Panasonic and Apple today announced the world’s first implementation of IEEE 1394 FireWire with 100 Mbps DV-HD (the native video compression of Panasonic DVCPRO HD recording systems) to bring unmatched capabilities and dramatically lower price points to high definition (HD) post-production and content distribution.

Together, Panasonic and Apple are bringing HD over FireWire capabilities to desktop and mobile editing with Panasonic’s new AJ-HD1200A, the first HD production VTR to offer a FireWire interface, and Apple’s newly-announced Final Cut Pro HD professional video editing software, enabling mass adoption of HD resolution images on the desktop, and even on PowerBooks.

“The implementation of Panasonic’s VariCam-native DV-HD codec in Final Cut Pro HD will revolutionize high definition production as users know it,” said John Baisley, president of Panasonic Broadcast. “It permits content creators to embrace the film-like qualities of our Emmy award-winning VariCam acquisition system, on their desktop, at a cost level that permits the migration of HD throughout the entire creative process.”

“Apple has worked with Panasonic over the past three years to bring FireWire technology to their DVCPRO50 and DVCPRO HD tape decks,” said Rob Schoeben, Apple’s vice president of Applications Marketing. “Now, we’re bringing real-time, native DVCPRO HD editing to Power Macs and PowerBooks at a breakthrough price.”

“National Geographic Channel is committed to making extensive use of the 720p High Definition video format. Until now, postproduction of 720p was both technically challenging and costly,” said John Ford, National Geographic Channel’s executive vice president of Programming. “Apple’s Final Cut Pro HD tackles both of these factors head on. The ability to now edit footage from Panasonic’s VariCam camera with original quality in the field, on a PowerBook or in the edit suite, could very well have a profound effect on how our producers create programming for the channel.”

With Panasonic’s new, compact AJ-HD1200A DVCPRO HD VTR, 24fps or 60fps progressive scan material shot by Panasonic’s AJ-HDC27 VariCam HD Cinema camera or 1080i studio / sports truck footage recorded by DVCPRO HD VTRs can be transferred via the VTR’s IEEE 1394 interface directly into Final Cut Pro HD without generation loss. Once transferred, the material is instantly available for real-time editing operations. All footage maintains its camera-original quality, because the IEEE 1394 FireWire interface transfers the native DV-HD high definition files, as originally recorded on tape in the VTR or Varicam, directly to the Power Mac G4 or Power Mac G5 host computer’s internal hard drive. Final Cut Pro HD users can also automatically extract 3:2 pulldown from any 24fps HD VariCam footage, saving an additional 60 percent in disk storage space, thus providing a highly-streamlined 24fps native HD ingest and editing process. At that point, users can edit camera-original quality HD content on their desktop, utilizing a Final Cut Pro-equipped Power Mac G5; or if field operations are required, a Final Cut Pro-enabled PowerBook G4 – all without purchasing any proprietary hardware.

“With high definition now available on the desktop with Power Mac G5 and the AJ-HD1200A, the investment necessary for HD editing is dramatically reduced,” said Stuart English, vice president of Marketing, Panasonic Broadcast. “For example, the hardware and software needed to equip a full function HD editing suite with over 100 hours of 24fps HD on-line storage is less than $50,000.”