Panasonic's True 1920x1080 P2 Imaging Plans; P2 Card Prices Dropping

At a January 26 "Editors' Lounge" event held at Alpha Dogs in Burbank, CA, Panasonic representatives discussed the next big step in the P2 product line – beyond the AG-HPX500 that was introduced to the press last week. The AJ-HPX3000, due sometime before the end of the year, will bring true 10-bit 1920×1080 imaging to the P2 line-up for somewhere south of $50,000.
Watch the video, below, to see a presentation on P2 workflow by Panasonic Broadcast's Tom James.

Panasonic Presents P2 …

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The presentation at the Lounge was short on details, but here's a cribsheet on what to expect from the HPX3000.

  • 2 million pixel progressive image block
  • Using the AVC-Intra codec, get a 10-bit image at full 1920×1080 resolution, not 1440×1080
  • Camera will be less than $50,000
  • 32 GB P2 cards will be "about $1000" at year's end
  • Because NLE support won't be ready at the camera's launch, Panasonic will provide tools that will decode 1920×1080 content and send it out via HD-SDI
  • "By this time next year, there will be codec support in the edit packages … and we're going to put that D-5 quality across FireWire."
P2 Workflow & Archiving
While many have been raving about the HVX200 and are eagerly awaiting the HVX2000 due to ship in May, and even more so the HPX500 and HPX3000, others point to the problems inherent in an IT workflow like those of P2 and other tapeless cameras present.

“P2 is a real practical solution for news or anything where you just want the cut piece and you don’t have to save your source material,” says Howard Brock, president of Runway, an editorial rental house in LA. “The problem is if you need to archive that material it’s going to be a challenge. You have a couple hard drives on the shelf storing the material and it’s tough to keep track of it all. It’s not like having a bunch of tapes.”

John Svetlik, senior account manager, Creative Media Partners adds, “In the case of backing up the data you have all sorts of imperfect mechanisms and these issues are not limited to the video world. How do you move digital data forward? Asset management is the thing you are going to hear more and more and more. When you are just talking about bits, what is the right format and how do you find it again? It becomes a database problem. As you copy and move and slice and dice this information it just becomes harder to manage.”

In addition to archiving, Brock points out that the tapeless workflow bottlenecks when it comes to making tapes.

“The biggest problem is when you need to make a dub of,” notes Brock. “Now your tapeless workflow has to talk to the tape world. As soon as your tapeless world has to talk to the tape world your nonlinear editing system becomes a tape machine. So you’re using your NLE as a tape system: bring the media in and allow the editing system to spit it out to tape, which is not very efficient.”

Pansonic reps noted that tapeless is the future of content creation and asset management and storage solutions will need to adapt. They also presented two solutions for longterm archival solution and promised more to come:

  • Data tape. "One good solution is LTO3 because it is very high speed and while the drives are a little expensive, getting 640 mbps out of an LTO3 drive is realistic and the cartridges hold between 400-800 GB. The cartridges are roughly $60."
  • Blu-Ray jukebox "We have shown an automated system using Bu ray that is like a jukebox that holds 30 Blu Ray discs and a Blu Ray recorder in it and a content management software package that will allow you to set up projects and ut them into a database that allows you to sort by metadata, add metadata and share the database with others. The CMS software will be available for free."