Meeting Recap - February, 2005

  The Panasonic P2 system



The February MCA-I general meeting was held at Chapman University in Orange.   It was held on the 4th floor of Beckman Hall.  That is the HQ for Chapman's School of Business.  A large picture was on hand showing what the film school will look like when completed.   Much thanks to John Snyder, Operations Manager of the Chapman film school for getting things set up.


After some networking and food, Vice President John Coleman took over the duties of President Dennis Backer, as Dennis was under the weather.  John introduced our speaker, Tom James, Sales Development Manager - Advanced Digital Systems Division of Panasonic.  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 619-602-0604.


Tom's presentation was all about the various formats of High Definition, and the work flow from acquisition, posting, broadcasting and the end user's reception.  His presentation covered a lot of issues and he went very fast.  I wished I could have TiVoed him and rested my brain and let it catch up.



I know that there are many of our members who understand HD technology way more than I do, so I feel at a loss even trying to talk about this.  But from what I could gather there is still not a standard universal HD system in use.  Tom pointed out that the major networks have adopted different formats.  But apparently this does not affect what the end user will see on his HD unit at home.  By next year TV stations will no longer be required to transmit a regular NTSC signal and a HD signal.  Eventually all current NTSC TVs will require an encoding box when all TV station broadcast only in HD.


The photo at the top of this article is the new camera system that Panasonic will feature at NAB this year.  The push in technology is for acquisition to be nonlinear, just like all of our editing is.  The P2 system uses memory cards to record video and has no moving parts.  The cards will go up to 32 GB, which will record about 60 minutes, if I recall.  The camera has several slots for cards and when one is full it automatically switches to another card.


Tom also talked about Panasonic's high end HD camera which looks exactly like a film camera and is trying to be exactly like a motion picture camera.  It even will have a variable frame rate.  HD is coming down in price, but this camera is around $70,000.  I believe the PS camera was around $20,000.


While much of this presentation went over head, it's interesting getting a "heads up" directly from the manufacturer about upcoming technology that we content producers will eventually have to deal with.


It was nice to see a giveaway again.  It wasn't a raffle, but some names were drawn from the list of guests and Travis 2005 calendars and key chain lights were handed out to several guests.


It was good to see so many new faces at the meeting, and I hope some of the Chapman faculty, students and guests who attended will seriously consider joining MCA-I.


John Primm