Panasonic Expands Professional AVCHD Product Line with New AG-HMC70 Shoulder-Mount Camcorder
Panasonic announced the expansion of its professional AVCHD product line with the introduction of the AG-HMC70 AVCHD camcorder. As the industry’s first shoulder-mount AVCHD camcorder, the HMC70 records high-quality 1080i images onto readily available SD/SDHC memory cards.
Like Panasonic’s full production quality solid-state P2 HD recording system, this AVCHD camcorder eliminates the need for and cost of a special deck, as well as the time required to transfer content from a tape or optical disc to a PC for editing or content distribution. Since it uses a standard SD or SDHC card, the HMC70’s recording capacity will increase and media cost decrease as the industry announces new higher capacity cards.
Joining the small hand-held AG-HSC1U in Panasonic’s AVCHD camcorder line-up, the HMC70 utilizes the industry standard H.264-based Advanced Video Codec High Definition (AVCHD) video format to deliver crisp HD images. AVCHD delivers twice the recording efficiency of older MPEG-2 codec technologies like HDV, and it is supported by a growing number of nonlinear editing packages including Apple’s Final Cut Pro Version 6.0.1 and i-Movie, Grass Valley EDIUS Software Version 4.5, Pinnacle Studio Plus 11, Nero 7 Premium Reloaded, Ulead Video Studio 11 Plus and Ulead DVD Movie Factory 6 Plus.
The HMC70 features three native16:9 progressive 1/4" CCDs to record, or provide a live feed of, widescreen 1440 x 1080 HD resolution images of weddings, sports, concerts, or other events. It can be used by law enforcement agencies for training or surveillance, by schools for use in video production, live staging and documentation, or by broadcasters and newspapers for web journalism. The camcorder is equipped with a 12X 38.5mm to 462mm Leica wide-angle zoom lens, one-push auto focus, and integrated Optical Image Stabilization (O.I.S.) that ensures stable images, which are most critical when displaying high definition video. The camera also provides excellent color reproduction and inherits the exceptional color rendition of Panasonic’s other professional HD cameras.
The camcorder brings the benefits of solid-state recording to budget-conscious professionals. Like digital still photography, recording onto an SD/SDHC card offers a fast and simple IT-compatible workflow, and ensures ultra-reliable performance because the HMC70 uses no moving parts (unlike tape or disc-based camcorders) in the recording process. The HMC70 is resistant to shock, vibration, temperature change and extreme weather conditions and because it is solid-state, users have instant access to the recorded footage without the need to ingest or digitize. In addition, SD and SDHC memory cards are inexpensive, widely available, and can be reused repeatedly. Since AVCHD records video as digital data files, content can be transferred and stored on affordable, high-capacity hard disk drives(HDD) and optical storage media and transferred to new ones as advanced technology is introduced in the future.
The flexible camcorder provides professionals with continuous record time for long-form HD video production. With just the touch of a button, users can choose to shoot in one of the camera’s three recording modes – 6Mbps, 9Mbps or 13Mbps. Using the new 16GB SDHC memory card (available in November 2007), the HMC70 can record for up to 360 minutes at 6Mbps quality and up to 160 minutes at 13Mbps, the camera’s highest quality mode.
The HMC70’s lightweight, shoulder-mount design facilitates stable shooting and better balance during long recording sessions. The camcorder’s 3-inch 16:9 LCD monitor offers thumbnail display of recorded images so videographers can monitor or delete clips. Professionals can also capture 2.1 Megapixel still images with the camcorder onto the SDHC memory card – even during video recording. The SD card content can be played back directly on a growing number of large HD flat screen displays, front and rear-screen projectors, and PCs that offer an SD card slot with AVCHD decoder software. AVCHD content also can be played back on the Panasonic DMP-BD10AK Blu-ray Disc™ Player and on the PlayStation 3 game system. Using NLE software, content can also be rendered in various formats and delivered on a wide range of media.
Unlike entry-level cameras, the HMC70 offers professional audio capabilities including two XLR Mic/Line switchable inputs with attenuation, +48V Phantom Power, and both Auto & Manual level with Rec level dials. This allows flexible high quality audio recording using a wide range of wired and wireless microphones and mixers.
Professionals can instantly transfer content from the HMC70 camcorder to Mac or PC computers with an SD/SDHC card reader or by connecting the camcorder directly via its USB 2.0 interface. Other connectors that provide even greater flexibility include HD/SD component and composite (BNCs), HDMI and RCA audio jacks.
The HMC70 will be available in April 2008. Options will include a VW-VBG6 5,800-mAH Battery, VW-W4307H Wide Conversion Lens, and VW-T4314H Tele Conversion Lens.