Panasonic P2 Solid-State Cameras Endure Weather Extremes As Hurricane Emily Wallops Texas Gulf Coast

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Last Updated: October 12, 2005 4:28 pm GMT
(SECAUCUS, NJ -- October 2005) July’s Hurricane Emily made history on several fronts, thankfully not in terms of devastation and loss of life.


As it moved through the Caribbean, Emily intensified into a powerful Category 4 storm with winds over 150 mph and gusts as high as 184 mph, making it the most powerful storm ever to form before August.

In the Gulf of Mexico, Emily strengthened to a category 4 hurricane with winds of more than 125 miles per hour. Hurricane Emily reached land just south of the border between Texas and Mexico. Television crews from all over the state and beyond were in place to cover this powerful, far-reaching weather story — and photographers from Houston’s Fox O&O KRIV-TV and ABC affiliate KRGV-TV (covering Harlingen-Weslaco-McAllen-Brownsville, TX), equipped with Panasonic P2 series AJ-SPX800 camcorders, continued to acquire gripping footage while rival stations’ tape-based equipment succumbed to the pounding rain, winds and humidity.

Panasonic’s DVCPRO P2 solid-state memory series products — adopted by more than 70 U.S. TV stations — eliminate transports and mechanisms and are resistant to environmental extremes including shock, vibration, and humidity.

KRIV (Fox 26) has made a large-scale investment in Panasonic P2, having purchased AJ-SPX800 cameras, AJ-PCS060 portable “store” drives, AJ-PCD10 drives and AJ-SDP850 decks — and the station’s transition to tapeless newsgathering is not yet complete.

Station KRGV, a longtime user of Panasonic DVCPRO tape-based equipment, recently purchased an AJ-SPX800 as its initiate move towards tapeless news operations. The camera is assigned to chief photographer Israel Alfaro.

“We demoed the SPX800 earlier this year, and I fell in love with it,” said Alfaro. “We found it far more convenient than optical-disc recording alternatives, which we also tried out.”

Hurricane Emily was a local story for KRGV, and the station assigned two photographers and two reporters to the story. “I told everyone I knew with a tape-based camera to carry a blow dryer and not to use the air-conditioning in their cars, but given the weather extremes, it didn’t seem to matter — cameras were going down all around me. But the SPX800 held up throughout, producing images that were much sharper than tape.”

He added, “The Telemundo network out of Dallas had problems with their cameras, they saw how we were able to continue shooting, and they asked us to help them out so they could use their satellite time. Therefore, in addition to filing our own stories, we shot the storm for Telemundo.”

Alfaro noted that P2 is an awesome time-saver in the field.  “I did in-camera editing all through the hurricane, would simply hit play, and there went all my video back to the live truck. I’ve covered many breaking news stories where I mark my thumbnails, connect the camera to the cable and send the story to the truck.  I’ve also been in the position where I can pan over breaking news, and have the reporter walk around behind me, view the video in the monitor, describe what he’s seeing, then come around for a stand-up. Very powerful.”

At KRGV, Alfaro logs and edits material from an AJ-SPD850 deck to a DVPRO25 tape deck. He’s also able to dub “B” roll material from the P2 camera to the DVCPRO tape deck for expanded coverage on later news shows.

Panasonic’s DVCPRO P2 series products are fully compatible with DVCPRO, the industry’s standard for digital newsgathering..  DVCPRO P2 offers nonlinear acquisition and instant access to material, high-speed file transfer, laptop field editing without requirement for proxy videos, and compatibility with off-the-shelf data storage drives for low-cost archiving, while eliminating traditional digitizing and ingesting operations. The P2 card is re-usable, allowing a station to substantially reduce its media budget. For more information, visit www.panasonic.com/p2.

About Panasonic Broadcast
Panasonic Broadcast & Television Systems Co. is a leading supplier of broadcast, professional video and presentation products and systems.  Panasonic Broadcast is a unit company of Panasonic Corporation of North America. The company is the North American headquarters of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. (NYSE: MC) of Japan, and the hub of its U.S. marketing, sales, service and R&D operations  For more information on Panasonic Broadcast products, access the company’s web site at http://www.panasonic.com/broadcast

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