Panasonic have announced a third-generation VariCam camera, the VariCam HS, that incorporates the company’s AVC-ULTRA family of video codecs and high speed 1080p image capture of up to 240fps to produce extraordinary high-definition imagery for the most demanding documentary, sports or SFX slow-motion applications.
Featuring an innovative modular design, the VariCam HS 2/3” camera head docks with the AVC-ULTRA recording module to provide the full functionality and ergonomics of a conventional production camera/recorder. This system flexibility can be expanded with an umbilical cable between the 2/3” camera module Unit (AU-V23HS1) and the recording module Unit (AU-VREC1), providing “box” camera functionality for jibs, cranes and other “remote” camera needs. This common recorder module is also interchangeable with Panasonic’s new s35mm 4K camera module unit (AU-V35C1) (see separate news release), enabling professionals to switch between 2/3” and s35mm camera heads to best suit their creative needs.
“Building on the esteemed VariCam legacy of breathtaking image rendition and versatile off-speed effects, this next-generation modular design will deliver unprecedented flexibility to users, who can move between the worlds of sports, documentary, and other content creation with extraordinary ease and efficiencies,” said Steve Cooperman, Product Manager, Panasonic System Communications Company of North America.
The VariCam HS utilizes three newly-developed, 1920 x 1080p MOS imagers with an extraordinary 14 stops of dynamic range, providing full control over wide range lighting conditions for unparalleled 1080p native recording/operation. The camera/recorder boasts a classical RGB imager/prism system that provides equi-band full resolution color processing for critical applications. Among the camcorder’s key features are real-time high frame rate and off-speed recording to 240fps in 1080p (using AVC-Intra Class100), plus the ability to ramp / change frame rates during record. To complement the impressive video quality, the new VariCam boasts 24-bit LPCM audio capabilities. Powerful yet creative image controls such as matrix, detail, gammas and a new Log recording capability, allow precise, powerful creative control over image parameters.
The VariCam HS will feature a range of high-quality recording formats including AVC-Intra Class100 (recording as 1080/24p, 30p or 60p format with VFR (up to 240p), AVC-Intra Class200 (up to 30p/60i) and AVC-Intra Class4:4:4 (up to 30p). Both AVC-Intra Class200 and AVC-Intra Class4:4:4 deliver spectacular performance in applications where image quality is the utmost consideration.
The VariCam HS adds Log to the well-respected FilmRec, VideoRec and Dynamic Range Stretch (DRS) image contrast management controls. The VariCam HS will feature Panasonic’s Emmy® Award-winning Chromatic Aberration Compensation (CAC) technology to minimize lateral chromatic aberrations and dramatically improve the Modulation Transfer Function (MTF) of the optical system.
AVC-Intra Class4:4:4 supports 12-bit recording for 1080p content, allowing file-based 4:4:4 workflows with the unparalleled ability to handle the finer tonal graduations and color fidelity that the 12-bit format provides. AVC-Intra Class200, at twice the bit rate per frame of AVC-Intra Class100, is visually lossless, delivering studio master quality for recording network-level programming and archiving. AVC-Intra Class200 is ideal for field capture of content for film-outs; the higher quality greatly enhances color correction processes, as well as green screen and compositing applications.
The VariCam HS will use Panasonic’s new expressP2 card for high frame rate recording (frame rates above 60fps: see separate news release). The camera recording module unit is equipped with a total of four memory card slots, two for expressP2 cards and two for microP2 cards. The new expressP2 card can record about 32 minutes of 240p 1080 HD video. The microP2 card is designed for recording HD or 2K at more typical production frame rates.
Addressing the need for high-speed file exchange, the VariCam HS encodes high-resolution proxy files in parallel with higher bandwidth production formats, enabling fast, efficient offline editing, at bit rates from 6 Mbps down to 1.5Mbps.
Professional interfaces include: RGB4:4:4; a 3G-HD-SDI out to support 1080/60p, an HD-SDI out for monitoring; and two XLR inputs to record four channels of 24-bit, 48KHz audio. A multi-connector facilitates docking the camera head to the recording module. In another innovative design addition, the VariCam HS boasts a removable control panel to facilitate real-time control and easy menu access when the camera is in a fixed or remote position. The camera’s 2/3” B4 lens mount enables use of a remarkable variety of prime lenses and servo zooms, lensing possibilities simply not available on larger formats.
The VariCam HS will launch fall 2014, with pricing to be announced.
For further information about Panasonic professional video products, visit www.panasonic.com/broadcast.