We arranged with the guys from Panasonic to do a test of the Panasonic "50 Series" – an IP (Internet Protocol) network control based remote camera hot head system (AW-HE50H/S), including a remote camera controller (AW-RP50) and vision mixer (AW-HS50).
The AW-HE50 camera comes in two flavours – HDMI or HD SDI, starting at £2,400 for the HDMI version and £3,200 for the HD SDI output version (both prices exclude VAT). The vison mixer and remote control panel for the cameras both come in separate half 19" rack panels – so combined, they fit nicely into a standard broadcast 19" rackmount shelf or desk. Panasonic have kindly added a lip to the top of each to allow you to recess the body of the units into a desk or shelf.
The AW-HS50 vision mixer is £2,500 and the AW-RP50 remote camera control panel is just £1,500 (excluding VAT). The AW-RP50 and AW-HE50 cameras work over IP and the controller can control up to 100 cameras (if you had that many?!) The RP50 can also store 100 presets per camera and also supports conventional RS422 camera control too.
The AW-HE50 camera has a 1/3" Full HD MOS sensor and operates in either 1080/50i, 720/50p or 576/50i. Sony’s closest equivalent dome camera, the BRC-H700P uses three 1/3" CCD chips and also supports 1080/59.94i. However the price difference doesn’t go unnoticed. The Sony BRC-H700 comes in around £9,000 including the optional HD SDI board if you need it. But the two cameras are targeted for different markets. The Sony BRC-H700 makes for a good supplementary camera for broadcast productions – look out for those overhead shots of food being prepared in cooking shows at the weekend – plus reality shows and wide shots in studio shows. The Panasonic AW-HE50H/S caters more for the corporate, government, education and live event market.
The AW-HS50 compact live switcher is the really interesting unit in the 50 series. Initially, it may not look that impressive but once you’ve re-read the specs and physically had a play with it, you quickly change your mind. The HS50 has 4 SDI inputs and 1 DVI-D input as standard. Also as standard, it has 2 SDI outputs and 1 DVI-D output. Had it just been a simple 4 input, 2 output SDI switcher, it wouldn’t be much to shout about, but the inclusion of the DVI input and output instantly widens it’s uses. There’s also a frame synchroniser on every input and two switchable up-converters on two of the inputs and a colour corrector on each input. These features are all fairly standard these days but still mightily impressive for a unit that’s about half the size of a loaf of bread. And remember, just a few years ago, to do everything just listed, you’d need about 20 different bits of kit all whirring away – you’d need a handful of separate frame synchronisers for all your unlocked sources, a colour corrector for each input (if the synchroniser didn’t have that feature), a couple of separate upconverters for your SD sources and a DVI to SDI converter for that all-important PC you need to cut up.
One of the most notable features though of the AW-HS50 mixer is the multi-view output (with embedded audio level meters). This makes the HS50 switcher truly portable and user-friendly for those flyaway location productions – just plug and go.
Oh and did I mention it has an AUX output bus, two frame stores for graphics, PIP (picture in picture) and a chroma keyer too?!
Here’s some snaps of our test with the Panasonic 50 series (thanks to the guys from Panasonic for paying us a visit):
So all in all, the Panasonic ’50 series’ with IP network control is a great range of kit, and perfect for some applications. For low-end broadcast and flyaway productions, it makes for a very cost effective and portable multi-camera solution. For something like a corporate AGM, live webcast or conference, the 50 series could be perfect – and more importantly, very budget friendly for the client. If you’d like to discuss hiring the Panasonic 50 series from Trickbox TV, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
See below for the individual links to the Panasonic 50 series website:
Here’s the Panasonic 50 Series Brochure
For more information about any of our services, please call:0207 193 9722