Exhibitors & products - 01
Panasonic's titchy-small AG-HVX200 isn't an HDV camcorder, it's a real, honest-to-goodness DVCPRO HD jobbie that shoots progressive native 16:9 HD (720p) or 1080i interlaced using a three-CCD imaging system paired with an appropriate Leica Dicomar wide-angle zoom lens.
Almost everybody's agreed that solid-state, not tape or disc, is the way of the future and the Panasonic does its bit to fulfil that prophesy by recording to P2 cards - there are two card slots - even though it can also record SD to tape in DVCPRO50, DVCPRO and DV formats.
But a majority of prospective buyers of this £4K (ex-VAT) camcorder will be interested most in its DVCPRO HD capabilities - with the people who really have the hots for it being movie-makers who want to shoot in HD, rather than on expensive wet film. The Panasonic supports 25frames/sec and 50frames/sec in its 720p progressive mode - with each claimed to offer cine-like gamma curves and cine-like colour-matrix capture to give the same look and feel as footage shot on film cameras.
Another plus point is that, although DVCPRO HD has a hefty compressed video data rate of 12.5MByte/100Mbit per sec - close to four times more than HDV or DV - editing promises to be easier than with HDV because each frame is self-reliant rather than being part of a complex and hard-to-untangle group-of-pictures arrangement like HDV recordings.
What else to watch out for? Well, Adobe will be showing its recently launched Production Studio bundles - check out Part One of our preview of the Premium suite - and we reckon you'll be impressed by a few features including the new easy-to-use noise-removal tool in Audition 2.0 and the far tighter integration between all the substantive programs in the suite.
AMD, we'd imagine, will be majoring on CPUs with dual-cores. Each core, as we understand it, has its own direct pipeline to the PC's RAM for extra speed that's likely to be evident when comparisons are made with competing Intel dual-core CPUs. Even so, our tests do show that in some video-related tasks, Intel dual-core can still keep its nose level or ahead of AMD.
Dual-core isn't cheap but a single twin-core AMD CPU fits in an ordinary socket-939 motherboard (though not all of them). So, the total system price is less than if using two processors in a dual-processor-motherboard or - we guess AMD would argue - a single Intel dual-core CPU and the more-expensive motherboard that that requires.
After the recent take over by Avid - the biter bit - there won't be a dedicated Pinnacle stand at the show because the autonomous (but Avid-owned) Pinnacle division is dedicated solely to budget software that few VideoForum visitors are presumed to have any interest in. That presumption might be as wrong this year as it has been in previous years but probably has resulted in a wise decision this time round given that, despite a number of updaters, the latest version of the current Pinnacle budget flagship editor, Studio 10, is an even bigger crock of you-know-what than some previous versions. That's a crying shame because, as always, Studio is amazingly powerful and easy to use.
At the lower end - sort of thing - Avid, though can be expected to be demonstrating V7 of Edition, the former Pinnacle (and former FAST) editing app. This has some of the most convincing non-hardware-reliant HDV capabilities of any editing program, plus some very powerful built-in DVD authoring features. The pity of it is, though, that - as expected - prices have risen markedly since Edition came under Avid's tender care.