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David Poland

By David Poland

Panasonic Rolling Out High-End, Low-Tech 3D

This looks pretty much like the $3500 Panasonic AG-HMC150 we shoot DP/30 with… evolved into a two lens camera. Same set-up, times 2, for taping to SDHC cards. Same tape time available.
And at a $21,000 price point, frankly, if there was a 3D version of HDNet or some such cable outlet coming, looking for 3D product, DP/30 would be going 3D as soon as this camera landed. It’s cheaper than most of the rigs that were bought 5 years ago for high-end crews that are still being lugged around by cameramen until they can be replaced by equipment that costs a quarter as much (or less) for equal (or better) quality. The cost of the camera could, if it generated revenue with a unique opportunity, cover itself without any great payday in 6 months or less.
On the other hand… is 3D TV really going to happen?
DirecTV just changed their software to make it available on their set-top boxes… but in a household with every TV now HD and every box an HD DVR, all bought in the last couple of years, I can’t receive the World Cup matches in 3D without buying a new TV… at a higher price point… for very limited programming opportunities… without really being sure that it will enhance my viewing experience by much.
Still, there is a kid-in-a-candy-store feel to it, no?

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14 Responses to “Panasonic Rolling Out High-End, Low-Tech 3D”

  1. mutinyco says:

    I would actually doubt the quality of the 3D. Because it’s still a standard camcorder with camcorder lenses and processing — which means it’ll be a flat image with a wide depth of field.
    For video to look more cinematic, you need to limit the depth of field. This is why a lot of people shooting on the low end have migrated away from camcorders to DSLRs: They natively shoot with 35mm lenses.
    For instance, the shot in Avatar when Jake is first woken, and he’s floating and the background is thrown out — well, you couldn’t do that here because everything would pretty much stay in focus.

  2. Dr Wally says:

    What’s going to determine the uptake of 3D-TV isn’t so much movies on Blu-Ray or sports broadcasting, but GAMING. Sony just put a 3D patch out for the PS3, and a trickle of games have sterescopy embedded in them just waiting to be enabled. Funnily enough, what will help to sell 3D-TV is the opposite of what helped to sell high-def TV – the panels will have to get SMALLER, not larger. Smaller (say 23-30 inches) TV’s can sit easier in the bedroom of the average teenage gamer. All the 3D TV’s so far are 50 inches or so – far too large (not to mention expensive) a display to be accomodated in a bedroom.

  3. berg says:

    They natively shoot with 35mm lenses.
    I have images of men in loin clothes hurling 35mm lenses

  4. torpid bunny says:

    Totally sweet but here’s the thing: most people watch mostly crap on their tvs. I know I do. HD is ok because almost everything looks nicer, but do people really want to watch morning chat shows and Dr. Phil and I’m having quints and My Improbable Deformity and “Hoarders” in 3D?

  5. The Big Perm says:

    DSLRs look weird a lot of times. It’s rare to see a movie with such consistently small depth of field as a lot of the indie guys shoot now. I think they’re just rebelling because for the longest time all of the movies were totally flat since the sensors were so small in those cameras.
    But mutiny is basically wrong about 3D. For a 3D movie, having a wide depth of field is pretty essential. The depth of picture is given by the 3D, you need to see everything. Cameron even said that 3D was perfect for him because for the most part he likes to use wide angles and have a clear field of vision…which you can see in his movies, he’s not like Tony Scott who wants to see a person and a huge blur behind him. Cameron likes to see the room and the archetecture and where the characters are standing in it.

  6. mutinyco says:

    DSLRs and camcorders w/35mm adapters “look weird” because a lot of people stick with using the 50mm instead of a decent variety of lenses. As well, if they shoot with, say, a 7D, the crop sensor throws a 1.6x magnification on the lens, which essentially turns the 50mm into an 80mm — but because the 50mm can focus at 1.5-2 ft. away the shallow focus is exaggerated.
    I’m not talking about shooting all 3D with a long lens. It’s just that for close-ups, etc., people naturally expect to see an out of focus background — which camcorders historically can’t deliver.

  7. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    This is a pretty good camera. Well the prototype was. Its primary pickup will be sports and pornography. DP the price point on 3DTV is so competitive that yes it’s going to work and yes it’ll be around for a long time. Whether it hits those initial sales expectations will be known very soon. The Samsung image is better than the Panasonic but it’s very much a subjective experience when it comes to occular proclivities. See Roger Ebert’s secret stigmatism and his dismissal of all 3D.

  8. The Big Perm says:

    The 5D looks weird because the sensors on that thing are huge. The depth of field is insanely small. The 7D seems more like 35mm film if you’re using those. Although the sound capabilities are pretty shitty.
    But I still don’t think a depth of field problem is an inherent problem with 3D…while people expect to see out of focus backgrounds on close ups in regular movies, it’s not necessary with 3D because the background will naturally fall away due to the 3D. And also, normal people couldn’t tell you what they expect to see cinematography-wise anyway, so there’s a lot of leeway.

  9. mutinyco says:

    The 5D has a full 35 sensor, which in movie terms would be similar to VistaVision, I suppose, while the 7D is a crop sensor that’s similar to Super-35.
    Because the 5D is full 35, the lenses work in a 1:1 ratio. They are what they are. But the CMOS in the 7D throws a 1.6x magnification on it. This would mean you LOSE depth of field with the 7D not the 5D, because it makes each lens longer than it should be.
    I own a 7D. When I was buying a 24mm lens and testing it out first, I immediately noticed that the background was being thrown out of focus, and the guy had to remind me it was effectively now a 40mm.
    Anyhow. Better get used to the look. There’s gonna be a deluge of movies shot with em now.

  10. The Big Perm says:

    I know. There always seems to be a sort of “indie standard” generic look. Before, it was alot of relatively boring looking stuff on sticks and wide depth of field, or bad wide hand held. Now it’s going to be extremely shallow dof and shaky handheld and lots of close ups like 24.
    From the small amount of dealing I’ve had with the Canons, and I’m no techie or cinematographer…you’re getting the cameras backward, I believe. I have messed around with both cameras and while the background was being thrown out of focus with the 7D, it was much more pronounced with the 5D…with the same lenses, if I recall correctly.
    It is because of the larger sensor that the 5D has a shallower depth of field. The 7D has a smaller sensor, which is why camcorders had no shallow focus. The 7D is closer to them than the 5D. With the larger sensor in the 5D, it has a smaller depth of field. It’s the difference of lighting for 16mm/35mm and lighting for IMAX. Large negatives reduce dof.

  11. mutinyco says:

    Found a couple of side by side comparisons. You can definitely see the magnification on the 7D, but on the second one, it’s actually difficult to tell if the dof is shallower because the 5D is inherently out of focus. Anyhow.

  12. The Big Perm says:

    Read about them on technical forums. Shallower dof is one of the things they love about the 5D. And a smaller sensor always means more dof when it comes to video, witness the average video camera. I have about 100 clips from both cameras here that back that up too. And when I tried to handle the 5D…well, I was generally able to focus the 7D easily, but half of the shots I did with the 5D are out of focus because it was such a bitch.

  13. mutinyco says:

    The trade off, though, is the crop. It’s an odd dynamic. 5D may have shallower DOF, but because it’s full sensor the lenses go wider at the same time.

  14. jeffmcm says:

    I’m not sure what the point of this is. So that micro-budget studios like The Asylum can make Captain Avenger: The First American Hero in crappy 3-D for direct-to-video 3-D TVs? So that rich film students can make their homegrown Avatar imitations in their backyards?

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