An artist gets bored of the same colour palette


Rob Tarrant TV-Bay Magazine
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by Rob Tarrant
Issue 95 - November 2014

So 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.

Powerful colour management capabilities provide a much extended colour gamut for truly impeccable image fidelity and full fidelity mastering of original source material.

Inherited from original VariCam, the VariCam 35 features a V-Log curve, specifically tuned to produce images full of emotion, which maps an impressive 14+ stops of image data to the recorded file. The VariCam 35 permits the assignment of various LUTs to individual recording channels and camera outputs. For example, shoot UHD and record non-destructively with the V-Log LUT, but assign a "baked-in" 709 LUT on the HD / proxy recording for a real-time normal contrast look for editing and pre-grading.

In layman's terms, the 'Panasonic look' is back, and it's looking better than ever.

A lot of the talk at IBC and the recent big trade shows has been about 4K workflow, but the average DOP doesn't care too greatly about the edit, they just want to make sure they are providing the best possible footage for post-production teams to work with.

That's not to say the VariCam is not workflow friendly, it is. But what will get the average DOP excited, is how the VariCam 35 demonstrates just how powerful a camera's colour rendering can be. Reds are pure and just, not varied shades of orange or pink. The red seems to pop in a way that I haven't seen before.

We seem to have nailed the yellows too, a key to the rich flesh tones which Panasonic cameras are known for. Flesh tones are warm, alive and unlike those captured by any other camera.

But secondary colours too are delivered beautifully. Browns and purples are rendered accurately and subtly.

This ability to provide contrasts for secondary colours is where the camera can really start to win some admirers. At the moment the choice available to DOPs is a range of cameras that render secondary colours very similarly, meaning that subtle colour variations can be lost.

The showreel created for IBC demonstrated this perfectly. There is a scene where there is a clothing rail, seen through a rain soaked window. It is possible to pick out individual colours, such as tans, greys and browns, the subtleties of which, in my opinion, would be lost on other cameras at this end of the market.

Every colour leaps out without garish contrasts, and they can be reined in where appropriate offering camera operators the most accurate and beautiful palette to play with.

But nightscapes are where, for me, the camera gets even better. Panasonic hits the mark when capturing accurate, saturated colours.

The showreel includes a scene in which sodium yellows from street lights sit alongside neon blues, and neon yellows. Even in this dark Los Angeles city scape, red cars and white cars are discernable from a helicopter mounted camera. The image is captured with a clarity that is unlike anything else too, it's possible to read the 'Staples Center' sign, in a pillar box red on the front of the building's dark frontage. In a nightscape, that is very impressive.

Unlike the old VariCam, better suited to nature documentaries and episodic programmes, the new VariCam 35 (which is more than capable for those applications) is aimed squarely at high end costume dramas, advertising and productions for cinematic release.

We listened to the response when we first showed the VariCam at NAB and tweaked the concept to offer the most up to date camera on the market.

We're very excited about VariCam and feel it can help us get back to a position of strength in high-end film making, where we have great heritage. Maybe our new offering can be as pivotal in the rise of 4K as the original VariCam was to the rise of HD just over a decade ago.

The first showreel for the VariCam is now available on Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/105522587


Tags: iss095 | rob tarrant | panasonic | varicam | colour palette | management | MOS sensor | Rob Tarrant
Submitted by Rob Tarrant

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Submitted by KitPlus Click to read or download PDF
Somewhere down the latency river
Ben Hawker Some people have been, understandably, getting fairly excited over the prospect of being able to deploy wireless cameras to capture and transmit 4K UHD. Manufacturers and developers are closing in on the ability to deliver systems that will offer up almost endless creative options at the highest – to date – possible picture quality.
Tags: iss129 | latency | 4k | wireless | rf | presteigne | Ben Hawker
Submitted by Ben Hawker Click to read or download PDF
State of the Nation
Dick Hobbs - new This morning I was eating my healthy muesli and idly listening to Radio 4 when someone came on who claimed to be from the Oxford University Computational Propaganda Project.
Tags: iss129 | fake news | facebook | tv globo | amagi | robot | ai | artificial intelligence | Dick Hobbs - new
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A new AEON in Wireless 4k
JP Delport Whatever production companies are doing right here, right now, today, with wireless HD production tools, they want to do right here, right now, today with 4K UHD. That’s great, but common wisdom would share a host of challenges around 4k UHD, not least, the fact that 4K UHD requires 8x the processing power to transmit, then demands additional horsepower (and bandwidth) to accommodate the data and controls, wireless or otherwise, and of course, when you ramp up processing power, you ramp up heat generation, which needs to be efficiently evacuated.
Tags: iss129 | 4k | uhd | wireless | domo | JP Delport
Submitted by JP Delport Click to read or download PDF
Empowering connectivity choice in the field
Yvonne Monterroso Reliability, flexibility and ease of use are the key requirements when covering the news and live events, especially when the location could be anywhere. Connectivity is one of the biggest concerns in the field when the pressure is on to capture a key event – if you cannot establish a reliable transmission path to send your video back to the broadcast studio, there is no story.
Tags: iss129 | dejero | satellite | streaming | ku-band | cloud | Yvonne Monterroso
Submitted by Yvonne Monterroso Click to read or download PDF
Canon C200: Tried and Tested
Ben Sherriff There are many reviews about this camera online and a heap of incredibly detailed comparison and behind the scenes footage that will really give you a full insight into what it can do. So first a disclaimer - this review is less detailed and based on my personal reading of what this camera means for Canon and all other camera manufacturers and us – the users of these technologies. So, what’s all the fuss about?
Tags: iss129 | spellbinder | canon | c200 | c100mkii | c300 | red | alexa | asx-r7 | Ben Sherriff
Submitted by Ben Sherriff Click to read or download PDF
2018: A Changing of the Guard
Peter Savage 2 The guys at KitPlus asked me if I could write about what I think is going to happen in 2018 – a feel, or mood, piece of what we might see this year. I’m not sure why they asked me but perhaps it’s because I’ve been around the industry a long time. Anyway, to look forward I think sometimes it’s best to look back as history has a habit of repeating itself.
Tags: iss129 | azule | finance | Peter Savage 2
Submitted by Peter Savage 2 Click to read or download PDF
Steadicam M-1 Volt: Tried and Tested
John E Fry Early in November some of us lucky Steadicam Operators from around the UK were invited to try out the new Tiffen M1 Volt, which is essentially an electronic motorized horizon assist unit attached to the gimbal of the latest Steadicam M1. Is it a good idea? As experienced Steadicam Operators, directors or producers, why would we be interested? Let’s investigate KitPlus fans!
Tags: iss129 | steadicam | volt | tiffen | m1 | John E Fry
Submitted by John E Fry Click to read or download PDF
Innovation in cameras moving to 4k
Tony Valentino For a number of reasons, wireless camera links needed time to migrate to 4K. However Broadcast Sports International, BSI, designs their own cameras and builds their own hardware and their transition to 4K is already complete.
Tags: iss129 | bsi | ref-cam | wireless | 4k | Tony Valentino
Submitted by Tony Valentino Click to read or download PDF
Epictech makes headway: A case study
Daniel Harker Barnes Founded in January 2014, EpicTech Media have been providing high end video production to companies and musicians across the U.K. for over three and a half years. When approached earlier this year by the band Bodkin Lane, we relished the challenge of producing a video of their charity concert, in aid of Headway (www.headway.org.uk), despite the challenging size of the venue. 
Tags: iss129 | polecam | epictech media | ptz | povcam | Daniel Harker Barnes
Submitted by Daniel Harker Barnes Click to read or download PDF
Playing with Pink Floyd
KitPlus For the founder of London-based Hangman, James Tonkin, this has indeed been a summer to remember. After sixteen years of working in the same suites, he designed and moved his team into a new future proofed facility in Kew Gardens created specifically for the manipulation and delivery of formats in up to 8K HDR.
Tags: iss129 | hangman | james tonkin | david gilmour | pink floyd | Sony F55 | Sony A7RII | RED Dragon | URSA Mini | blackmagic | DJI Drone | KitPlus
Submitted by KitPlus Click to read or download PDF
IP for everyone and 4k everywhere - that will be 2018
John Smith -new My first prediction for the coming year is that the use of IP to move broadcast content will increase dramatically.  Ultimately, it will become the commonplace, just as the use of IP has become part of our everyday, consumer lives.  Live sports are closely linked to this growth, as conversion of broadcast signals for transportation across established telecos networks enables content to be viewed in real-time, regardless if it’s in the next room or across the globe.
Tags: iss129 | medialinks | 4k | ip | vr | ai | John Smith -new
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Capturing the spirit of Mexico
Leonardo Dalessandri Filmmaker, director and editor, Leonardo Dalessandri first came to fame with his stunning video ‘Watchtower of Turkey,’ which with more than 200 million views, garnered the accolade of Best Vimeo Video in 2014. His vibrant images are combined with a unique editing style, incorporating slow motion, hyper lapses and invisible match cuts to produce genuinely breathtaking final results.
Tags: iss129 | watchtower of turkey | davinci resolve | blackmagic. corona | Leonardo Dalessandri
Submitted by Leonardo Dalessandri Click to read or download PDF
Panasonic GH5: Tried and Tested
Tim Bearder My journey as a filmmaker began with a select number of enthusiastic BBC reporters picked out and trained in the concept of Personal Digital Production by the American Video Journalist Michael Rosenblum.
Tags: iss129 | panasonic | gh5 | dslr | senheirser avx | c200 | Tim Bearder
Submitted by Tim Bearder Click to read or download PDF
Studio Invate - Case Studio
KitPlus Studio INVATE is a video company based in Bangkok, with an inventive reputation. Its public persona is everyday commercial work, such as producing highly creative videos, live broadcasts and commercials, for companies ranging from large industrial brands and retail businesses to educational institutions. But in between the studio and on-location work for clients, the company’s crew of 14 employees and a few dozen freelancers enjoy live-streaming video game tournaments.
Tags: iss129 | invate | newtek | tricaster 8000 | 3play | 4800 replay | blonde robot | KitPlus
Submitted by KitPlus Click to read or download PDF
Taking the lead in the HEVC and 4k revolution
Malcolm Harland There’s probably a good reason that BVE is held in late February — it offers you a few weeks to set your annual plans in place. Then, once you’ve decided on the opportunities you want to take advantage of and improvements you want to make, you have a chance to visit this massive exhibition to see the latest technological innovations that will help to bring your plans to fruition.
Tags: iss129 | garland | hevc | liveu | hc11000 | media excel | ntt | bws | lu600 | Malcolm Harland
Submitted by Malcolm Harland Click to read or download PDF
Class: Do we still need standards
Bruce Devlin - new On the 1st January 2018, I officially took on the post of SMPTE Standards Vice President. The role has responsibility for all of SMPTE’s standardisation activities and it fills me with equal measures of excitement and terror.
Tags: iss129 | smpte | st2110 | dpp | Bruce Devlin - new
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