The HMC150 represents the next generation in affordable HD video production tools. The new handheld provides professionals and enthusiasts alike the flexibility of high-quality 1080/720 AVCHD recording at bit rates up to 24Mbps and a simple, solid-state SD memory card workflow. AVCHD, the industry’s new MPEG-4 / AVC Hi Profile compression format, provides a near doubling of bandwidth efficiency with improved video performance over the older MPEG-2 compression used in HDV formats. As a result, AVCHD recordings made by Panasonic AVCCAM camcorders are crisp and clear, even during fast motion, reducing image degradation or dropouts associated with HDV and other tape or disc-based systems.
"With features such as advanced, full 1920x1080 AVC Hi Profile HD recording, higher professional bit-rates, and an affordable and faster, solid-state SD card workflow, the HMC150 offers a state of the art professional handheld solution for those looking for the highest quality and flexibility at an affordable price," said Robert Harris, Vice President, Marketing, Panasonic Broadcast. "The AG-HMC150 offers longer recording times and higher recording quality than is possible with current HDV formats."
The HMC150 features 1/3" 16:9 progressive 3-CCD imagers that improve signal-to-noise ratio and deliver excellent low-light performance. It is equipped with a 13X Leica Dicomar zoom lens system offering an extra-wide 28mm angle setting (the widest in its class). For stable, precise shooting in any situation, the AVCCAM camcorder features a cam-driven manual zoom ring, auto or manual operation of focus and iris, and optical image stabilization (O.I.S.). The HMC150 offers a host of selectable gamma tools including Cine-like gamma to produce warm film-like images, as well as helpful shooting functions such as a waveform monitor and a vectorscope display, focus assist and Dynamic Range Stretch (DRS).
The HMC150 records in a range of HD formats including 1080/24p, 1080/30p, 1080/60i, 720/24p, 720/30p and 720/60p. The handheld records stunning high definition in four recording modes – the highest quality PH mode (average 21 Mbps/max. 24 Mbps), HA mode (approx.17 Mbps), HG mode (approx.13 Mbps) and HE mode (approx. 6 Mbps). It captures full horizontal resolution 1920x1080 images at its PH, HA and HG recording modes. The camera can also be set to capture 1280x720 images in its PH mode. The recorded AVCHD files can also maintain metadata for individual recorded clips.
With the HMC150, videographers can capitalize on the cost advantages, reliability and widespread availability of SD and SDHC memory cards. Using just one 32GB SDHC memory card, users can record three hours of full pixel 1920x1080 video and audio at PH mode, four hours at HA mode and 5.3 hours at HG mode. In the HE mode, the camera can record up to 12 hours of 1440x1080 HD content – all on a single 32GB SDHC card.
The HMC150 comes standard with interface connections including HDMI out, USB 2.0, HD component out (mini D terminal), composite out as well as jacks to control zoom remotely, focus, iris and start/stop functions. Professional audio connections include XLR two-channel audio input (48V phantom power) with mic/line select, built-in stereo microphone, headphone out, manual two-channel audio level VR and RCA audio out jacks. The camera also offers a time/date stamp for legal depositions or surveillance, histogram display and time code/user bits. Other useful recording functions include pre-record, interval and shot marker, as well as new modes including last-clip delete and Rec check, which allows immediate review of the most-recently recorded clip.
Compact and lightweight, the 3.7-lb. handheld has an easy-to-grip design for balanced, stable shooting in a variety of environments. The camera has a color viewfinder and a 3.5-inch color LCD monitor that displays content in thumbnail images for quick viewing. Other valuable features include SMPTE time code generator/reader, three user buttons with 11 choices for customization, and a high-speed shutter (up to 1/2000 sec.)
For editing or playback, professionals can instantly transfer content from the HMC150 camcorder to Mac or PC computers with an SD/SDHC card reader or by connecting the camcorder directly via its USB 2.0 interface. Unlike HDV tapes, SD cards with AVCHD content can be inserted into and played back on a growing number of affordable playback devices including Blu-ray players (like Panasonic’s DMP-BD30), the Sony PlayStation 3, and some new Panasonic plasma displays, as well as computers with an SD card slot using applications that play AVCHD files. Using NLE software, content can also be edited and rendered in various formats and delivered on a wide range of media.
AVCHD is supported by wide range of editing options including Apple iMovie, Apple Final Cut Pro 6.0.1, Adobe Premier Pro CS3, Grass Valley Edius PRO v4.5, Pinnacle Studio Plus 11, Pinnacle Studio Ultimate 12, Nero7 Premium Reloaded, Ulead Video Studio 11 plus and DVD Movie Factory 6 Plus. In addition, a free transcoder, available for download from the Panasonic Broadcast web site, will convert AVCHD files to DVCPRO HD files for use with most existing professional editing packages.
Panasonic’s AVCCAM camcorder line-up brings the benefits of solid-state recording to budget-conscious professionals. Like digital still photography, recording onto SD/SDHC cards offers a fast and simple, file-based workflow with ultra-reliable performance and resistance to shock, vibration and extreme temperatures and weather. 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 future storage media as technology advances. To backup Panasonic’s claim of solid-state reliability, the HMC150 comes with a three-year limited warranty upon registration.
The HMC150 will be available on October 2nd, at a suggested list price of $3,995. Panasonic offers a wide section of SD and SDHC cards in 32GB, 16GB, 8GB, 4GB, 2GB and 1GB sizes.