Shopping for Pro Video Gear at NAB
 
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Shopping for Pro Video Gear at NAB

By Kyle Doris

Some people go to the annual National Association of Broadcasters convention in search of knowledge. Others go to socialize. We go to shop for the latest gear. We weren't disappointed as Panasonic, Sony, and JVC, among others, served up the best in professional video equipment.

Among our finds:

  • A camera from Panasonic that shoots video even when the thermometer reads sixty below zero.

  • A customizable, professional-grade studio monitor from Sony.

  • A studio monitor from JVC with built-in HD-SDI that doesn't require a second mortgage.

Panasonic

The newest member of Panasonic's P2-based camera line is the AG-HPX500. For those familiar with the 5.2-pound AG-HVX200, last year's handheld P2 bombshell, this new camera, at 8.4-lbs.can be considered its big brother. Also, the P2 family has been rechristened P2HD; an acknowledgment that high definition is now mainstream and the P2s are fully capable of recording HD content.

Panasonic HPX500

The HPX500 ($19,999.95 for one of several kits) has been designed using the familiar ENG shoulder-mounted style. It accommodates interchangeable bayonet lenses and supports lenses that use special technology to reduce chromatic aberration. Chromatic aberration is essentially those nasty red flares that sometimes appear around thick lines.

The camera shoots DVCPRO, DVCPRO 50, and DVCPRO HD (100) in a variety of resolutions and frame rates including 720p, 1080i, and 1080p. The 2/3-inch chips provide a significant increase in overall image quality compared to the 1/3-inch chips found in all handheld prosumer cameras. The larger chips reduce noise, especially in low light.

With the HPX500 boasting four P2 slots, long-form video capture is enabled. The incorporation of extra slots means that raw shooting time can be leveraged even further thanks to Panasonic's shipment of 16-gigabyte (GB) cards and its announcement of a 32-GB version to ship later this year. The 16-GB P2 card ($899.95) is now available.

The AG-HPX500 was chosen to shoot the Iditarod race in Alaska this year because of the camera's ability to operate in extremely low temperatures. Panasonic claims the equipment will work at temperatures as cold as 60-degrees below zero. Mittens not included.

Panasonic BT-LH80W

Panasonic also announced a compact LCD monitor, the BT-LH80W. The 7.9-inch display delivers exceptional performance in the field and includes focusing features not usually associated with such a small size. One option called Focus-In-Red enhances edges with a red tone when they are in focus. The second, Pixel-to-Pixel, lets you zoom into an area of the frame at 1:1 native resolution, akin to the focus assist option on the AG-HVX200. Both can be used simultaneously to help get your shots as crisp as possible. It's available now at B&H for $2,199.95.

Sony

Sony DXC-D55WSH

Sony announced several goodies targeted at video professionals including a revision to its popular DXC-D50 studio/EFP series cameras. The DXC-D55 (4:3 aspect ratio) and DXC-D55WSH (16:9) are high-performance convertible cameras that can be fitted to work with both Multicore and Triax systems. The most notable revision is the use of a new analog/digital converter. The 10-bit LSI has been replaced with a 14-bit version, which produces higher overall image quality.

Sony HVR-1500

Also on the menu this year was the Sony HVR-1500 HDV digital video recorder. More professionals are turning to HDV as an affordable alternative to higher-priced systems, especially for reality television and b-roll/crash cam footage. The largest problem with HDV is that most broadcast stations require that programs be finished and delivered in more robust formats such as XDCAM, DVCPRO HD, and HDCAM. The Sony HVR-1500 ($6,930) bridges the gap between the HDV and broadcast-ready counterparts, providing studios with an all-in-one deck that includes HD-SDI output. That makes it easy to transfer uncompressed footage to more suitable media.

Sony LMD series

For people craving video inputs on their LCD monitors, Sony is releasing a series of displays. The LMD-2030W ($1,349.95), LMD-2050W ($2,399.95), and LMD-2450W ($3,149.95) are all fitted with both digital and analog component interfaces. The option of SDI, HD-SDI, and HDMI inputs are possible through the use of add-on module cards. Features such as waveform monitoring and audio-level display make these LCDs especially useful for editing suites located in tight spaces.

JVC

JVC is getting into the HD-SDI studio monitor mix as well by introducing the DT-V24L1DU ($4,199.95) and DTV201DU LCDs. Based on the same technology, the screens are respectively 24- and 20-inches in size. They both include a bevy of professional features including embedded audio and support for 1080/24p. The 24-inch version can resize 720p signals by fitting them to the middle of the screen. This option allows users to view their footage natively, pixel by pixel. The 20-inch version can perform the opposite task by displaying a portion of a 1080p signal at its native resolution. Support for 1:1 viewing can be very useful when doing production finishes or HD editing.

While this article can only scratch the surface of this year's RED-hot NAB event, hopefully some of these products can help you in a variety of production and post-production applications, whether professional, prosumer, or enthusiast. Happy Taping! (… or rather “Recording on non-tape-based media”.)

 

 

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