On February 11th Panasonic released a number of new products including the AG-HMR10 and AG-HCK10. The HMR10 is a portable AVCHD recorder that has both HD-SDI input and output. The HCK10 is a small camera head with a HD native 1/4″ MOS Sensor.
The small camera has a lot of applications from a lipstick camera to a hidden camera. With various cable lengths (up to 10 meters), I think many productions will find an application for the system. Sony recently announced a similar product called the HXR-MC1, which I was able to test recently as well. Sony’s camera/recorder system had a very nice look and high quality recording
I’m really interested in the recorder though, which has applications beyond just working with the camera head. With HD-SDI input, the recorder can take a feed from any SDI source and produce a AVCHD file on a SDHC card. This makes it a viable portable HD recorder. A 32GB SDHC card could hold up to 3 hours in the highest quality (PH) mode, or up to 12 hours in a reduced quality record option (HE).
AVCHD has been gaining support all over the market. Canon, Sony, and Panasonic have all been working with this format and integrating it into many different products. Most of the major NLEs are also offering support for the codec as well.
AVCHD is also supported in many Blu-Ray players – namely the new Panasonic stand-alone players, Sony stand-alones, and the Playstation 3. With some restructuring of the card content, the material can be burned directly onto Blu-Ray or DVD discs for playback in a Blu-Ray player. Sony actually offers a direct to DVD burner, called the VRD-MC5, that can burn the HD content from an SD card on to a DVD in AVCHD format. Additionally version 9 of the Nero burning software supports this as well.
This could serves as a relatively quick path to Blu-Ray disc production, or at least until stand-alone Blu-Ray burners become available in the US. With a Kona or Black Magic card, I could use the HMR10 as an external encoder and then take the files it produces directly to Blu-Ray disc.