Panasonic Broadcast Division Shows SD Card-based Camcorder

Reprinted from a Panasonic Broadcast press release:

Ushering in a new age in electronic newsgathering, Panasonic unveiled here at NAB 2003 its strategy for next-generation DVCPRO newsgathering systems based on solid-state memory.

Panasonic’s ground-breaking architecture features a solid-state memory electronic newsgathering system, fully compatible with existing DVCPRO and DVCPRO50-based non-linear editing and server systems, and supports multiple video resolutions for DTV, including HDTV applications.

“The solid-state memory cards used in this new system are compatible with a computer’s PCMCIA slot and have a transfer rate of 640Mbps. Users experience direct editing from their PCs and high-speed data transfer to networked servers. These capabilities will significantly improve the workflow of news production,” said John Baisley, President, Panasonic Broadcast. “The total operating cost of these next-generation solid-state DVCPRO newsgathering systems will provide broadcasters with compelling economic advantages. First, because the new workflow allows users to go directly from camera-to-computer news editing in a single step, realizing greater productivity in newsgathering, and second, because the transport mechanism-free design eliminates equipment maintenance.”

Panasonic’s solid-state memory card-based DVCPRO news system features mechanical transport-free camcorders and players, eliminating the potential problems of mechanical breakdown or wear from repetitive use. The new camcorders exhibit high immunity to environmental stresses, such as extreme cold or humidity, vibration, repetitive shock, rain, dust or snow. Elimination of all mechanical transport elements also means the camcorders are silent in operation.

The camcorders record on PCMCIA-size cards based on Panasonic’s industry-leading SD Memory card. Four 1GByte SD Memory cards running in parallel in a data array provide a maximum transfer rate of 640Mbps, equivalent to a 20 times real-time transfer rate of DVCPRO quality images, with a record capacity of 18 minutes. The memory cards can be overwritten a minimum of 100,000 times without performance degradation. Higher-capacity memory cards will be available as core SD Memory card sizes increase from 1GByte to 4GBytes to 16GBytes and beyond.

At NAB, Panasonic is displaying design prototypes of its initial solid-state memory card-based camcorders. The shoulder-mount camcorder offers selection of DVCPRO 25Mbps, the de-facto standard for digital newsgathering, and DVCPRO50 studio quality, 4:2:2 50Mbps recording, but with significantly lower weight and power consumption compared to camcorders utilizing mechanical transports. Due to its blazingly-fast 640Mbps transfer rate support, DVCPRO HD-compatible high definition news systems can also be realized using this solid-state memory card technology.

Availability of initial DVCPRO solid-state memory card-based products is targeted for Spring 2004.

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