JVC Professional Products Company, a division of JVC Americas Corp., just unveiled the GY-HMQ10, which they are calling "the world's first handheld 4K camcorder." The camera is based on JVC's Falconbrid large-scale integration (LSI) chip for high-speed signal processing and features a ½-inch CMOS imager with 8.3 million active pixels.
Edgar Shane, General Manager, Engineering at JVC Professional Products.
"We're particularly interested in 4K because we think it is the future for digital imaging," says Edgar Shane, General Manager, Engineering at JVC Professional Products. "Many industry experts agree that 4K is almost equivalent to the vision of the human eye. 1080P looks great, but we're still looking at gorgeous images. When you're looking at 4K, you're almost looking at reality."
The GY-HMQ10 delivers real-time 3840x2160 footage at 24p, 50p or 60p. Shane reports that the Falconbrid LSI processing takes raw image data from the CMOS imager and de-Bayers it in real time. The camera is also able to output 4K images to a monitor or projector in real-time with no latency.
"JVC has demonstrated 4K in prototype since NAB 2010," says Shane. "But before we showed live 4K cameras. This one is not only live but records on the same media as all JVC Professional camcorders do." The GY-HMQ10 records up to two hours of 4K video to SDHC or SDXC memory cards, using MPEG-4 technology and a variable bit rate H.264 codec that operates up to 144 Mbps. "The trick is that it records on four cards simultaneously," says Shane. "The amount of data is huge, so we need to have four cards running in parallel."
The GY-HMQ10's form factor is similar to JVC's GY-HM150 ProHD camcorder and includes a built-in F2.8 10x zoom lens with optical image stabilizer, a color viewfinder and a 3.5-inch touch LCD monitor with a new interface. Other features include manual level controls for audio, with audio metering in the LCD and viewfinder displays; a microphone holder and two balanced XLR connectors with phantom power on the handle; a built-in stereo mic for ambient sound pickup; JVC's Focus Assist and manual and auto control of focus, iris, gain, shutter, gamma, color matrix and white balance. Perhaps most surprising, the GY-HMQ10 will sell for a retail price of $4,995.
"We had the idea to bring in the equipment at an affordable price so people could experiment," says Shane. The idea has paid off, as many other sectors than traditional video have evinced interest in the camera. "We see interests from medical, industrial, government and surveillance," he says.
When it comes to the traditional video market, however, Shane notes that the camera is not aimed at the high-end market. "This camcorder isn't for those customers," he says. "But they did indicate to us that they're interested in using it for B roll, in places where it's impossible to fit a larger traditional camera."
Whereas the GY-HMQ10 has been shown under glass at the last NAB, at NAB 2012 it will be for sale. "This is part of a larger move at JVC to bring 4K technology to a wide range of customers," says Shane. What's up next? "We think the interchangeable lens and other special applications will be the natural progression of this technology," he says.
A 4K camcorder fits in the realm of the $100 2-terabyte hard drive: something that not too long ago seemed impossible is now actually on the market. JVC is making 4K technology to a market segment that could easily gravitate to it. It's another sign that 4K is indeed the future of resolution, from the high end on down. Is it the end of the struggle for ever-more resolution? That remains to be seen, as 4K is still making inroads. In any case, we'll all have our hands full in the next few years transforming the end-to-end workflow to 4K.
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