The HMZ1U features twin bright HD lenses (f/1.2 at the wide end) that zoom up to 5x in 3D modes and 10x in 2D modes. The imagers are likewise twinned; at 3.3 Mp each, the 1/4.1-type CMOS chips capture dual video signals at Full HD 1920 x 1080 that can be recorded as a single file that's encoded as MVC. This is a variant of AVCHD's MPEG-4 compression that, with its left-eye and right-eye information, contains double the usual information of a comparable two-dimensional HD file.
Along with traditional 2D capture of AVCHD at several selectable bit rates, there are also modes for recording 3D as two half-sized images side-by-side, producing bit-efficient AVCHD files. The camcorder's Falconbird LSI processing enables the recording of 3D video as both 60i, for smooth motion in fast-action shots, and as 24p, for a film-like effect.
Along with its capability to record cinematic 24p Full HD, what truly sets this camcorder apart from consumer 3D models is the audio section. With built-in "3D" stereo microphones and dual XLRs for high-quality stereo audio capture from a shotgun mic or wireless audio receiver, the HMZ1U enables the professional audio capture that befits a professional 3D video camera. (A shotgun mic holder is included on the camera's handle but a microphone is sold separately.) Audio is recorded in 3D modes as dual-channel AAC for biphonic 3D sound, and in 2D modes it's recorded as two-channel Dolby Digital.
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