Panasonic Corporation will release a professional, fully-integrated Full HD 3D camcorder in Fall 2010. The company will begin taking orders in April. Engineering samples of the professional Full HD 3D solid-state camcorder will be exhibited at the Panasonic booth (Las Vegas Convention Center, Main Hall, #9405) at the 2010 International CES in Las Vegas, USA, from January 7-10. This Full HD 3D camcorder will offer the following core benefits:
Easier to Use
Current 3D systems are large-scale setups in which two cameras are fitted to a rig in parallel, or vertically intersect across a half-mirror.
Separate recorders are also required. In Panasonic’s new Full HD 3D camcorder, the lenses, camera head, and a dual Memory Card recorder are integrated into a single, lightweight body. The camcorder also incorporates stereoscopic adjustment controls making it easier to use and operate. The twin-lens system adopted in the camcorder’s optical section allows the convergence point (the point at which the left and right-camera lenses’ optical axes converge) to be adjusted:
Functions for automatically correcting horizontal and vertical displacement are also provided. Conventional 3D camera systems require these adjustments to be made by means of a PC or an external video processor. This new camcorder, however, will automatically recalibrate without any need for external equipment, allowing immediate 3D image capture.
The solid-state memory file-based recording system offers greater flexibility to produce Full HD 3D videos in more challenging shooting environments. The camcorder is lighter weight and smaller than current 3D rigs, while providing the flexibility of handheld-style shooting. Setup and transportation is simplified, making it ideal for sports, documentary and filmmaking projects.
Solid-State Reliability and Workflow
Right and left Full HD video streams of the twin-lens 3D camcorder can be recorded as files on SDHC/SD Memory Cards, ensuring higher reliability than on other tape, optical disc, HDD or other mechanical-based recording systems. This solid-state, no-moving-parts design will help significantly reduce maintenance costs, and the 3D camcorder will be better able to perform in extreme environments and be more resistant to temperature extremes, shock, and vibration. And users will enjoy a fast, highly-productive file-based workflow, with instant, random access to recorded content; easy plug-in to both Mac and PC-based platforms; and longer recording capacity.
Using a standardized, fully integrated design, the Full HD 3D camcorder will be offered at a much lower price than traditional 3D rigs. Transportation expenses for this handheld unit will be less and faster setup times reduce labor costs. Using standard, re-recordable SDHC/SD Memory Cards available already everywhere, media costs become almost insignificant. In addition to a camcorder, Panasonic also plans to offer a professional-quality 3D Full HD LCD monitor for field use as well as a professional HD digital AV mixer for live event production. Panasonic will offer professional production equipment to allow video professionals to efficiently create 3D content, so consumers can enjoy 3D video using Panasonic 3D home theater systems.
Major Specifications (tentative)
Product Name: Twin-lens Full HD 3D camcorder (made-to-order)
Suggested Retail Price for Main Unit: $21,000
Available: Fall 2010 (made to order)
Power Consumption: Under 19W (main unit only)
Weight: Under 3 kg (main unit only)
Recording Media: SDHC/SD Memory Card
Movie companies and content producers are eager to produce more 3D content. 3D video is set to become a mainstream motion picture technology. In response to the resurgence of 3D movies, in September 2009, Panasonic proposed the world’s first 3D home theater systems, based around 3D-enabled Blu-ray Disc players and Plasma TVs (announced and exhibited at CEATEC 2008). In February 2009, the company established the Advanced Authoring Center (within Panasonic Hollywood Laboratory) — at which 3D movies are authored for replication on 3D Blu-ray Discs (announced at CES 2009). Currently, producing 3D movies is a painstaking process. Panasonic intends to promote the production of high-quality 3D video content by accelerating the development of 3D video production systems designed to boost production speed and efficiency.
Differences from conventional 3D camera systems
Conventional 3D camera systems are built from two off-the-shelf film or broadcast cameras. Normally, the two cameras are installed horizontally and side by side, with the right and left camera axes approximately 6.5cm apart — equivalent to the distance between the human eyes — to create binocular parallax. This can be done with small cameras, but broadcast or film cameras cannot be installed side by side since their bodies and lenses are too large. They must be installed vertically using half-mirrors, or mounted on metal frames called rigs, using prisms. This results in a bulky system that must be carefully adjusted to prevent the right and left cameras from going out of alignment before image capture. In addition, if the system is moved, the shock or vibration inevitably puts the cameras out of alignment, making frequent re-adjustment necessary.
In this fully-integrated Full HD 3D camcorder that Panasonic has developed, the two lenses, camera head, and memory card recorder are incorporated into a single compact housing. Unlike large 3D camera systems, this camcorder allows video shooting with greater mobility and from all angles; significantly reducing the time required for set up and adjustments, thereby leaving more time for creative activities.
Convergence Point Adjustment
The convergence point is the point at which the left and right cameras’ optical axes converge to produce 3D images. To take natural-looking 3D video, the convergence point needs to be adjusted to match that of a human’s eyes, whose convergence point varies according to the closeness of the objects being viewed. Panasonic’s new Full HD 3D camcorder adopts newly-developed twin-lens system that realizes convergence point control with its integrated design.