Letters to the Editor

Panasonic Responds to Writeup of January DV Meeting

By Steve Mahrer
Digital VTR Engineering Manager
Panasonic Broadcast & TV Systems Company

My colleague Ray Blumenthal and I recently gave a DVCPRO presentation to theBoston SMPTE chapter. Other presentations, one on the Sony DV VX-1000 consumer camcorder and the other on the New Sony Betacam SX format were also given at this meeting. Last week I received a copy of the SMPTE newsletter "Around New England". This newsletter contained an article about the Boston SMPTE meeting and the three presentations. I would appreciate the opportunity to make a few important corrections to the published article, most especially with regard to the DVCPRO format, its equipment and features.

My first issue concerns the reported use of DVCPRO by Bill Churchill. Bill actually used the SONY VX-1000 consumer DV camera in his comparison shooting of the music video. Although the results were quite impressive, the camera used was still a consumer camera. Panasonicís DVCPRO equipment is not intended for the consumer market. As such, DVCPRO equipment will provide all of the features, functions and superb performance required by broadcast professionals. Although the consumer DV and professional DVCPRO tape formats share identical video specifications, the camera used to capture the image can, and often will, provide a very significant difference. Please note that after shooting, Billís DV consumer tape was played back on the AJ-D750 DVCPRO studio deck and dubbed to D-5. This was simply an inter-format dubbing process to provide component signals from the DV tape for later split screen comparison purposes. This was necessary because at the present time no DV consumer equipment has component outputs.

My second point was the mention of "jaggies" occurring on diagonals. Apparently "something that did not occur on other formats". I was standing very near to the side of the projection monitor screen hence didnít have a great view. I am however not entirely sure what these jaggies refer to. Neither consumer DV nor DVCPRO process "diagonal" video content any differently to "normal" video. I am wondering if these jaggies were either a DV consumer camera artifact, or perhapsan artifact caused by the Barco Projection monitor's NTSC comb filter decoder. The 5.75MHz luminance BW of DV/DVCPRO may have caused more problems of Y/C separation for the monitor that other "softer" formats.

Thirdly, I would like to very strongly reiterate the fact that ALL of Panasonic's DVCPRO equipment have built in SMPTE drop/non-drop timecode generator/readers. Broadcasters would accept nothing less! Even the tiny AG-EZ1 (StringerCam), a modified consumer DV unit has SMPTE TC as standard! Thus, a consumer DV tape recorded with the little EZ1 will provide full SMPTE timecode for subsequent editing.

My last issue refers to the article's mention of Panasonic's "nice bikini clad ladies on the beach" demo tape. This tape was actually a Sony consumer DV salestape, played by Paul Roberts of Newtonville Camera from the Sony consumer DVcamera. The tape appeared designed to wow the non-technical consumer market with a simple overview of the merits of digital processing. The majority of the tape appeared to be very carefully shot 35mm film . This was then intercut with some DV consumer footage for comparison purposes. Please understand this tape was not shown by Panasonic. Our demo material comprised either D-5 4:2:2 10 bit originals dubbed to DVCPRO, or else, a DV tape shot with the AG-EZ1 "StringerCam". I appreciate the opportunity to present these corrections. Should you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Steve Mahrer
Digital VTR Engineering Manager
Panasonic Broadcast & TV Systems Company.
Secaucus NJ.
Tel: 201-348-7576