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Panasonic’s Rob Tarrant, European Product Manager of AV Systems Europe, discusses with Creative COW the future and challenges of stereoscopic broadcast.
Panasonic's Rob Tarrant, European Product Manager of AV Systems Europe
has partnered with the International Olympic Committee (IOC)
and Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS)
to make the London 2012 Olympic Games the first to be broadcast in live stereoscopic 3D. Making the announcement at IFA 2011
, Panasonic, which is the Games' official partner in the audio/visual equipment category, stated that live 3D events at the games would include the opening and closing ceremonies, athletics, gymnastics, diving and swimming. OBS, which will produce more than 200 hours of 3D coverage, will use Panasonic gear including the AG-3DP1 and AG-3DA1 professional integrated twin-lens 3D camera recorders for 3D broadcasts.
"3D is moving forward," says Panasonic's Rob Tarrant, European Product Manager of AV Systems Europe. "A wide range of features found in the cameras will help operators meet the challenge of a live 3D broadcast. The camera enables operators to judge convergence. The viewfinder will display warning signs. You're able to look at convergence, positive and negative parallax and so on to show you when you go out of bounds."
The AG-3DP1, the new integrated twin-lens 3D camera recorder for professional use that was announced at NAB 2011, will ship by the end of 2011, says Tarrant. The AG-3DA1, the 3DP1's predecessor, was introduced to the market in August 2010 and was used on the final mission of the Space Shuttle.
NASA astronaut Sandy Magnus, STS-135 mission specialist, is pictured at controls near the AG-3DA1 on the flight deck of the space shuttle Atlantis during rendezvous and docking operations with the International Space Station. NASA astronaut Rex Walheim, mission specialist, is at right. Photos taken on July 10th. Photo credit: NASA
3D camera recorder, the AG-3DP1
The biggest challenge in approaching the production of live stereoscopic 3D, says Tarrant, is the lack of experienced camera operators, cinematographers and directors. "It's a challenge for the whole industry," he says. "Manufacturers have a responsibility to educate directors and camera people. Because it's a young industry, everyone is learning."
Tarrant pointed out that Panasonic's P2 "experience center" in Pinewood Studios in the U.K. recently became the 3D experience center. "You can try to educate through seminars, but to actually handle the camera is invaluable," he says. "At the center, we give camera operators experience in hands-on capture and handling of files."
At IBC 2011, Panasonic also launched the HDC-Z10000, an integrated twin-lens 2D/3D camcorder that is compatible with the AVCHD 3D/Progressive standard. This new camera is intended to "bridge the gap" between the amateur and professional user in both quality and cost, and is aimed at filmmaking, creative arts student and videographers...or anyone looking to capture broadcast quality footage. Featuring Panasonic's Double 3MOS System for recording full HD 2D and 3D images, the HDC-Z10000 also features two large-diameter F1.5 lenses independently mounted on the left and right, both of which are treated with Nano Surface Coating to reduce ghosting and flare. The camera also features independent control rings for zoom, focus and iris. "With the Z10000, Panasonic now has a full line-up of 3D cameras, from the P1 to the A1 and now this new camera," says Tarrant. Price and shipping date for the HDC-Z10000 have not yet been announced.
Panasonic's HDC-Z10000, which features two large-diameter F1.5 lenses independently mounted on the left and right.
Also newsworthy at IBC 2011 was Panasonic's extension of its AVC Ultra family of codecs, based on the H.264 standard, to include AVC Long Gop. "There's a big demand for lower data rates," says Tarrant. "This more inexpensive codec is ideal for ING, or Internet-based news gathering." The AVC Long Gop provides 1920x1080 resolution, 4:2:2 and 10-bit at 25 megabits/second at DV data rates.
"AVC Long Gop works well for sports and news getting content back to base," says Tarrant, who reports that the first products will be available in 2013. "This is a file-based workflow so we have to work closely with our partners. Quantel
have announced support already, and there are lots of others in the pipeline."
With the announcement of its plans for live 3D broadcast just days before IBC 2011 opened, Panasonic showed its deepening commitment to 3D. Tarrant's assessment that one of the biggest challenges is training enough directors, producers and camera people--one echoed also by Sony--seems spot on. With the Olympics drawing ever closer, the clock is ticking on making this a reality. Will Panasonic redouble its training efforts in the U.S. and elsewhere? That's just one question Panasonic has to face in the coming months.