Media & Entertainment Business Division
Connected Solutions Company
Hitoshi SUZUKI、Masaru KADOYA、 Toshinari SUMA、Hirohide KAYASHIMA Minoru NAMIKAWA、Hiroshi MAEDA
Panasonic’s AG-CX350 resembles a conventional handheld camcorder, but is actually very different.
It is the world’s first handheld camcorder that supports NDI (Network Device Interface) IP protocol developed by NewTek, the global standard IP network protocol. In 2015, as part of its live video production workflow support protocol, NewTek made SDK for NDI license-free, and it’s no exaggeration to say that the video IP network distribution has developed rapidly worldwide.
From conventional video cameras in broadcasting to Web video contents production tools that take IP networks into consideration.
With image quality Creativity and network Connectivity, the first of the CX series lineup has launched from the world of video equipment into a new creative sea.
SUZUKI:AG-CX350 has all of the basics you’d want in a 4K camera: compact and lightweight (body: 1.9kg, shooting: 2.3kg), 4K/10bit/60p recording, 1.0 (15 mega) MOS sensor, optical 20x / 24.5mm wide lens zoom, HDR/HLG support. But the highlight is the future trend for universal IP network protocol: NDI｜HX compatibility.
For those using CX350 for live broadcasting, the improved workflow provides a new approach. NAMIKAWA:The CX350 is the world’s first handheld camcorder with NDI｜HX. It’s performing well sales-wise thanks to its lightweight body and network support.
The CX lineup features the new 4K/60P/10bit, which was born from the UX series.
The basic camera functions were updated from AG-UX180, and while the optics remain the same, the pixel size has changed slightly to accommodate the 1″ sensor. At the first development meeting, some felt that we should connect the NDI, so we performed network tests. We are also attracting the attention of new customers.
The initial requests for NDI compatibility came from North America.
Networking is advancing in the eSports industry, and CX350 resulted from requests for a camera with NDI that could connect live to a set.
There are a lot of mid-range NDI users at events, and as it’s small-scale, technological evolution and infiltration occur quickly.
MAEDA:Currently there are many users who want to stream video on a network.
Some are saturated and expanding like crazy.
They can’t continue working with a conventional SDI base.
In fact, the domestic businesses that use internet broadcasting have asked us to cooperate in creating an NDI base studio, and one solution is networking.
To do this, we had to make changes: forego the current shooting style and structure while retaining image quality, so the CX 350 with NDI｜HX was created with this in mind.
Naturally high-end users like broadcasting stations can’t go with NDI quality-wise.
A standardized IP protocol like the ST2110’s was designed, so another solution is necessary, but in the meantime, the CX350 addresses the needs of many mid to low range users for whom the current IP is evolving.
A Hybrid Camera for Network Support and Production
SUZUKI:The mainstream network cameras have been fixed remote control PTZ cameras, and since we develop both camcorders and PTZ cameras in the same unit, we can develop image quality technology for PTZ cameras alongside our camcorders and incorporate it in high-end PTZ cameras.
By applying our PTZ camera network know-how to camcorder development, we are hoping to maximize synergies between the two.
KADOYA:We share image quality technology with cinema cameras like the VARICAM for image quality design.
The 16-axis independent color correction system is valued for image creation, and we responded to requests for more sophisticated image creation: color matching with cameras from other companies and the ability to make more creative images.
NAMIKAWA:The idea is that whether it’s a shoulder camera or handheld, IP network support will keep evolving.
As a remote IP function, CX ROP software gives you external control wired or wirelessly via your tablet. We added HLG in anticipation of using HDR for live recordings in future, which means there will be more demand for creative image creation.
With better image quality, we also have to consider V-Log.
This addition is under review for the CX350 based on market feedback. Among PTZ cameras, the AW-UE150 is a remote camera already equipped with V-Log, and we are considering adding V-Log to the CX350.
SUZUKI:How people now approach image creation has changed with the permeation of OTT. In the past, V-Log level performance meant using a pricey camera, but the ability to support a fixed remote camera or this kind of handheld camera came from new demands.
Netflix and Amazon Prime’s aims for OTT content and image quality are higher now.
Audiences can discern high quality images, there’s no compromising, but there are budget limitations.
It’s unavoidable – you need to create high quality content, and there needs to be a camera that can handle the demand.
Some feel video distribution on networks in Japan isn’t quite there, but there’s no mistaking that it will become a trend, and as the network environment and 5G improve, it will only expand and demand will increase.
This is one of our targets, and while we continue to improve camera image quality and performance, we plan to include networking as a “new value” in our camera development.
Front Line：Hitoshi SUZUKI、Minoru NAMIKAWA
Back Line：Hiroshi MAEDA, Hirohide KAYASHIMA,Toshinari SUMA、Masaru KADOYA