OB operation already planned
In a joint one-year project, German public broadcasting corporation Südwestrundfunk (SWR) has successfully built a mobile production unit in cooperation with the Furtwangen University of Applied Sciences. The project between the Baden-Baden sender and the university, both situated in Germany’s southern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, included planning and implementation phases of six months each. The unit is now ready to roll with – for the first time – three P2 cameras in action. This makes SWR the first public broadcasting corporation in Germany to officially use this tapeless production system from Panasonic.
Michael Eberhard, Head of Television Production and Broadcast Studios at SWR spoke recently of the reasons behind the corporation’s decision for P2: "Since DVCPRO is already our acquisition standard, by choosing P2 we are keeping the same format and at the same time taking a very innovative step." The impetus for the project was planning undertaken by six students at the university during an academic semester, which has now been realized by SWR together with the university.

"We have assembled a mobile production unit with three P2 camcorders that can realize small productions without requiring a great deal of staffing or technical investment," adds Michael Eberhard. The mobile production unit is currently enjoying its baptism of fire at the Hotjazz festival at Europapark in Rust, also in Baden-Wuerttemberg, where picture and audio signals are being transmitted via fibre-optic cables. "We’ve also decided to use exclusively digital technology and software-based solutions at the festival. We’re even using a software-controlled mixer for this project." The P2 cam can also record DV-native data, allowing the operator to choose between DV, DVCPRO with 25 Mbps and DVCPRO50 with 50 Mbps data rates.

The P2 system from Panasonic is a revolutionary production technology for broadcast operation. Instead of cassette drives, P2 equipment features five slots for memory cards. Among the first DVCPRO P2 products are the 2/3" camcorder AJ-SPX800 (P2 cam), the studio recorder AJ-SPD850 (P2 deck), the P2 cassette drive AJ-PCD10 (P2 drive) and the P2 memory cards AJ-P2C004 with 4 GB and AJ-P2C002 with 2 GB capacities (P2 cards). The P2 card is based on the outstanding SD memory cards, whose capacities have been continually extended. The same size as PCMCIA cards, they contain four SD memory cards plus additional electronics. At present, the 4 GB card can be used to record up to 16 minutes of DVCPRO material or up to eight minutes of DVCPRO50 material including video, audio and metadata. P2 cards are extremely durable, with rewritability of over 100,000 repetitions