Panasonic Introduces Ultra-Compact MultiCams
Panasonic recently unveiled two new Palmcorder MultiCams, its smallest-ever camcorders. The Mini DV camcorders are designed to combine high-quality digital video, still images and PC connectivity with portability and ease of use. Panasonic will market the new ultra-compact MultiCams as dual video/still cams.
Video features will include a 10x optical zoom lens, zoom microphone, electronic image stabilization and MagicPix for low-light situations. The cams will also incorporate a picture-in-picture feature designed to let users insert a small still image over the video it is recording.
The new MultiCam models, PV-DC152 (MSRP $900) and PV-DC252 (MSRP $1,000), both measure 2.7 inches by 3.5 inches by 4.5 inches, and were expected in stores by mid-March. The DC-252 will come with an 8MB SD Memory Card with removable storage slot and ArcSoft photo editing software.
Ulead’s DVD Workshop Offers Advanced Authoring
With Ulead’s release of DVD Workshop, a new DVD authoring program, the company builds on DVD MovieFactory, which it released last year.
While MovieFactory ($50 MSRP) users are locked into non-customizable templates, DVD Workshop users will have precise controls over all creative aspects of their DVDs, a Ulead spokesperson said. The program offers the ability to include high-end effects such as motion backgrounds, buttons and scene thumbnails.
In addition, DVD Workshop includes Ulead’s MPEG-Direct capture, which is designed to capture video directly to the MPEG-2 format via IEEE 1394 (FireWire) and analog capture boards. The program also supports video captures beyond the problematic 4GB-capture limit.
DVD Workshop outputs video to DVD, VCD and SVCD. Before committing their projects to DVD or CD discs, users can preview their work in real time. DVD Workshop is available at a suggested retail price of $299.
JVC’s New Digital/Analog Dual VTR
JVC Professional has announced its new Mini DV and S-VHS dual editing deck, the SR-VS30U. The deck will feature One-Touch Dubbing and an IEEE 1394 connection for both DV and VHS. In addition, the SR-VS30 is designed to act as two independent decks, with the ability to play back or record on both decks simultaneously. JVC said many videographers still use their high-end camcorders as playback devices when transferring footage into nonlinear systems. As a permanent fixture in a studio, the dedicated SR-VS30U saves wear on a camcorder in addition to offering greater convenience and ease of use.
A JVC spokesperson described a couple of improvements over its predecessor, the SR-VS20U (MSRP $2,000). The deck’s TimeCode feature should improve editing accuracy. In addition, JVC has beefed up the unit’s IEEE 1394 connectivity, allowing the deck to work with more systems.
The SR-VS20U is slated for an April release. At press time, a price had not yet been set.
New Sony Mini DV Cams to Start at $800
While Sony’s recent camcorder news has centered on its new MICRO MV format as well as some new Hi8 and Digital8 models, the electronics giant recently announced four new Mini DV handycams. The lowest-priced new model, the DCR-TRV18, is slated to sell for about $800.
All of the new models will feature SwivelScreen LCD displays, i.LINK (IEEE 1394) connectivity, SteadyShot image stabilization, two low-light shooting modes and removable Memory Stick media. They also will feature the ability to snap a still image while recording video. The DCR-TRV50, at the high-end of the new camcorder line, will sport a 1.5 megapixel CCD as well as an intuitive pop-up flash and a manual spot-focus function. The $1,600 TRV50 will also feature wireless Bluetooth technology, enabling users (with an optional Bluetooth adapter) to connect with the Internet without a PC. The four cams are expected to hit the retail market in April and May.