Announces support for European HD standard and shows new workflow processes with P2 tapeless acquistion
Panasonic used IBC to show the results of major investment in recent years with new products for high definition (HD) and standard definition (SD) production, and new products for tape-based production and for tapeless IT-based acquisition with P2. Panasonic also showed a clear SD to HD migration strategy for the DV/DVCPRO family of products. While in display technology, a key area of expertise, Panasonic demonstrated new developments in plasma, LCD, TFT panels and in DLP projectors for SD and HD markets.
“Panasonic at IBC this year” said Robert Pascher, Marketing Manager, Panasonic Broadcast Europe, “is providing our customers and the broadcast industry with a clear roadmap from SD to HD production. We are also providing a clear migration to IT-based production and together with our P2 Alliance Partners have a major demonstration of new workflow processes in a networked environment.”

At IBC, Panasonic also announced its support for the European Broadcast Union’s (EBU) proposed HD standard for Europe of 720/50p. Joachim Reinhart, President and Chief Operating Officer of Matsushita Europe and the first European to be an Executive Officer of Matsushita Electric in Japan, called for a clear strategy for the introduction of high definition broadcasting in Europe.

“European broadcasters,” he said, “manufacturers, the IT sector and programme makers must get together and develop a plan of action over how to implement HD services. Then it is important that we build a constituency of support among national and European politicians, legislators and the general public for its introduction.”

Panasonic showed the production versions of its P2 solid state memory acquisition system based on SD memory cards, which have now started shipping to customers.

These include :
  • The AJ-SPX800 which combines a high-performance 2/3" 3-CCD camera with 25fps progressive and 50i interlace recording in DVCPRO and DVCPRO50 format on a P2 card
  • The AJ-SPD850, a DVCPRO P2 solid-state memory studio recorder that provides a high-performance bridge between the IT world of non-real time file transfers and the traditional world of real-time baseband video and audio recording and editing.
  • The AJ-PCD10, a five-slot P2 internal/external drive solid-state memory drive, which is designed for high-speed file transfer of DVCPRO or DVCPRO50 into nonlinear editing systems and servers.

At IBC, Panasonic announced that it expects to ship 2000 P2 units by the end of 2004.

A highlight of the Panasonic stand at IBC, was a demonstration of an entirely tapeless digital networked production environment. This highlights the MXF file format capability of the P2 system and network integration from camera head through production to playout.

The network is in addition to a major demonstration by the P2 Alliance Partners, including Avid, Grass Valley, Pinnacle, Quantel and EVS. It was also announced at IBC that Leitch is becoming a P2 Alliance Partner and would be providing P2 compatibility across its servers and editing systems.

A key feature of Panasonic’s broadcast strategy both in SD and in HD production, is to introduce new products, develop new production processes to reduce the cost of production. This focus was highlighted at IBC, by the development work to make IEEE1394 a standard digital interface on cameras, camcorders and VTRs in both the SD and HD production environments. IEEE1394 provides a high speed industry standard interface for moving digital content, without any generation loss, between equipment.

Highlighting its support for both progessive and interlaced HD production standards, Panasonic launched a new switchable progressive and interlaced DVCPROHD camcorder, the AJ-HDX400E, at IBC. The AJ-HDX400E highlights a host of powerful acquisition features including 12 bit signal processing, CineGamma and switchable progressive and interlaced standards (1080/25p and 1080/50i). The camcorder also includes IEEE1394 support.

“The AJ-HDX400 is one of the outstanding new products at IBC. It is an exceptionally powerful camcorder which is going to lower the cost of high quality HD production” said Michael Erkelenz, Product Manager, Panasonic Broadcast Europe. “It is attracting a lot of interest from European broadcasters starting to plan for cost effective HD production. Its switchable production means that broadcasters can use the camcorder for a range of programme requirements from sport to drama.”

Panasonic also introduced the AG-DVC60 a new 3-CCD Mini-DV camcorder three 410,000-pixel CCDs in carbon fibre alloy, the stylish but tough material used by many top-class tennis rackets and golf clubs. It has an innovative shoulder-mount design and a range of professional production features including a wide-angle 16X zoom lens with Optical Image Stabilizer (OIS).