The Panasonic AW-UE4: Cometh the hour Cometh the Camera
Panasonic sold hundreds of AW-HE2 camera units. When it was discontinued, the calls kept coming in from customers who needed something of this size and functionality for small radio studios and news studios. At last we have a worthy replacement in the AW-UE4. It is a little bigger than the HE2, but it has tons more features, many of these are particularly useful at the moment.
Great in a tight space
The UE4 has a very wide-angle lens with a 111-degree field of view. This means sitting on the desk in my small office the camera can see the whole room. There is a 4X digital zoom which you can use to crop in for closer head shots (or to hide the pile of toilet rolls and corned beef in the opposite corner). If you are really hard-up for space because it’s only 500 grams it can be hung upside-down on a ceiling or under a shelf using the supplied bracket.
The UE4 has a 1/2.5-inch sensor which is 20% bigger than Logitech’s popular 920 webcam. This means the low light performance is significantly better, and it’s considerably better than the tiny sensors built into most laptops, phones and tablets. It has a great dynamic range stretch feature that really helps with the tricky lighting situations you get in home studios.
The Panasonic AW-UE4 camera is incredibly flexible because it can be connected in 3 different ways. Having USB-C output means it can be used with no fuss or software drivers by Skype, Zoom, Teams or whatever software you use to keep in touch which utilises standard webcams. Its hardware H.264 and H.265 encoder means it can broadcast straight to YouTube Live, Facebook, Wirecast, Twitter and Twitch out of the wired Ethernet port, although it does need a tablet, PC or Mac to control this. It can output HD or 4K through its HDMI port for feeding into vision mixers, screens and projectors.
It can even work with Panasonic’s auto tracking software to automatically follow your pacing up and down your locked down room, like a sad polar bear at the zoo.
And when life returns to normal you will still have an excellent wide angle PTZ camera to utilise on a network with other cameras, until then you will have the ultimate Webcam.
For a quick guide to using the UE4 as a webcam, click here.