Panasonic Makes Colossal Leap in Digital Cinematography with Debut of P2 HD VariCam Line

Recognised worldwide as the industry's premier digital cinematography camera, Panasonic's VariCam HD Cinema has established itself as an indispensable acquisition tool delivering the distinct, prized look of film. At the 2008 National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show in Las Vegas, Panasonic takes a quantum leap forward with the introduction of two advanced tapeless VariCam implementations in the new VariCam 3700 (model AJ-HPX3700) and VariCam 2700 (model AJ-HPX2700) P2 HD camcorders.

Much more than a marriage of Panasonic's popular solid-state recording technology and VariCam capabilities, these new 2/3-inch P2 HD models greatly advance digital filmmaking with features including master-quality, full-resolution 10-bit 4:2:2 AVC-Intra 100 recording; variable frame rates in 1-frame increments; HD-SDI output of 23.98PsF/24PsF; and a multigamma function including Film-Rec for the prized VariCam look, which closely matches the latitude of film stocks.

The benefits of P2 HD solid-state acquisition assure exceptional reliability and a faster, file-based workflow in any shooting environment in which the VariCam 3700 or VariCam 2700 is utilised. Moreover, both P2 HD VariCams are backed by Panasonic's industry-leading five-year limited warranty.

A fully solid-state implementation of the highly regarded DVCPRO HD VariCam, the VariCam 2700 offers 2/3-inch native HD resolution 3-CCDs and produces cinema-quality, independent frame, 1080 and 720 images with 4:2:2 10-bit sampling in AVC-Intra 100. The camera also supports recording in a more bandwidth-efficient AVC-Intra 50 compression as well as the ubiquitous DVCPRO HD. Designed for sports, documentaries, independent films, and other projects where versatility is essential, the VariCam 2700 offers intuitive operation with advanced gamma setting, variable frame rates (from 1 fps to 60 fps in 720p mode), as well as two separate HD-SDI outputs.

The new flagship model of the P2 HD VariCam line, the VariCam 3700 offers full native 1920x1080-pixel acquisition and independent frame recording with 10-bit/4:2:2 sampling. The HPX3700 2/3-inch 2.2 megapixel 3-CCD camera also offers a 4:4:4 RGB dual-link live output to deliver pristine images ideal for composition of visual effects even while recording. Tailor-made for feature films, television episodic, and commercial production, the VariCam 3700 records in full-raster 1920x1080 resolution in AVC-Intra 100, and records in AVC-Intra 50 and DVCPRO HD as well. Its variable frame rate function has a range from 1 fps to 30 fps in 1-frame increments, and is equipped with three HD-SDI outputs (dual-link plus monitor).

Both the VariCam 3700 and VariCam 2700 are switchable between 59.94-Hz and 50-Hz recording. Five P2 card slots allow continuous recording, card selection, hot swapping, loop rec, pre-rec, interval rec, and one-shot recording. With five 32 GB P2 cards installed, operators can record up to 200 minutes in AVC-Intra 100 at 1080/24p, 400 minutes in AVC-Intra 100 at 720/24p, 320 minutes in other AVC-Intra 50 formats, and 160 minutes in other AVC-Intra 100 or DVCPRO HD formats. Recording times will double with the release of Panasonic's 64GB P2 card later this year.

Additional image-enhancing features found in both camcorders include 14-bit A/D processing, Chromatic Aberration Compensation (CAC) to maximise lens performance, Dynamic Range Stretching (DRS) for wide variations in lighting, unique shutter angle settings, built-in scan reverse, and full control of matrix and colour correction for precise image matching.

The VariCam 3700 and VariCam 2700 share a high sensitivity of F10 at 2,000 lx. The new P2 HD VariCams incorporate 48-kHz/16-bit, four-channel digital audio recording. Text memos and shot markers can be added. Proxy data recording is possible with the optional AJ-YAX800G board. Other invaluable features include scene files, user buttons, user menu and focus assist functions, and newly designed, two-wheel (ND and CC) optical filters.

The AJ-HPX3700 and AJ-HPX2700 will be available in autumn 2008.