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Panasonic Takes Orders for its AG-3DA1 Integrated Full HD 3D Camcorder (22/2/2010)

Video Professionals Can Reserve the Full HD 3D Camera with a $1,000 Deposit

Panasonic Broadcast announced today it will begin taking orders for the AG-3DA1, the world’s first* professional quality, fully-integrated Full HD 3D camcorder offering SD media card recording. Built to order, this offer is being made as a result of the tremendous demand for the Full HD 3D camcorder since its introduction at the International CES show.  Panasonic is now offering video professionals the opportunity to reserve their AG-3DA1 camcorder (list price: $21,000) by placing a non-refundable $1,000 deposit with Panasonic. Details of the program and sales contact information are now available by calling (201) 348-5300 or e-mailing pbtsinfo@us.panasonic.com.**

“The AG-3DA1 will democratize 3D production by giving professional videographers a more affordable and simple solution for capturing immersive content as well as to provide a training tool for educators,” said John Baisley, President, Panasonic Broadcast. “As the product is positioned in a more mainstream budget category, Panasonic camcorder owners will help to accelerate the amount of 3D content being created for distribution on new Blu-ray discs and recently announced 3D channels like those of Direct TV.”

At less than 6.6 pounds, the AG-3DA1 is equipped with dual lenses and two full 1920 x 1080 2.07 megapixel 3-MOS imagers to record 1080/60i, 50i, 30p, 25p and 24p (native) and 720/60p and 50p in AVCHD. It can record for up to 180 minutes on dual 32GB SD cards in Panasonic’s professional AVCHD PH mode, and offers professional interfaces including dual HD-SDI out, HDMI (version 1.4), two XLR connectors, built-in stereo microphone and twin-lens camera remotes.  

This Full HD 3D camcorder will offer the following core benefits:

Easier to Use

Current 3D systems are large-scale setups in which two cameras are fitted to a rig in parallel, or vertically intersect across a half-mirror. Separate recorders are also required. In the AG-3DA1, the lenses, camera head, and a dual Memory Card recorder are integrated into a single, lightweight body.  The camcorder also incorporates stereoscopic adjustment controls making it easier to use and operate.

The twin-lens system adopted in the camcorder’s optical section allows the convergence point*** to be adjusted. Functions for automatically correcting horizontal and vertical displacement are also provided.  Conventional 3D camera systems require these adjustments to be made by means of a PC or an external video processor. This new camcorder, however, will automatically recalibrate without any need for external equipment, allowing immediate 3D image capture.

More Flexible

The solid-state memory file-based recording system offers greater flexibility to produce Full HD 3D videos reliably in more challenging shooting environments. The AG-3DA1 is lighter weight and smaller than current 3D rigs, while providing the flexibility of handheld-style shooting. Setup and transportation is simplified, making it ideal for sports, documentary and filmmaking projects.

Solid-State Reliability and Workflow

Right and Left Full HD video streams of the twin-lens 3D camcorder can be recorded and distributed as files on SDHC/SD Memory Cards, ensuring higher reliability than tape, optical disc, HDD or other mechanical-based recording systems. This solid-state, no-moving-parts design will help significantly reduce maintenance costs.

Users will enjoy a fast, highly-productive file-based workflow, with instant, random access to recorded content; easy plug-in to both Mac and PC-based platforms; and longer recording capacity.

More Affordable

Using a standardized, fully integrated design, the AG-3DA1 is being offered at a much lower price than traditional 3D rigs. Transportation expenses for this handheld unit will be less and faster setup times reduce labor costs. Using standard, re-recordable SDHC/SD Memory Cards available already everywhere, media costs become almost insignificant.

In addition to a camcorder, Panasonic also announced the BT-3DL2550, a 25” professional-quality 3D LCD monitor for field use, and the AG-HMX100, a professional HD digital AV mixer for live 3D event production. Panasonic will offer professional production equipment to allow video professionals to efficiently create 3D content, so consumers can enjoy 3D video using Panasonic 3D home theater systems.

AG-3DA1’s Major Specifications:

-         Twin-lens Full HD 3D camcorder
-         Suggested Retail Price for Main Unit: $21,000
-         Available: Fall 2010 (made to order)
-         Power Consumption: 16 W (main unit only)
-         Weight: Under 6.6 pounds (3 kg) -- main unit only
-         Recording Media: SDHC/SD Memory Card

*       As an integrated twin-lens Full HD 3D camcorder capable of recording Full HD 3D video to Memory Cards. As of January 2010 (based on our investigation).
**     This pre-order program and contact information is limited to USA customers only. Customers outside of the USA can contact Panasonic in their region through the following website: http://pro-av.panasonic.net/en/3d.
***    The point at which the left and right-camera lenses’ optical axes converge.

Development Background

Movie companies and content producers are eager to produce more 3D content. 3D video is set to become a mainstream motion picture technology. In response to the resurgence of 3D movies, in September 2009, Panasonic proposed the world’s first 3D home theater systems, based around 3D-enabled Blu-ray Disc players and Plasma TVs (announced and exhibited at CEATEC 2008). In February 2009, the company established the Advanced Authoring Center (within Panasonic Hollywood Laboratory) – at which 3D movies are authored for replication on 3D Blu-ray Discs (announced at CES 2009). Currently, producing 3D movies is a painstaking process. Panasonic intends to promote the production of high-quality 3D video content by accelerating the development of 3D video production systems designed to boost production speed and efficiency.

Supplementary data:

Differences from conventional 3D camera systems:

Conventional 3D camera systems are built from two off-the-shelf film or broadcast cameras. Normally, the two cameras are installed horizontally and side by side, with the right and left camera axes approximately 6.5 cm apart – equivalent to the distance between the human eyes – to create binocular parallax. This can be done with small cameras, but broadcast or film cameras cannot be installed side by side since their bodies and lenses are too large. They must be installed vertically using half-mirrors, or mounted on metal frames called rigs, using prisms. This results in a bulky system that must be carefully adjusted to prevent the right and left cameras from going out of alignment before image capture. In addition, if the system is moved, the shock or vibration inevitably puts the cameras out of alignment, making frequent re-adjustment necessary.

In the AG-3DA1 that Panasonic has developed, the two lenses, camera head, and memory card recorder are incorporated into a single compact housing. Unlike large 3D camera systems, this camcorder allows video shooting with greater mobility and from all angles; significantly reducing the time required for set up and adjustments, thereby leaving more time for creative activities.

Convergence Point Adjustment

The convergence point is the point at which the left and right cameras’ optical axes converge to produce 3D images. To take natural-looking 3D video, the convergence point needs to be adjusted to match that of a human’s eyes, whose convergence point varies according to the closeness of the objects being viewed. Panasonic’s new Full HD 3D camcorder adopts newly-developed twin-lens system that realizes convergence point control with its integrated design.

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