BBC approves the Panasonic AG-AF101 for HD TV
Panasonic AG-AF101 approved for HD by the BBC
The AG-AF101 has joined the illustrious list of HD specialist cameras approved by the BBC. Other models on the same list include the ARRI Alexa, Sony's CineAlta F35 and the Red camera, units that cost many times more than the Panasonic AF101.
The announcement comes on the back of a number of high profile channels broadcasting programmes shot with the AF101. Studio 9 Films were recently commissioned by Al-Jazeera Europe to film a documentary using the camera. The camera operator twinned the camcorder with an external recorder to capture footage at 50Mbps - something the BBC also insists on. Other productions that have used the camera include shows recorded for Channel 4 and a host of TV commercials.
Allan Leonhardsen of the distributor Holdan Limited comments: "The 101 has been a big hit for Panasonic right across the world. Its picture quality, and particularly its control over depth of field, are excellent for a camera at this price point. It is a leap up from a DSLR with its professional controls, ergonomic handling and broadcast interfaces. To be on the approved BBC HD list is a real feather in its cap."
Since its launch earlier this year, a number of third party developers have manufactured accessories that give the AG-AF101 incredible versatility. Lens adapters such as the new device from Birger Engineering mean that camera teams can use scores of optics from different manufacturers; new recorders including Blackmagic Design's new HyperDeck Shuttle allow crews to capture hours of uncompressed video onto a single drive via the camera's SDI or HDMI ports.
DOP Paul Lucas who has recently completed a number of TV and commercial shoots using the AF101 commented: "I think the AF-101 represents a serious step forward for cameras in its class. For those who've been shooting professional video on DSLR's: this is unquestionably the way forward. For mid to higher budget shoots - promos, drama, commercials, there's no reason not to use a 101 next to more expensive cameras, and spend money on glass instead."
The AF101 can be used with a wide range of lenses, from Zeiss Compact Primes, to Canon and Nikon stills lenses via lens adaptors from the likes of MTF Services UK - See Mike Tapas website for more details on lens adaptors at: www.mtfservices.com
To see the official BBC APPROVED HD CAMCORDERS list updated by Exectutive Producer of BBC HD, Ian Potts, click here
To read the story about Studio 9 Films using AG-AF101 to shoot TV documentary click here
For more details visit the Panasonic Professional website at: www.panasonic-broadcast.com
Ed Note: This is superb news for low-budget documentary filmmakers wanting to shoot HD programmes for the BBC or other television channels. The Panasonic AG-AF101 cost around £3,700 inc vat. Add to this an external digital recorder capable of a minimum of 50Mbps and 4:2:2 colour space (AJA Ki Pro Mini cost around £2,500, but there are much cheaper alternatives out there) and a decent broadcast quality lens (Voigtlander 25mm F0.95 cost just £800, or Zeiss CP.2 Primes cost £3,000 or can be rented cheaply) and you can have a full-on BBC-approved HD acquisition shooting kit for less than £6,000. This is the first time that it has been possible to shoot a BBC HD programme with a large sensor camcorder on such low-priced equipment.