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TECHNOLOGY An artist gets bored of the same colour palette 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 to carry. 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 TV-BAY095NOV14.indd 70 06/11/2014 13:06