NAB Day 4

Mike McCarthy   April 18, 2008   No Comments on NAB Day 4

I finally got a chance to explore the rest of the show today, and found a few more interesting newly released products.

Panasonic has released a number of new camcorders.  They have three lines of solid-state recording: AVC-Intra to P2 Cards, DVCPro-HD to P2 Cards, and AVCHD to SDHC cards.  At the upper end, the new HPX3700 and HPX2700 both record 10bit 4:2:2 to P2 in AVC Intra.  Both support “Varicam” variable framerate options at 1080p, and the top of the line HPX3700 model also has Dual-Link 4:4:4 RGB output capability.  In the prosumer market, three cameras that I would describe as variations to the HVX200 have been released.  All have 3 1/3″ CCDs, and have the same basis shape look of the original.  The updated HVX200A has improve optics and sensor, as well as the addition of an HD-SDI output.  The lower cost HPX-170 removes the outdated SD-MiniDV tape option option, allowing only P2 recording.  Lastly, the HMC-150 is similar in physical formfactor, but record to SDHC cards in the AVCHD codec, at much lower bitrates.  The other two options in the new professional AVCHD line are the shoulder mount HMC-70 and the 1 lb, 3CCD, HV30 competitor, the HSC1U.

Panasonic has also announced that a 64GB P2 card will be available later this year, which will double the maximum record time of all their cameras utilizing that technology.

Fibre Channel technology marches onwards, with the release of 8Gb products by ATTO.  Not to be confused with the existing 10Gb Fibre Channel specification used for Fibre switch interconnects.  The new 8Gb client connection technology provides 800MB/s bandwidth per channel.  Since I don’t currently have any application for transfers at that speed, I am most excited about the implications this will have on the prices of current “obselete” 4Gb Fibre HBAs, that I actually do use.

Last on the list, is the item I was most impressed with, but have the least realistic practical application for.  I was stunned to see a true 3D image on a large flat panel TV as I walked by a booth.  I guess Philips released this a couple of months ago, but a totally separate company was displaying what they could do with it.  The display uses lense technology at the individual pixel level to control the projected light pattern, which allows it to display different images when viewed from different angles.  With the ability to send each eye a different image, a depth effect is easily created.  Instead of alternating only two left and right images, the Philips solution displays 9 different angles before repeating the sequence, greatly improving the probability that the viewer will percieve the image depth correctly.  This leads to the question of: where do the nine angles come from?  Instead of the traditional way of producing 3D depth effects by creating two separate streams, the Philips TV accepts a single flat video input, as well as a Z-depth map, and renders the different angles live based on that information.  A Z-depth map can be easily created for animated content, but is nearly impossible to produce efficiently for regular video footage, limiting the potential sources of content.  A technology called Declipse allows multple layer to be input, allowing a full lookaround effect for objects in the forground, which I can confirm, adds significantly to the effect.  Although it can not be easily applied to my stereoscopic style of shooting 3D, it was definitely a very impressive technology to see in action.  I intend to keep an eye on its further development, and look forward to seeing it deployed on a large scale.

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