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NAB 2024: Panasonic Talks New 4K UE30 PTZ, Lumix S5 II/X, and KAIROS Live Production Platform

In this interview from the Panasonic booth at NAB 2024, Panasonic Connect Director of Product Management Chris Merrill and Streaming Media's Marc Franklin discuss Panasonic's new 4K UE30 PTZ cam, the Lumix S5 II/X, SMPTE 2110 support, and new developments in Panasonic's KAIROS liver production platform.

In this interview from the Panasonic booth at NAB 2024, Panasonic Connect Director of Product Management Chris Merrill and Streaming Media's Marc Franklin discuss Panasonic's new UE30 4K PTZ cam, the Lumix S5 II/X, SMPTE 2110 support, and new developments in Panasonic's KAIROS liver production platform.

Marc Franklin: I am here at Panasonic's booth at NAB 2024, and Chris is going to walk us through some of the new Panasonic developments here at the show. They've got a new camcorder, new PTZ, new KAIROS production suite, and more. So why don't you take it away.

Chris Merrill: Sure. Happy to do that. We've really organized all of our things into sort of three main areas. There's the capture section, create, and then deliver. So we've got that whole workflow and the fun thing is there really are solutions in every one of those areas that are new to us. So in our capture area, we're actually showing two different kinds of scenarios. One is a broadcast studio and the other is more of a connected classroom. So in our broadcast studio area, we've got a number of our studio cameras and some of our high-end PTZs with robotics. But the unique thing that we're talking about there is our new camera control unit, which has the ability to bring 2110 into that camera environment to be able to get the benefits of the easy connection and transmission in 2110.

Marc Franklin: Okay. For people who don't know, what is 2110?

Chris Merrill: SMPTE Standard 2110 is a protocol used for transmitting signals over IP, so it allows you to use that IT network instead of having around big bundles of cable that we're used to with SDI. It gives us a really simplified way of being able to transmit signals in our connected classroom.

We're also introducing a new PTZ as you mentioned. It's the UE30 that's coming out, which is sort of an introductory model in our PTZs and really makes it a lot more accessible for many people to use that PTZ technology. To top that off, we've got a couple of different ways of automating, both to be able to use our microphones to track zones within a particular environment so that the camera is following the speakers or else also with what we're calling our media production suite, to set up software tools that allow you to, again, auto position and frame a signal to do the tracking.

The other thing that's unique there is what we're calling intelligent keying. So normally when you have a figure that you're wanting to abstract from a background, you've got to have a green screen lighting, all those kinds of things. Here you're able to use a standard environment and using the machine learning that's available there to identify the speaker that you want to track, and then it's tracking that person.

Marc Franklin: Will it be able to do that even if the person's moving?

Chris Merrill: Absolutely. Yeah. That's the whole point. You've got a meeting where your speaker who paces or those kinds of things are common problems and yeah, it absolutely tracks them across.

Marc Franklin: So basically you don't need to use a chroma key anymore.

Chris Merrill: That's right. You learn that person's facial figure, and then it tracks that individual all over. People who walk in front and those kinds of things don't distract from that.

Marc Franklin: That's pretty amazing. And that's going to be available now?

Chris Merrill: It's available in two months.

Marc Franklin: And is that a new product or is it an upgrade to a current product?

Chris Merrill: So it's part of a suite of products. It will be a new thing. It's why we're calling it Media Production Suite. There are a number of different plugins that you could sort of customize to the environment that you are working in. So the intelligent keying would be one of those plugins. Auto tracking would be another. There are other kinds of plugins that are available there.

Marc Franklin: It'll be able to be used with the older cameras also. And the new camera, which model is that?

Chris Merrill: The new camera is the UE30.

Marc Franklin: Okay, and is that going to be HD or 4K?

Chris Merrill: It allows you to do both of those things. KAIROS is a live production platform and in addition to switching, it also does audio mixing graphics, other kinds of things. But the new unit that we're bringing in there is a totally SDI I/O scenario. KAIROS is a software-defined platform, and so it's native 2110, but for people who are still concerned about that, at the show we're introducing one that just allows you still that flexibility internally of the software-defined abilities. But its I/O works in your traditional environment and then when you're ready, you just slip in a network interface card.

Marc Franklin: How many cameras can you plug into the system?

Chris Merrill: It depends on the model. So you can start with as few as 12 or you can go up to somewhere around 60. But the thing that's different about it is, unlike other systems where every port has to have a physical connection, if you're using an IP scenario that I'm able to select which of those streams that I want to come into the system at a particular time.

Marc Franklin: You just use a router.

Chris Merrill: I just connect to the router and I can actually define one button for multiple sources. So I can actually rotate through a much larger number than the actual connectors that I have on the back of the unit.

Marc Franklin: Oh, that's very cool. Easy way to expand by just getting a network router.

Chris Merrill: Absolutely. That's the whole concept. Many people, when you buy a traditional switching platform, you have to say, what's the biggest possible production I'm ever going to make and I have to buy that. Whereas this gives you the ability to say, "Okay, what's my average production?" And then you can grow this as you need it, and it is easy to do that.

Marc Franklin: Can use any network router and plug it in?

Chris Merrill: It would be an IT switch, because it's 2110 over IP. But I also have abilities for most of the streaming protocols, SRT and those kinds of things. As well as NDI inputs, a variety of other IP formats are available.

Marc Franklin: Very interesting,

Chris Merrill: It's a fun, creative tool.

Marc Franklin: Over on the LUMIX side of Panasonic's NAB booth. Neil Matsumoto, Head of Lumix Business Development is going to talk to us about some new firmware upgrades for their Lumix cinema cameras.

Neil Matsumoto: Great. So this is our Lumix S5 camera. We have an S5 II and an S IIX. The main difference between the S5 IIX and the S5 II is the USB-C port. You're able to output higher res, higher quality codecs like ProRes into an SSD. Basically the main features of this camera are we updated the autofocus system and where it's more of a phase to detect autofocus system rather rather than our old one. The contrast detect the firmware update that we just announced pretty much concentrates on four things. So the main one is camera to cloud, which is Adobe's cloud integration. So basically you can send up to Adobe's cloud, you have to have an account obviously, but you can send up full-resolution JPEGs, RAW files, but also for video files.

So the camera will be able to create a 1080 proxy. Let's say if you're recording 4K files, it'll recreate a 1080 proxy, usually like 6MB or 12MB files, and it'll send it directly up into your account. So let's say if you're a wedding videographer and you have a client that wants to show highlights of their wedding ceremony to their attendees at the reception, your editor would be getting all of these video files and photo files as they're being shot. Once they press stop on the record, it's pretty much going to be, they can start working remotely so they don't have to be at the venue. So the guest can now see a highlight reel at the actual reception. That's the main thing. The other function that we've improved in the camera with the AF systems, there's a lot more recognition technology. You can now do not only humans and human eyes, but you can also do animal eyes. You can do cars and motorcycles. The other function that we added to the camera is a high image stabilization mode.

Marc Franklin: It optical or electronic?

Neil Matsumoto: It's basically cropping and the gyroscope in the camera is correcting shape. So the high mode when it's doing almost a 20% crop, so if you're using a wider lens on a full frame, if you're using a 14 millimeter lens, which might have some distortion at the edges, it's pretty much going to correct any sort of image distortion on the end. In a sense, I'll give you some footage if you'd like, but it's almost like you're walking with a gimbal or a steadicam. If you're shooting 14 millimeters, it's almost going to look very like a Kubrick shot.

Marc Franklin: So how much of a resolution drop is there?

Neil Matsumoto: It's none. So it's basically propping the sensor, but you're still capturing your 4K image files. Oh, wow. We also added for still photographers a prebus function where once you engage the shutter, it'll capture up to 1.5 seconds of prebus. And the prebus you can do up to 30 frames a second.

Marc Franklin: Oh wow.

Neil Matsumoto: So the camera is mostly designed for hybrid shooters, but with the X, I think most of the shooters that are using the X are more video-focused shooters. So that's pretty much it on

Marc Franklin: What's the cost difference between the X and the regular?

Neil Matsumoto: The X is $200 more, because a lot of our customers that are using our cameras, a lot of 'em are still photographers. A lot of still photographers probably would not want to work with ProRes files.

Marc Franklin: But $200 is not a very expensive price to pay for the extra functionality.

Neil Matsumoto: For an NAB audience, I think the X would be the camera that they're most focused on.

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