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Panasonic 8K ROI Camera System

Mike Gormley • Product SpotlightSeptember 2019 • September 9, 2019

Nowadays, when a new product is released, there might be one, or maybe two new features that give the end users a frisson of excitement. Most of the time, however, the new item being launched is really just a subtle upgrade of a different product features. But the release of the new Panasonic 8K ROI (Region of Interest) Camera System is much different. It is set to truly transform live video as we know it in the entertainment industry, much like how LED fixtures took the lighting industry by storm.

‡‡         Input from Solotech

A collaboration between Solotech and Panasonic has resulted in this game-changing technology for the live concert and sports broadcasting world. The new system allows up to four different HD images to be produced from a single 8K camera. Available in the summer of 2019, the system improves operational efficiency, by allowing four separate crops from an 8K image canvas, potentially reducing operating costs on a multitude of production applications. Featuring automated picture correction technology, the camera system also ensures that any distorted images are corrected and cropped with a natural, cut out, Full HD image from within the main 8K image. This automatic wide-angle distortion correction function achieves natural-looking images even in the videos cropped from the frame periphery.

Camera views can be controlled directly or be driven in response to moves made by a master camera view. In this mode, an operator controls one master camera view, which is linked to further sub-cameras; responses are pre-programmed during setup. After setup is complete, a single operator can control multiple cameras from the 8K ROI view. This system can be expanded to multiple linked 8K ROI cameras (eight total), so a single master camera operator can drive multiple views from multiple camera positions, driving six or more shots for a cost-effective single operator, multi-camera production. The camera control unit is alternately capable of outputting the full 8K image.

The system is able to reduce operational costs dramatically on many common events, making it well suited to sports broadcasting, staging and studio applications. In addition, it helps increase revenue within live events because less space is required to house cameras within venues.

The new 8K ROI Camera System is developed to bring an automated workflow to your live production. All “regions of interest” can be configured to move simultaneously as you make adjustments to your primary crop window. This allows you to keep focused on the action by reducing the need for re-framing each individual region during the live production.

Side by side with a typical camera

‡‡         The Camera in Action

PLSN was recently invited to a special sneak peek of the new gear in action at the Solotech office in Las Vegas and we spoke to David Lemmink, the production company’s director of engineering. When asked what this new technology means for Solotech’s live concert operations, David said, “The ROI system gives Solotech and its clients a competitive advantage over traditional manned camera positions. The solution provides a minimal seat kill, low profile system that allows additional cost savings and flexibility due to decrease in equipment cost, size and crew requirements. The benefits to the promoter or producer in addition to the reduced equipment cost of the equivalent camera setups, include the additional revenue attached to prime seating locations previously lost to seat kills. With reduced setup time and the ability for an operator to effectively control multiple virtual cameras, potential crew headcount can in some cases also be reduced. Because this system is software based, additional features can be added to the functionality of the system with a simple firmware update.”

Setting up a camera at the game

Physically, the camera is 1/4 the size of the normal long lensed camera one would see in action at a sporting event or perched out in the audience at a concert. While one camera can do the job of a multitude of PTZ cameras, it’s no larger than one single box type unit. The days of attaching foot-long lenses to catch a single close-up image may become numbered in the future.

When it comes to concert I-mag purposes, this camera just may become a staple in any video directors tool box. Picture a camera standing behind the lighting console, obstructing no sightlines. The user chooses four zones it can lock in on stage, from the guitar player, singer down stage center, the end of the thrust and the bass player for our positions. The director doesn’t have to call their camera shots and preset the camera ops in their next position, they simply select the area they want to cut to next.

The Panasonic team. From left, Toshiyuki Yabu, Masanori Mitsuzumi, Daisuke Morimoto and Yoshiteru Hara

‡‡         Summing Up

In terms of an exciting, inventive and completely new technology release, the Panasonic 8K ROI Camera System hits the mark. This system is a perfect solution to implement into a multitude of scenarios for the live event broadcast industry, as well as for use in the theatrical, worship and school markets. This product will be available with a public release from an authorized Panasonic distributor.

For more on the Panasonic 8K ROI camera system, go to www.plsn.me/PanCam.

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