Panasonic unveils AG-HVX200, world’s first hand-held, solid-state memory, high definition camcorder

May 4, 2005

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Panasonic has unveiled the revolutionary AG-HVX200, the world’s first 1080/720p/480i multi-format camcorder. The DVCPRO camcorder records in both high definition and standard definition on solid-state P2 memory cards.

The AG-HVX200 DVCPRO HD P2 hand-held camcorder provides 1080i and 720p recording with the production-proven image quality of 100 Mbps DVCPRO HD. The AG-HVX200 can shoot on a P2 card in 1080/60i, 30p and 24p; in 720/60p, 30p and 24p; and in DVCPRO50, DVCPRO or DV formats. It also records SD DV format on the built-in mini-DV tape recorder.

“The multiple format versatility and flexibility of the AG-HVX200 is a revolutionary leap in camcorder technology,” says David Craig, Product Manager, Broadcast and Security Systems, Panasonic Canada. “Camera users have never had more options in one camcorder and the AG-HVX200 inherits many of the functions of our popular AJ-HDC27F VariCam® including the exceptional DVCPRO HD quality images, variable frame rates to capture fast speed and slow speed action (under- and over-cranking) and a cine-like gamma curve and cine-like colour matrix to emulate the look of film.”

Tailor made for production and postproduction, the DVCPRO HD format offers users cost-effective, proven intra-frame compression, where each frame stands on it own for editing, and its full 4:2:2 colour sampling allows the image to hold up under colour correction. Additionally, the DVCPRO HD format includes robust uncompressed audio. In addition, established third-party non-linear editing systems such as Apple, Avid and Canopus are available to work with the AG-HVX200 and DVCPRO HD via the IEEE 1394 interface.

“Apple and Panasonic have delivered many industry firsts, such as a Firewire-enabled, high definition VTR and native support for real-time DVCPRO HD in the Emmy Award-winning Final Cut Pro editing software,” said Rob Schoeben, Apple’s vice president of Application Marketing. “This year the combination of Final Cut Pro 5 with P2 support and Panasonic’s new solid state HD camcorder will change the economics of professional HD production forever.”

With the AG-HVX200, HD and SD video is recorded on the P2 card as IT-friendly MXF files that can be downloaded to a non-linear editing system or server, or edited virtually instantly from the P2 card by connecting an IEEE 1394 or USB2.0 interface. P2 cards connect just like a regular hard drive to a non-linear editing system, which eliminates the time-consuming digitizing of footage. This speeds up work-flow and ensures a smooth, fast acquisition that integrates the benefits of IT throughout the production and news gathering process. With its pre-record function, the AG-HVX200 starts recording from the moment it is switched on, so users can feel confident that they will not miss an important shot. With easy selection of HD or SD recording, news organizations can be assured of future proof migration to HD news on their own time table. By eliminating all moving parts from the camera recording path when shooting on a P2 card, Panasonic has ensured the AG-HVX200 is extremely reliable and resistant to environmental hazards, such as the shock, vibration, and humidity that threaten camcorders.

For unprecedented mobility and ease of use, the AG-HVX200 uniquely combines a native progressive scan 16:9 3-CCD high definition imaging system and a HD-quality Leica Dicomar wide-angle zoom lens with a super-smooth, cam-driven manual/power zoom, focus ring, and aperture dial in a rugged package.

On the newly-announced 8G P2 card, the AG-HVX200 records for 32 minutes in DVCPRO or DV, 20 minutes in 720p/24, 16 minutes in DVCPRO50, and eight minutes in 1080i/60 and 720p/60. The camcorder includes two P2 card slots to permit continuous recording. Its “hot” swap function assures non-stop recording, because it allows a user to replace any P2 card (except the one being recorded on) on the fly. P2 cards can be re-written over and over without performance degradation.

The AG-HVX200’s 4:3 viewfinder displays a 16:9 image in letterbox, which allows the user to view vital camera operating information in areas above and below the image. In addition, its 3.5” LCD monitor is available to assist shooting as well as to view and select thumbnail clips to speed editing. The LCD monitor allows random access to the thumbnail-displayed scenes (on the P2 card) for instant playback and the creation of an in-camera storyboard.

Audio performance is superb with 4-channel non-compressed 48KHz/16-bit digital audio in DVCPRO HD and DVCPRO50 and two channels in DVCPRO and DV. The AG-HVX200 is loaded with system interfaces (including IEEE 1394 and USB 2.0), and professional interfaces including two XLR audio (with +48 volt phantom power) inputs, a component (D4) output, composite in/out, S-video in/out, audio (RCA) in/out, and headphone output.

For operator convenience, the camcorder is highly customizable with features including six user scene files, three user setup buttons, and Camera Setup Memory (up to eight camera setups can be saved to a SD Memory card). Other key features include Shot Mark and Time Code Stamp functions, and interval recording in Mini-DV on tape. The AG-HVX200’s targeted weight is under three kilograms.

The AG-HVX200 will be available in Fall 2005 at a suggested list price of under $10,000 US. Product specifications may be modified or may be subject to change.

Panasonic’s DVCPRO P2 series products are fully compatible with DVCPRO, the industry’s standard for digital news gathering, and provide a seamless migration path to DVCPRO HD. DVCPRO P2 offers non-linear acquisition and instant access to material, high-speed file transfer, laptop field editing without requirement for proxy videos, and compatibility with off-the-shelf data storage drives for low-cost archiving, while eliminating traditional digitizing and ingesting operations.



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