Panasonic announces NBCUniversal News purchases AVC-ULTRA camcorders


Investment Includes VariCam 35 4K Camera/Recorders for Long-Form Projects

Last Updated: May 21, 2015 10:40 pm GMT
(Newark, NJ--May 21, 2015) NBCUniversal News Group (New York, NY) has purchased a number of Panasonic electronic newsgathering (ENG) cameras and related broadcast equipment as part of its technology and workflow transformation initiative.

The pro video equipment includes Panasonic’s latest AVC-ULTRA camcorder models, the AJ-PX5000G P2 HD shoulder-mount and AJ-PX270 P2 HD handheld, as well as AJ-PG50 and AJ-PD500 AVC-ULTRA field recorders, AK-HRP200 remote operation panels, and VariCam 35 4K camera/recorders.

This equipment will be used across the board to acquire contribution video for all NBC News programs including “NBC Nightly News,” “TODAY,” “Meet the Press” and “Dateline,” as well as MSNBC. It will also be utilized to contribute to NBC business partners CNBC, Telemundo and other cable properties.

Ultimately, NBCU News Group intends to standardize on AVC-LongG25 as an acquisition and mezzanine format. According to Leonard Venezia, NBCUniversal Vice-President of Field Operations and Engineering, “We’ve looked carefully at codecs and are very impressed with Panasonic’s LongG25. It’s remarkable to have the ability to capture full 10 bit HD 4:2:2 images using a 25Mbps codec. The quality is outstanding. While there are reduced storage implications, I think for us the real benefit comes when transferring files back to the home office or even for local use. As an example, using a laptop and card reader, we are able to transfer 60 minutes of content to a thumb drive in about two minutes.”

“NBCU News Group’s decision to standardize on AVC-LongG25 is a testament to the power and flexibility of the AVC-ULTRA codec, and we are tremendously excited to support the network in its broad technology initiative with a range of our advanced ENG gear,” said John Baisley, Senior Vice-President, Panasonic System Communications Company.

As part of its longstanding relationship with Panasonic, NBC News assisted Panasonic in the development of the feature set of the PX5000G and its next generation of ENG cameras. “The design and functionality of the PX5000G makes it well equipped for today’s fast-paced and competitive news business,” Venezia said. “The camera weighs a mere 7.5lbs, uses CMOS sensors, has very low power consumption (29W), great sensitivity and S/N. We used the camera for a Telemundo production, La Voz, and the production team was impressed with the quality of the picture. We also value the microP2 media for its reasonable price, durability and speed.”

With respect to the wireless functionality of the PX5000G and PX270, Venezia added, “Wireless connectivity is critical to our workflow. The ability to transfer files and clips—hi rez or proxy--while continuing to record is a major leap forward. We have great interest in using cloud architecture to send an EDL to the camera and receive the hi rez clip back at the station for immediate play-out. Further, the ability to add metadata over wireless infrastructure will help streamline and automate manual processes.”

Venezia said NBCU News Group plans to use the VariCam 35 to enhance content for long-form projects, citing the camera’s narrow depth of field, multiple frame rates, enhanced dynamic range and color gamut as tools to allow photographers and producers to expand their creativity.

Also, NBC News will be among the first customers to take advantage of Panasonic’s new “Bumper to-Bumper” Premium Service, coverage that the network anticipates will lower cost-of-ownership over the long term and sustain a productive engagement with the company.

The latest series of Panasonic’s P2 HD camcorders with built-in wireless/wired streaming capabilities, the AJ-PX270, AJ-PX800 and AJ-PX5000G, are all AVC-ULTRA capable, with the same recording formats, codec and file structure. When used in modern field production--whether fast -breaking news or scheduled interviews-- the tool kits provided are similar , with the camcorders differing only in the lens / imager format and pricing. In many cases a mixture of cameras can used by various crews with, for example, the PX270 utilized for lightweight, handheld use by VJs, the PX800 a more traditional yet affordable 2/3” camera and the flagship PX5000G used by news photographers where the reach of a 2/3” camera and lens is required.

For more information about Panasonic professional video products, visit or contact Panasonic at 877-803-8492.

About NBCUniversal News Group

The NBCUniversal News Group is one of the most influential and respected portfolios of on-air and digital news properties in the world, reaching over 147 million people each month. The Group includes NBC News, a broadcast leader of global news and information for over 75 years and home to such respected programs as "NBC Nightly News," "Today," "Meet the Press," and "Dateline;" MSNBC, the premiere destination for in-depth analysis of daily headlines, insightful political commentary and informed perspectives reaching more than 96 million households worldwide; CNBC, the recognized world leader in business news reaching more that 370 million homes worldwide as well as The Weather Channel and digital platforms including the NBC News Digital Group,, The NBCUniversal News Group also extends on its nationwide network of owned and affiliate stations, NBC News and CNBC Radio; as well as MSNBC on Sirius XM radio. For more information about NBCUniversal, please visit

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