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of the same
by Rob Tarrant, Panasonic
S o the wait is over.
The brand new VariCam was launched
at IBC in September. Above all else
that means extra choice for high end episodic
dramas, advertising and movies, where it has
to be said the choice has been limited for far too long.
Since the introduction of the original VariCam in 2002,
the first high definition camera-recorder with the ability
to over or under crank and create beautiful cinematic
images, Panasonic’s engineers have strived to bring a new,
innovative camera to the production market.
Feedback from the industry is that many of the DOPs want
to expand their creativity and the new VariCam will deliver
exactly what they want.
The third generation camera arrives in two new variants,
the VariCam35, Super-35mm 4k camera and the VariCam
HS, high speed 2/3 type camera. It features a modular
design, allowing the camera head to be separated from the
recording module, enabling users to switch between the
two camera heads, to best suit the shoot.
The camera module and the recording module can be
connected via an umbilical cable, which is likely to make it a
popular choice when working with jibs, cranes, or anywhere
where size and weight are crucial.
For cinematography, this may mean taking both front ends
to get additional creative freedom, but having only one
system to learn, one codec, one workflow and with less kit
This modularity brings with it options.
The VariCam 35 utilises a new Panasonic super 35mm
MOS sensor for 4096 x 2160 (17:9) 4k image capture;
this imager boasts an impressive 14+ stops of latitude,
and faithfully captures high-contrast, wide dynamic range
imagery without compromise.
The VariCam HS has high speed 1080p image capture at
up to 240fps, so the camera is aimed at the production
of extraordinary high-definition imagery, for the most
demanding documentaries, sports or SFX slow-motion
applications. What is more, our engineers have taken the DYNA chip
from our 3D camera technology to enable simultaneous
recording in two different formats, as well as in proxy.
Together with its in-camera colour grading function, this
means, for instance, that it is possible to record in 4k
master and HD simultaneously, then produce dailies and
begin colour grading on set. This will help production
companies to streamline their workflows greatly.
In terms of storage, we have developed the expressP2
card, specifically to capture 4k or high speed HD images.
The card and drive offer fast transfer speeds (up to
2.4Gbps) and provides 72 minutes recording time in 4k/25p
mode, all on camera, without having to wheel an additional
storage cart behind you.
The camera also features a newly-developed OLED
electronic viewfinder (EVF) with optical zoom functionality.
Really handy are a series of green boxes, which indicate
which parts of the image are in focus. The bigger the box,
the greater the focus.
So what about those colours? Well, beyond the innovative
design, the real benefit of the VariCam, getting DOPs
excited, is the range of colours which, frankly, they won’t
have experienced before.
70 | KITPLUS - THE TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 95 NOVEMBER 2014