January 22, 2024
5 min read
2023 was a landmark year for Panasonic Connect and its customers. The company responded to a sea of change in the live event production industry with a broad spectrum of new AV technology products, from microphones to cameras and back-end event production systems. This range of highly functional AV tech equipment extends into cloud-based live video production infrastructure and will fully prepare customers for significant ongoing developments that the company expects in 2024 and beyond.
The AV technology industry is focusing increasingly on end-to-end connected IP ecosystems, with ultra-high definition cameras streaming video to live event production systems that can deliver footage to multiple channels. As audiences embrace more content delivery channels, from live streaming video to on-site immersive experience events, AV tech companies must keep up with the times.
Panasonic Elevates AV Technology Solutions with PTZ Camera Systems
At the National Association of Broadcasters show in April, Panasonic Connect showcased several new products, including enhancements to its PTZ camera system lineup.
Rugged Camera Capabilities
The AW-UR100 4K outdoor professional PTZ camera, which shipped in the third quarter of 2023, combines 4K/60FPS capability with a hermetically sealed exterior for extreme ruggedness in corrosive or sandy environments. A built-in lens defroster copes with extreme temperatures, while a screen wiper ensures crystal clarity in the rain.
The AW-UR100 answers live streaming demands in use cases ranging from stadiums to live broadcasting during extreme weather events to streaming from large ocean-going vessels. The system offers precision shooting in the toughest environments. It supports wide-angle shots with a 74.1° horizontal field but also offers a 24x optical zoom and 10x digital zoom, along with cropping capabilities to hone in on the action. It supports a large range of connections, including IP-compliant protocols and FreeD for accommodating AR/VR broadcast scenarios.
Focus and Stability
Panasonic Connect also showcased the AW-UE160W/K 4K PTZ camera, which shipped in the first quarter of 2023 and blends PTZ flexibility with broadcast camera functionality. It features advanced autofocus and image stabilization, ST2110 support for IP and wireless 5G transmission, cropping zoom, and high-speed high-definition output.
Cutting-Edge Software Updates
Panasonic Connect also made a point of offering updates to support new functionality in its devices. For example, the AV technology company introduced auto-tracking updates to select PTZ camera models during NAB. It demonstrated these as part of its Connected Classroom setup, highlighting preset audio controls linked to Panasonic wireless microphone systems to reduce the burden on operators. It also released a software update to its KAIROS touch panel control, enabling its use for functions including production switcher functions, scene selection, and clip playback.
NAB also saw Panasonic showcase the AV-HSW10 compact IP-enabled live production switcher, which targets on-site streaming of high-quality live production video at lectures, webinars and other events. That device shipped in the fourth quarter of 2023.
KAIROS Expansion Addresses Evolution in AV Tech
Perhaps the star of the show at NAB in April, though, was KAIROS. Panasonic Connect released the AT-KC200: a new core mainframe in the KAIROS live video production ecosystem. This, along with the AT-KC2000 and KC2000S1 that shipped in the third quarter, includes more inputs and outputs, an up to 8K production canvas, better video processing performance, and more file storage capacity. The KC2000 features especially high capacity with its 96GB RAM Player, 32GB stills, and an 850GB clip player, which will free many customers from using a stand-alone clip player at all. The KC2000S1 adds AV network redundancy to the KC2000 feature set.
Adapting to reach a global market
These additions to the KAIROS ecosystem address a trend that we'll see growing past 2024. The global live-streaming market will hit over $247 billion by 2027, representing a 28.1% seven-year CAGR.
Not just for entertainment, live streaming plays a critical role in reaching target audiences for such diverse applications as enterprise communication, education, and worship. As the market continues to grow, audiences expect video content to equal television in quality, prompting organizations to invest in AV tech that produces high-quality content for more channels and destinations. At the same time, production crews are challenged to create content from more locations with fewer people and less equipment. As a result, remote and distributed workflows are becoming more common.
In a market where the demand for high production value is accelerating, KAIROS stands apart from traditional switchers by leveraging the latest technology to simplify your workflow and streamline the creative process. In addition to its unique ability to freely add scenes and layers without ME restrictions, KAIROS integrates functions that generally require dedicated pieces of equipment — like audio mixers, clip stores, graphics, format converters, multiviewers and LED Video Wall processors. Centralizing production workflows leads to less equipment and personnel in the field, and crews can avoid production downtime due to shipping delays.
Embracing IP-based broadcasting
Six months after the April NAB show, at NAB New York, Panasonic Connect showcased some other new products. Launched in October 2023, the UCU700 Camera Control Unit will support customers' path to IP-based broadcasting with their existing 4K studio camera systems. This system, which offers both 4K and HDR capability, is the company's response to a growing post-pandemic trend in broadcasting: the need for hybrid in-person and remote live event production.
The UCU700 also demonstrates Panasonic Connect's ability to span legacy and new IP-based AV technology workflows. It will support the SMPTE ST 2110 IP transmission standard to take IP straight from Panasonic's studio cameras while also supporting legacy camera control units, so that customers can integrate them into new ST 2110 backbones. It will also be the first studio camera system to support the Dante network audio-over-Ethernet standard, along with the more established NDI and SRT IP transmission standards.
NAB New York also saw Panasonic Connect highlight a product launched at the end of 2022: the AK-PLV100 Super 35mm CineLive Studio Camera. This continues its Varicam tradition by offering cinematic production effects as part of its CineLive production system but also supports ST 2110 IP-based workflows.
AV Technology Will Supercharge the Immersive Experience in 2024
Going forward into 2024, Panasonic Connect will continue to help customers integrate their video production using superlative AV tech products like those it announced in its camera and back-end live video production fleet. These will feed streaming applications and provide world-class immersive experience content — an area where the company excels.
With immersive experience AV technology ranging from video wall solutions to projector systems with projection mapping, the company is committed to creating custom solutions that inspire audiences. Just check out Panasonic's best immersive experience AV installations from 2023.
Creating live immersive experiences
Immersive experiences bring the full power of Panasonic's projection mapping technology to fruition, which wraps bright, vibrant imagery around non-uniform shapes like buildings at a massive scale. For example, 2020's Van Gogh collaboration with Lighthouse Immersive used projection mapping to bring the Dutch artist's paintings to live on the walls of Canada's Toronto Star building. In 2022, Panasonic signed a five-year collaborative deal to flood Las Vegas's AREA15 district with vibrant imagery. Check out this article for examples of how Panasonic Connect helped power AV tech installations in 2023.
"We're seeing a strategic shift in the immersive landscape since doing large activations like AREA15 and Van Gogh," said Jared Darensbourg, national live events manager at Panasonic. "As we see that shift start to center around verticals including education and corporate, it comes down to high-quality 4K projection in a connected ecosystem," Darensbourg continued.
Products like the Panasonic PT-FRQ60 1-Chip DLP 4K SOLID SHINE laser projector provide imagery that impresses on a large scale. Alongside low-latency operation for fast-moving imagery that stays razor sharp, it has advanced Geometry Manager Pro capabilities to mask and blend displays across complex multi-display projection mapping environments.
Panasonic Connect aims to be an end-to-end solution provider for live entertainment customers, covering areas ranging from networking to switching, AV, sound, and mixing. That involves a robust mixture of expertise and services, but it begins with an amazing set of products. Thank you for partnering with us to make magical experiences with these products in 2023. Now, imagine what 2024 will bring!