Live From NAB 2017: Panasonic Media Entertainment Co. Offers New Name, New Tech
Everest Ultra High Density Wifi, HLC 100 Production Center among highlights
There’s a new Panasonic at NAB 2017. The recently rebranded Panasonic Media Entertainment Co. is looking to transform itself from a video-equipment manufacturer to a provider of connected solutions that take advantage of the Internet of Things concept.
“It’s a major shift in our corporation’s structure and a focus on the media and entertainment business,” says Jim Wickizer, group manager, marketing, Panasonic Media Entertainment Co..
Masaki Arizono, Panasonic executive officer, Panasonic Corp./VP, Connected Solutions Co. in charge of media entertainment business, says the new focus will be on B2B as a growth driver.
“For the whole group, B2B accounts for 80% of our global business, and, in the U.S., it accounts for over 90% of our revenue,” he adds. “So we will shift to IOT solutions,P[[ and we also have a new leader, Yasayuki Higuchi, who was previously chairman of Microsoft Japan. He is from beyond our executive talent pool and has a distinguished career at companies like Apple Japan, HP in the U.S. and Japan, and then Microsoft.”
The new Panasonic will focus on six areas: Entertainment, Avionics, Manufacturing, Retail, Logistics, and Public Projects.
At NAB 2017, the Entertainment segment is the focus, and Panasonic is rolling out a number of new technologies, including the Everest ultra-high-density Wi-Fi network system that the company believes will make a big difference for venues looking to meet the growing connectivity needs of fans in the stands.
“With Everest, we are literally changing the fan experience,” says Jim Doyle, president, Panasonic Enterprise Solutions Co. “Ultra-high-density wireless presents a significant set of engineering challenges. Our system offers increased throughput, the greatest number of simultaneous engagements per access point and a significant reduction in hardware and installation costs.”
Everest requires only one-third the wireless hardware of traditional legacy systems, and Everest access points mount on structures rather than under seats, making it much quicker and more cost-effective to install. The Basecamp user control interface provides easy, intuitive system setup, management, and analytics. The system can serve as many as 500 simultaneous client engagements from one access point.
Everest has been extensively tested in sold-out arenas, stadiums, and major convention centers across the country, and the Philadelphia Eagles plan to install the system for the 2017 season, which starts in September.
Everest access points feature four 802.11 ac Wave 2-compliant radios, doubling the wireless resources compared with conventional enterprise-class offerings. Everest pairs these radio resources with patented, highly directional, software-controlled antenna systems, creating the ideal conditions for effective MIMO and MU-MIMO communications. Components are housed in an integral IP67-rated enclosure.
New Live Camera System
Panasonic also has introduced the AW-360C10 and AW-360B10 (camera head/base unit) 360-degree live camera system, capable of producing 360-degree video in uncompressed 4K/30p. This system generates industry-standard 2:1 equirectangular-format 360-degree video by stitching the output of four cameras, giving the viewer the sense of immersion in a variety of scenes, such as live broadcasts of sports, concerts, and other stadium events.
In addition, seamless video can be generated because the high-precision “real-time active stitching function” continuously changes the stitching position by automatically detecting a subject at the seam.
And real-time video transmission is possible because 4K/30p high-resolution video is generated with low latency. Easy installation/uninstallation at a shooting site makes operation even more flexible. Not only is this system capable of monitoring and changing configuration remotely via a network with a PC or tablet, such as an iPad, but it also allows control from iPad in a Wi-Fi environment.
Furthermore, the 360-degree live camera is designed for professional use, offering high reliability with the features that address operators’ most specific needs, such as prevention of unexpected cable removal.
Also on display at NAB 2017 is the AG-UMR20 compact field recorder and companion AG-UCK20 4K camera head, facilitating ultra-flexible, high-quality 4K image capture and advanced IP control and IP streaming.
The UMR20/UCK20, which can be connected via optional cables (in 3-meter and 20-meter lengths) will be available in May at suggested list prices of $2,395 and $1,995, respectively.
The UMR20 recorder provides the flexibility of low cost, SD memory-card recording, advanced yet high-quality compression, and UHD/Full HD-resolution capture in a small, portable unit, ideal for applications in video production, sports coaching, healthcare, public safety, remote imaging, and much more.
Equipped with a 3G-SDI input and output, the UMR20 AVCCAM recorder is also suitable for backup Full HD recording from any 3G-SDI–enabled camera or for use in studio or event production. The 1.2-lb. unit features a lightweight, ergonomic design suited for handheld use, and the recorder is equipped with double SD memory-card slots, enabling relay recording with two memory cards (SDXC memory card supported).
The UMR20’s IP streaming/IP control facilitates video/audio streaming and distribution to PCs, tablets, and IP decoders. Record Start/Stop control from an IP controller is supported, and recorded image files can be transferred to an FTP server. The UMR20’s core engine for IP control and streaming is similar to that of Panasonic current AW professional integrated PTZ lineup and will fall right into the same overall system. The UMR20 also features an IP web user interface allowing remote monitoring, control, and configuration.
In addition to 3G-SDI input/output, the UMR20 comes standard with interface connections, including an HDMI out and USB 2.0 interface, mic/line-level audio input, built-in speaker, and headphone stereo mini jack. A remote terminal enables fingertip camera zoom/focus/iris and Rec Start/Stop control.
The ultra-compact UCK20 camera head is equipped with a wide-angle 20X zoom lens that covers a range from 29.5mm wide-angle to 612mm close-ups (35mm equivalent). A 16-axis independent color-correction function allows fine color adjustment, and an optical ND filter can be manually switched (OFF, 1/4, 1/16, 1/64). The UCK20 is equipped with an Infrared (IR) Shooting mode, and a five-axis hybrid image stabilizer that makes the camera highly effective for shooting action scenes.
Panasonic also announced the upcoming release of the AW-HR140 outdoor integrated pan/tilt/zoom Full HD remote camera, enclosed in an IP65 protected case that eliminates the need for a separate housing. Primary applications for this SDI-output camera are for outdoor event and sports arena/stadium capture, as well as for broadcast coverage of weather, traffic, and scenics.
The camera features 1/2.86-type Full HD 3MOS sensors and a motorized 20X zoom lens. Sophisticated image processing affords high sensitivity with low noise and horizontal resolution of 1,000 TV lines. The water- and dust-resistant case likewise resists salt damage and features a wiper.
The HR140 boasts haze-reduction technology — valuable for outdoor environments, such as weather reporting — for ensuring optimal image reproduction. In certain situations, picture contrast may be low as the result of environmental fog or haze conditions, and the Haze Reduction function will optimize camera image settings appropriately to ensure that the subject is as clear as possible.
With an IP connection, up to 100 HR140 cameras can be controlled by the AW-RP120G/RP50 remote camera controller via a switching hub. One camera can also be operated by up to five remote camera controllers via IP connection. The AW-HR140 will be available in June 2017, with a suggested list price of $17,950.
And anyone looking for a new monitor should check out the BT-LH1770 high-quality, 16.5-in. (420-mm) Full HD/10-bit LCD video monitor with AC/DC power supply and 19-in. rack-mount design. The new monitor uses an IPS LCD panel with a wide viewing angle, high brightness, high contrast ratio, superb motion-image response, and excellent color reproduction.
At Full HD (1920×1080) resolution, input images are displayed without resizing.
Input terminals include 3G-SDI (x2), HDMI, and analog composite input to support a wide variety of sources. The BT-LH1770 will be available this summer, with pricing to be announced.
Live Production Center
Also new is the HLC100 Live Production Center, a system that facilitates video and audio creation where a limited number of operators is available, such as university sports, webcasting, live streaming, and live event video production. The Center makes one-person operation possible for remote camera shooting to streaming transmission.
The HLC100 Center works directly with Panasonic PTZ and systems cameras, discovering and deploying them automatically using IP video transport although SDI may be used as well. In addition, it will work with all NDI-capable video sources. Compatible cameras include AW-HE130, AW-HE40, and AW-UE70 PTZ cameras; AK-UC3000 and AK-HC5000 studio camera systems; and AK-UB300 4K box camera with streaming outputs.
“The Live Production Center is a further demonstration of Panasonic’s commitment with NewTek to define revolutionary IP strategy and video distribution with the NDI protocol, while making it accessible to people using today’s Gigabit network technology, says Delix Alex, product manager, PMEC. “With the HLC100, high-performance professional operation can be realized even in production environments with few operators and no expert staff.”
For remote camera operation, the HLC100’s connection and settings can be easily executed using the Easy IP connection function, and pan, tilt, zoom, and focus operations can be performed with one hand using the large joystick. Output format support includes 1080/59.94p and 50p, and there is also a crossconversion function. Smooth transmission can be achieved since it is possible to mix embedded, line-input, and mic-input audio and add it to the video.
In addition to NDI input/output IP transmission protocol, RTSP input (direct input of the IP video of Panasonic PTZ cameras) and the RTMP network protocol (direct transmission to live-streaming services, such as Facebook or YouTube Live) are supported. Professional interfaces also include 3G-SDI (video input x4, video output x2) and an HDMI out for user interface.
The hardware panel for camera control and switching is complemented with a newly designed software user interface that will enable Multiview monitoring, graphics overlay insertions, media players, audio mixers, and much more. This user interface focuses on simplicity and quick and easy operation of advanced settings.
The AV-HLC100 Live Production Center will be available in the fall, pricing to be announced.
New P2 Card Reader
Lastly, Panasonic rolled out the AU-XPD3 expressP2 memory-card drive, equipped with a Thunderbolt3 interface twice as fast as Thunderbolt2 and eight times faster than USB 3.0. Users will be able to daisy-chain up to six XPD3 units to allow simultaneous multiple offloads, a critical time-saver for multicamera productions. The AU-XPD3 will be available in June 2017 at a suggested price of $1850.
“Offloading data on set has been a challenge, especially in the 4K world,” says Steven Cooperman, senior product manager, PMEC. “The XPD3 is a prime example of advancing VariCam cinema camera performance based on collaborative listening to our customers, notably rental houses and DITs.”
The XPD3 is compatible with expressP2 A series and legacy P2 memory cards, as well as microP2 cards when using the optional AJ-P2AD1G adapter. The majority of current-generation PCs and Apple Mac computers support Thunderbolt3, Thunderbolt2 bidirectional adapters for Mac computers, and one-way adapters for Mac/WIN are readily available. Popular storage devices such as the LaCie Bolt3 drive will support the ultra-fast XPD3 workflow.