January 5, 2015
CES 2015

Panasonic Introduces New 4K Cameras with HDR Movie Recording & 1080p Up to 240fps

Panasonic WX970 4K Hero
While 4K is everywhere this year at CES, Panasonic is trying something a little different beyond just more pixels with their consumer products.

With new 4K camcorders, the HC-WX970 ($1K) and HC-VX870 ($900), and one new HD camcorder, the HC-V770 ($600), not only have they delivered 1080p frame rates up to 120fps (240fps with frame interpolation), but they've introduced an HDR feature during movie recording (though unfortunately these cameras seem to be limited to consumer frame rates, and don't look to have 24p).

Here is a 4K video sample:

Here's a sample of the HDR mode, and an explanation:

By combining two images taken with different exposure times, the HDR Movie function suppresses blown highlights and blocked shadows for crisper, clearer videos. With HDR you can maintain gradation in your images in difficult shooting situations, like when your subject is back-lit.

Many of you probably don't care much about this announcement, but this sort of technology will usually find its way into other cameras. 4K is nice, though more dynamic range can certainly improve how a scene looks, especially if you're in harsh lighting conditions. As you can see in the video above, the HDR is a huge step up from the standard video, and there don't seem to be any motion artifacts that are too jarring from combining exposures. If Panasonic wants to incorporate this technology into more professional cameras (depending on how they implement it), it could prove to be very useful. 

The frame interpolation could also find its way into other cameras, which may give us super high frame rates on cameras that are only capable of 120 or 240:

For a more dramatic slow motion effect, the Crystal Engine's Intelligent Frame Creation interpolates frames to achieve an equivalent of 240 fps. You can easily switch to slow motion while recording with a simple touch on the LCD screen.

There is also a secondary camera on the WX970 (the 870 and 770 both allow the smartphone feature since they don't have two cameras on-board):

This additional camera provides 270° panning and ±20° tilting for recording two angles simultaneously. The twin camera operation also features a narration mode to record ongoing commentary while shooting. For more versatility, you can connect your smartphone via Wi-Fi and use that instead of the built-in secondary camera. With this functionality you can shoot from alternate distances or angles for a variety of picture-in-picture images.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zYM4xjpqWE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPaXzlu4y9o

If picture-in-picture is the only option, it may prove to be less useful, but if you could record two separate streams at once I could see this being useful for an interview situation where you need two angles very quickly. You could either shoot two of the subject or one of the subject and one of yourself. I'm not sure if this is possible but we'll see.

Beyond that they've introduced two new HD camcorders, the HC-W570 ($450) with secondary 2MP camera and the HC-V270 ($300), and also new UHS Class 3 cards up to 128GB that are better designed for 4K video. For more on the 4K cameras, check out the specs below.

Panasonic HC-WX970 4K UHD Camcorder with Twin Video Camera

Panasonic WX970 4K Camcorder with HDR

Specs:

  • 4K Ultra HD Video and 8MP Still Photos
  • 1/2.3" Back-Illuminated MOS Sensor
  • 3840 x 2160 up to 30fps, 1080p up to 120fps (240fps with interpolation)
  • Articulating 5.27MP Secondary Camera
  • 20x Optical Zoom / 50x Intelligent Zoom
  • HYBRID OIS 5-Axis Image Stabilization
  • HDR (High Dynamic Range) Video Recording
  • Capture 4K Frame Grabs from Video
  • Wi-Fi for Remote Operation and Live View
  • IR Night Mode
  • Availability: Late February/Early March 2015
  • Price: $1,000

Panasonic HC-VX870 4K UHD Camcorder

Panasonic VX870 4K HDR

Specs:

  • 4K Ultra HD Video and 8MP Still Photos
  • 1/2.3" Back-Illuminated MOS Sensor
  • 3840 x 2160 up to 30fps, 1080p up to 120fps (240fps with interpolation)
  • Use Smartphone Camera for Second Angle
  • 20x Optical Zoom / 50x Intelligent Zoom
  • HYBRID OIS 5-Axis Image Stabilization
  • 1080p Slow Motion Video up to 240 fps
  • HDR (High Dynamic Range) Video Recording
  • Capture 4K Frame Grabs from Video
  • Wi-Fi for Remote Operation and Live View
  • IR Night Mode
  • Availability: Late February/Early March 2015
  • Price: $900

Panasonic SDXC/SDHC UHS-I Class 3 Cards

Panasonic 4K Class 3 SD Card

There are three versions of this card, 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB, and they have a constant minimum write speed of 30MB/s, so they will be good enough for most compressed 4K recordings.

Check out the links below for more.      

Your Comment

11 Comments

Do you know when they'll be available to purchase?

January 5, 2015 at 7:09PM

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Justen Noll
Director for JN Films
22

Yes they should all be shipping in late February/early March.

January 5, 2015 at 7:22PM

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Joe Marine
Camera Department

Be pretty good as a crash camera, or discreet shooting.

Or, unfortunately, 4K found footage films...blarg

January 5, 2015 at 7:43PM

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Anthony Vescio
Director/Editor
398

Looks very interesting. Nice to see them not just pushing 4K alone. Will be interesting to see how footage looks

January 5, 2015 at 7:44PM

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Tom Hornblow
Camera operator, Steadicam
309

HDR isn't anything you can't do in post.

January 5, 2015 at 8:38PM

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Jesse Zook Mann
Producer/ Director
205

I mean this HDR effect... is there no way to edit/ delete posts on here?

January 5, 2015 at 8:39PM

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Jesse Zook Mann
Producer/ Director
205

Looking at the example
http://youtu.be/UPc75dUu1Es?t=1m8s

The tiles in the roof and the sidewalk is not recoverable in post.

January 6, 2015 at 12:16AM

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Thomas Galyon
Colorist
126

"The tiles in the roof and the sidewalk is not recoverable in post."

You must be right about that. It is a way to reduce contrast that makes a recording possible, that wasn't before with this set-up. Still a feeling of uneasiness comes over me when looking at the HDR results. I do not like what I see. Maybe there is improvement possible in post, that would be nice.

January 6, 2015 at 5:19AM

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Awesome! 1080p up to 120fps (240fps with interpolation) is pretty awesome! Now can the average consumer get a computer that can efficiently edit 4K footage with little effort. I filmed a wedding on a Panasonic GH4 and had a hard time editing 4k footage on my Early iMac 2014, 4GB Graphics, and 32GB of Memory. As soon as your drop in color corrections super laggy on Final Cut Pro X. I even tested out 4k footage on the new 5k iMac at the Mac store and it was still laggy. Seems like the best machine to edit 4k footage is a MacPro. Will your average consumer shell out $3K? I do not think so. Hopefully, the computers catch up for your every day consumer to edit on 4k easily because that would be good news for your filmmakers having more affordable computers. We will see what the future hold gentlemen :)

January 6, 2015 at 2:09AM

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You should not be having issues with editing 4K footage on your iMac. I have the same system and edit Black Magic 4K footage wonderfully.

January 6, 2015 at 11:05AM

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Caleb Rasak
Camera Operator / AC
409

Or you could not get a Mac and get a PC which is going to cost tremendously less and be much more capable.(Not trying to start a flame war here) but if you buy the parts for a PC and put it together yourself(which is pathetically easy, my grandmother could do it) you have yourself a pretty darn good 4k editing machine. (This is going off that a brand new iMac 2014 is ~2k.)

January 12, 2015 at 12:51PM

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