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Panasonic Enhances P2

Panasonic will introduce a P2-based HD Palmcorder at NAB in April. The Palmcorder, priced at less than $10,000, will aid HD newsgathering. The company is also rolling out products and features that it hopes will expand the popularity of its existing P2 solid-state recording system.

Moving from a disk-based system to one that records video as files requires a leap of faith. First, a facility needs to feel confident sending staffers into the field with solid-state memory cards, which cost $1,500 a piece. (A typical camera is outfitted with five.)

Second, a station needs to embrace next-generation equipment, which requires non-linear editing and storage servers to take full advantage of the system. P2's major strength is that videotaped content can be accessed without being ingested onto a server. Several new products are designed to add flexibility, particularly in field operations. The AJ-PCS060 DVCPRO P2 Store, a 60-GB 2.5-inch hard-disk drive housed in a sturdy case that can withstand life on the road, is expected to be priced at less than $1,000.

For example, each TV news reporter could receive a P2 Store capable of holding up to 60 GB (15 4-GB cards). Once material is shot for a story, the video files can be transferred in roughly four minutes and stored at 25 Mbps. Reporters can return to the station with their video, while the cameraperson can retain the cards and immediately reuse them.

In addition, Panasonic offers the AJ-YAK800 proxy video option. Having the ability to instantly create and transmit low-resolution copies of a full-resolution file quickens the editing process. “Most users will see the original footage, cut the story and be done with it,” says Phil Livingston, Panasonic Broadcast VP and technical liaison.

“But a news organization might have a reporter on the other side of the world. Now staff can send a low-res version of the video back to the U.S. People can analyze the story and edit accordingly,” he adds. Later, when the high-res version arrives, the system automatically matches the cuts made in the low-res version, and the story is done.

Users can send proxies at three different data rates: 196 kbps for dial-up, 768 kbps for almost real-time transfer over TCP/IP (Internet Protocol) and 1.5 Mbps for on-air quality playback distribution.