Panasonic 3MOS AVCCAM HMC80 Review
HD and SD in one package
The Panasonic HMC80 Camcorder was introduced to the AVCCAM line for the purpose of providing a versatile professional camcorder that can shoot in both AVCCAM HD Video, and have the flexibility of shooting SD Footage in AVI Type 2 format.
The AG-HMC80 Camcorder can record in four professional Modes. The most powerful is PH Mode, recording an average of 21 Mbps of data, followed by HA at 17 Mbps, HG at 13 Mbps and HE at 6 Mbps.
Shooting Sports and Events
Without getting into too much technical detail, PH Shooting mode would be ideal for fast movement sports shots of high school or college football or hockey teams, where as the HE mode will save considerable battery life and recording capacity and looks quite good when recording low movement events such as wedding ceremonies, corporate training seminars and corporate speaking events.
Start Recording before Hitting Record
The Panasonic hmc80 also includes useful features such as prerecord, so you can quickly hit record as a special moment is happening like a great impromptu wedding kiss, and the clip will start 3 seconds before you hit the record button.
Pre-record functions are also handy for unpredictable animal situations such as fish jumping out of water.
Focus Assist is another handy feature of this camcorder. If your in a low level lighting environment and your not sure if your in focus, the focus assist button will zoom in your image 10x on the LCD viewfinder, so you can examine the details of the shot without ruining the shot itself, then adjust the focus accordingly with the easy to use manual focus ring on the lens.
Solid State Recording
All footage on this camcorder is recorded onto SDHC Cards, with storage of up to 32 GB on one card, and up t0 12 hours of video on a single card. SDHC Cards in this camcorder have the ability to record in 1080i, 720p, and 480i and 480p recording modes.
Effective Use of the Panasonic HMC80
From an event videographers perspective, you always want to be consistent with the media of the workflow that you already have, so mixing this camcorder into an all P2 Card workflow wouldn’t necessarily be the best choice, but integrating the camcorder into a solid state / SDHC Card work flow where the end product is standard DVD Disks or Blue-ray disks.
If the end product that your producing is a wedding video on DVD for a client, then shooting in a native resolution of 720 x 480 at 30 frames per second would be an ideal shooting mode. By shooting in this mode, you will have less transcoding and importing time from start to finish, because the product is already in the right format for your end product. This is one advantage that the Panasonic HMC80 has over the Panasonic AG-HMC40, which only shoots in AVCHD HD formats.
The Shoulder Mountable option also comes in handy when you need to produce a steady shot while still having the ability to be mobile and capture special moments as they happen, such as a fast sequence of events at a wedding reception with a grand march, cake cutting then a prayer on the other side of the room.
If your an event video professional and your considering the move away from HDV or DV footage, then consider the HMC80 for it’s versatile shooting modes, shoulder mount abilities, and a huge variety of manual controls.