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NAB: Panasonic Launches Faster P2, AVCHD Gear and More

The E Series cards offer transfer speed of 1.2 Gbps at a low price.

Bringing solid-state workflows and its popular P2 storage format to more and more users, Panasonic on Sunday announced several new products and partnership at the 2009 NAB Show.

For starters, new, faster P2 cards are on their way. The E Series cards offer transfer speed of 1.2 Gbps at a low price. The 32 GB ($625) and 16 GB ($420) versions are available in May, with the 64 GB (less than $1,000) coming in August. The 64 GB version will hold one hour of the highest quality 10-bit HD video, or four hours of DVCPRO video.

For its recently released HPX-300 multiformat camera, Panasonic announced a new free firmware upgrade that will enhance its performance. The Flash Band Compensation firmware upgrade compensates for the “flash band” effect experienced by most MOS-based imagers.

Also contributing to the ease of workflow in 10-bit HD is a new portable (2.5 pounds) P2 recorder, the AG-HPG20. It provides HDMI and HD-SDI inputs as well as an HDMI output.

More P2 storage products are on tap from Panasonic. The AJ-PCD35 ($2,190) is a five-slot P2 drive that can capture video from cards at 1.2 Gbps. And the AJ-HRW10 P2 Rapid Writer ($9,995) offloads up to five P2 cards into two RAID drives simultaneously.

Panasonic also expanded its AVCCAM lineup, which captures HD at the lower-bit-rate AVCHD format. The compact, light handheld camcorder, the AG-HMC40 weighs less than 2.2 pounds and can also take 10.6-megapixel still photos. It’s available in August. There’s also a new AVCCAM battery-powered portable recorder/player with a 3.5-inch LCD screen, that can capture three hours of native HD in a 32 GB card. To go with that is the new ultra-compact HCK10 camera head (nicknamed POVCAM) with three newly-developed 1/4-inch 2-megapixel HD resolution 3-MOS imagers. It weighs about half a pound.

The company also announced a new switcher for mid-sized studio and mobile applications, The AV-HS450, based on last year’s AV HS400, has 16 SD/HD/SDI inputs and a dual-output multiviewer, letting users see four, six, or 10 images on each of two high-resolution displays. Up to 16 images can viewed on a single screen, and a total of 20 can be configured for display on two screens.

Panasonic chalked up more partners for its P2 storage format. The Rimage Archiver for P2 HD, introduced at the end of 2008, is a fully integrated solution for offloading and archiving Panasonic P2 HD content and is exclusively available on the Rimage Producer III and Professional series of disc publishers. Now, P2 solid state camera card files can be safely and automatically recorded for archive and/or distribution on a non-linear format in Rimage disc publishing systems using a simple drag-and-drop workflow while maintaining the P2 data structure and integrity.

Rimage announced that Mac users can also work the P2 with Rimage’s new DiscFlow 2.0 software.

EVS and SeaChange have also joined the P2 bandwagon, the latter with a flash server. Panasonic now boasts 35 partners for the P2 format.