many paths, recompressed and re-encoded, “by going to 200 Mbps we can get to something that’s bulletproof in all those paths.”

At the show, Panasonic will present the AJ-PX5000G, its first camcorder with native AVC-Ultra recording, featuring builtin microP2 card slots and the company’s 2/3-inch, 2.2-megapixel 3-MOS imagers. The PX5000G provides 720p and 1080p/i recording, and is the first P2 camcorder that will record in full-resolution, 10-bit 1080/60p (in AVC-Intra100). AVC-LongG is standard.

“With AVC-Ultra recording, terrific image quality and a variety of cutting edge, selectable options, the PX5000G is Panasonic’s best-ever shouldermount,” said Steve Cooperman, product manager for Panasonic System Communications Co. of North America.

Panasonic will also premier its AJ-PD500, the first P2 HD recorder with native AVC-Ultra recording and built-in microP2 card slots. The PD500 is also the first P2 deck that will record in full-resolution, 10-bit 1080/60p (in AVCIntra100). The half-rack form-factor PD500 has two built-in slots for the company’s new microP2 cards and two standard P2 card slots, as well as an SD card slot for proxy/metadata and AVCHD recording.

Panasonic’s AJ-PD500 is the company’s first P2 recorder with native AVC-ULTRA recording. The new recorder provides a range of format choices, including AVC LongG and AVC Proxy as standard, and AVC Intra200 and AVCHD playback as options. It also has a variety of professional I/Os to facilitate production, post production, long-form documentaries, live event systems, satellite facilities, reality television, and news trucks, and can be deployed as a redundant playback/record device in news facilities.

Coincident with NAB, Panasonic will begin shipping its new microP2 memory cards in 64 GB and 32 GB models, as well as a microP2 card adapter. The microP2 memory card’s double-layered UHS-II interface facilitates transfer speeds of 2.0 Gbps, 1.7 times faster than standard P2 media and 12 times faster than ordinary SD media.

Panasonic will also unveil firmware upgrades for its AK-HC3800 studio camera system, and AK-HRP200 remote operation panel that supports 720/59.94 output from the camera and enabled IP control between operator panel and camera. The upgrade also allows the operator panel to set-up and control up to 19 Panasonic PTZ cameras via IP.

The company will introduce a live up-link firmware option for its AG-HPX600 P2 HD camcorder in collaboration with LiveU to deliver an integrated solution. In addition to passing audio and video via SDI from the camera to LiveU’s bonded-cellular liveshot system, the camera can control the stop and start of the LiveU unit, and operational status is visible in the HPX600’s viewfinder.

New bonded-cellular liveshot partners are also integrating with Panasonic HPX600 camera, including Streambox, TVU Networks and AVIWEST.

Panasonic will be in Booth C3607 in the Central Hall.