Indie HD for the budget conscious – first look at the Panasonic AG-HSC1U3 min readReading Time: 3 minutes
Since early this year, we’ve been getting information about the new AVCHD codec and how it could be the HDV replacement (We are not so fond of tapes).
We were really excited when Panasonic sent us the US$2099 AG-HSC1U to test it out and after having used the AG-HVX202 camera on a tapeless workflow, I’m sure we are never going back to tapes.
The AG-HSC1U is the professional twin brother of the consumer version HDC-SD1GC-S and at first look, measuring 2.6 by 2.7 by 5.6 inches and weighing only 490grams, it can be hard to take this camera seriously!
Hidden in disguise under the hood though lies an energetic 1/4″ 3CCD engine and 5.1-channel surround sound system with five microphones that will guarantee to blow away the budget-conscious indie filmmaker. There are some shortcomings as well, like the serious lack of functions but hey, for once I actually stopped trying to mess about with the settings and started paying attention to the basics of camera work. I certainly believe that the sheer simplicity of this camera makes it the new “8mm of the 21st century”.
Just switch it on and you are ready to shoot in 1.7 seconds, can it get any simpler?
Recording at 1440x1080i and 13mbps constant bitrate at HF mode, this codec does show a lot of promise when it eventually reaches the claimed ceiling of 24mbps.
What we love most about it is the decision to use SDHC (Older SD cards are compatible too) cards. It is supplied with a 4GB SDHC and with that, you can record approx;
- 40mins at HF mode (13mbps)
- 60mins at HN mode (9mbps)
- 90mins at HE mode (6mbps)
Interface choices are aplenty, you can choose from;
- Component Video
- Mic IN
- USB 2.0
With Apple’s recent Final Cut Pro 6.01 update bringing support using the log and transfer option and recoding to Apple’s ProRes 422 codec (No native support as yet), editing the AVCHD footages no longer becomes a nightmare of 3rd party conversions.
From the official US website:
Introducing the AG-HSC1U, the world’s smallest 3-chip AVCHD camcorder with professional features. Weighing only 1.1 lbs., this compact, handheld camcorder records beautiful, highly-accurate 1080i images in 16:9 in the new AVCHD format onto an SDHC memory card. Entry-level professionals will find the camcorder ideal for capturing natural, professional-level high definition recordings. The AG-HSC1U features a highly-sensitive 12X Leica Dicomar lens system with Optical Image Stabilizer to ensure ultra-steady, crisp shooting of both moving pictures and still images. The camcorder has a 3″ widescreen (16:9) LCD monitor and 5.1-channel surround sound five-microphone system. It can also capture 2.1 megapixel 16:9 still pictures even during video recording.
The AG-HSC1U comes standard with a portable 40GB media storage unit for off-loading content from the 4GB SDHC memory card. The 40GB hard disk drive can hold the contents of ten 4GB SDHC memory cards and has a built-in rechargeable battery. The camera also comes standard with a 4GB SDHC memory card and a one-year parts and labor warranty.
Stay tuned for more updates!