Panasonic team up with Codex to add uncompressed 4K RAW 120 FPS with HDR recording to its leading cinematography camera, the VariCam Pure. Using Codex’s integrated camera package (with no cables), the VariCam Pure outputs RAW files to the Codex Capture Drives, which are solid state recording media of up to 2TB of storage and with a bandwith of 20Gb/s. The 4K recording is offered in uncompressed RAW, at up to 120 FPS. With its 14+ stops of dynamic range in HDR and with V-LOG, the VariCam Pure is used for leading television drama and cinematography capture, offering a modular configuration at a smaller size than the original VariCam setup even when the Codex is attached. The dual base ISO remains at 800/5000. Using the Codex Production Suite, file handling and workflow are simplified to deliver not just complete dailies, but also ProRes and other deliverable files. We’ll visit Panasonic at IBC. Let us know in the comments what you think of the latest development.Read more
Earlier today the new Panasonic VariCam LT was introduced to the world. A single-operator cinema camera that brings the quality of Panasonic’s high-end VariCam 35 (introduced last year) into a more compact and affordable package. At the release event, we had a chance to take a closer look at the new camera and share some exclusive footage from German cinematographer Matthias Bolliger, shot right here at the event. If you want to know exactly what the new Panasonic VariCam LT brings to the table regarding specs, then you should check out this article where I described the technical details. Panasonic VariCam LT Hands-On We had a chance to get our hands on the VariCam LT and see how the camera feels on the shoulder. As each shooter has different preferences in terms of a rig ergonomics, it’s hard to generalize whether a camera offers a design that works for everyone and you should always try a camera yourself. During the brief time I had with the Panasonic VariCam LT, it was easy to see that they have thought about a lot of the small things that a single-operator shooter would be concerned with. For example, the comfortable shoulder plate can be moved forwards and backward to balance the camera correctly, which is not possible on the FS7. The menu can be moved to the viewfinder, much like on the Arri AMIRA and there are dedicated menu controls on the left-hand side which can be easily accessed blindly. Unlike other “ergonomic” cameras, it seems like after a small learning curve the LT could become a tool that lets you be fast. That said, it looked like the camera booted just as slowly as the VariCam 35 which makes you wait 40 seconds until it’s ready to shoot. The camera was well balanced, and everything felt right, except maybe the EVF mount that couldn’t be positioned correctly for me as it didn’t extend far enough to the left. 3rd party EVF’s can be used, as well as Panasonic’s OLED EVF that they had on the camera. Quality Looking at the footage by cinematographer Matthias Bolliger which he kindly shared with us (the video above—watch it in 4K through Vimeo!) I got the impression that the quality is very similar if not identical to what you would get from the more expensive VariCam 35. Panasonic’s press material also suggests that the sensor and processing are mostly identical and that the main difference between the two cameras lies in the processing power and format options. If you look at the test shots, you can see the beautiful highlight roll off. It is very soft and organic and just like on the VariCam 35 it seems the color reproduction, quality, and dynamic range are preserved up and down the ISO range, which is critical when consistency and professional end results are required—an aspect that is rarely seen on cinema cameras these days. The camera can switch from native ISO 800 to native ISO 5000. It seems as though low-light shots give you a very nice image quality, and while there is some omnipresent noise, the noise difference between 800 and 5000 is minimal according to Bolliger. This makes it an interesting camera for him, that can be used for normal shooting scenarios as well as low-light situations often encountered in documentary productions. The camera also shoots slow motion at up to 240 frames per second in 2K which is a very nice add-on that, for example, the similarly priced Canon C300 Mark II doesn’t offer. In comparison to the VariCam 35 however, the LT achieves 240fps with a 2K center-crop and with a lower bitrate “LT” codec. Many thanks again to cinematographer Matthias Bolliger for sharing his first shots not only with the press at the release of the VariCam LT but also our audience at cinema5D. Make sure to check out Matthias Bolliger’s website at matthias-bolliger.de More info about the VariCam LT in this article and at panasonic.co.ukRead more
Convergent Design must have been paying attention with regards to public opinion of their update policy. Today, they’ve announced a major firmware update for their whole line of monitors/recorders: The Odyssey 7Q / 7Q+ as well as the Apollo. Alright, that’s a lot of nerdy tech talk in the headline. Let’s dive straight in: The so-called 2016.01 update brings numerous new and unique features to all three monitors/recorders. First of all, it allows dual 4K or UltraHD recording with the Apollo. The 7Q and 7Q+ need the (paid) Apollo upgrade to support that feature. As both the Apollo and the Odyssey 7Q+ are equipped with 6G SDI inputs on the hardware side, it’s now possible to use the HDMI connector as a 4K input, as well as the SDI A and SDI B connectors as a single 6G input for 4K or UltraHD Video. For example, you could feed the recorder with one of your 4K streams over HDMI while connecting the second source over the SDI A input. The 6G SDI interface is supported by some Blackmagic Design cameras, like the URSA mini. If you are using the Odyssey 7Q, you still can record dual 4K or UltraHD, but as the 7Q only sports 3G SDI inputs, you will need to use a dual link 3G SDI connection. Use SDI A and SDI B for your first source of 4K video and the SDI C and SDI D Inputs for your second source. In both cases, the available recording formats are 23.98 fps, 24 fps, 25 fps, 29.97 fps or 30 fps. If you aren’t a proud owner of the Apollo or one of the Apollo upgrades for the Odyssey range of recorders, there is still something to announce! With the new firmware update, the 7Q and 7Q+ recorders are now capable of recording a single stream of 4K video @ 50fps / 59.94 fps / 60 fps over quad-link SDI. Again, there is no need for an Apollo or the Apollo upgrade for the other recorders to enable this new feature. Nice! The only thing is, you’ll need a camera that supports video output over quad-link 3G SDI, such as the Sony F55 or the Panasonic Varicam35 (you are familiar with the menu already, am I right?). Next up, the Apollo and Odyssey 7Q/7Q+ with Apollo upgrade are now capable of recording four 1080p streams @ 50 fps / 60fps at the same time. Also, the developers tweaked some requested features such as switching between the different streams while recording and they improved the workflow while in ‘live switch’ mode, as well. Now, the previous program channel becomes the preview channel automatically, so you just need one tap to switch between two often used streams. Check the video below for all the details regarding the 2016.01 Odyssey and Apollo firmware update. It’s about to be released, check the convergent design’s upgrade site to download. That’s a lot of stuff for a free update, and it’s really nice to see how Convergent Design is improving their range of monitors/recorders. Maybe Atomos has become a role model for that kind of policy? As I covered the recent price drop for the Odyssey 7Q+, I mentioned the different approaches of both companies regarding firmware updates. With this update, convergent design might have changed their mind a bit which would be great for their customers. Still, they offer paid stuff like the Apollo upgrade or the RAW bundle upgrade but with this firmware feature boost, there is a better balance between paid and free upgrades, I think. EDIT: Convergent Design just contacted us in order to clarify their update strategy. They are pointing out that they have delivered several firmware updates over the past years, all free of charge. Every update included new or improved functions for their Odyssey line of monitors/recorders. Some of the added features were responses to requested features, some contained brand new functionalities. I appreciate the heads up and I apologize for any confusion. So, the race is on! What do you think the next move from Atomos headquarters should be?Read more
Panasonic has recently launched a new web-based Varicam35 simulator so you can learn its functions and operations ahead of any hands-on time with the camera. The simulator is available in three versions: VariCam 35 4K cinema camera/recorder, VariCam 35 with Codex V-RAW recorder, or VariCam HS high-speed camera/recorder. VariCam35: Practice Makes Perfect You can access the simulators for all three camera configurations here: http://pro-av.panasonic.net/en/varicam/vcs/index.html From the outset, you’d be forgiven for mistaking the Varicam35 for an Arri Alexa. After all, it does bear a striking resemblance to it—in how your key camera settings and status information are presented to you, as well as the layout of the controls. This is certainly not a criticism—the fact of the matter is that it works very well and appears completely intuitive to anyone familiar with the Alexa, which will be a large percentage of DPs using the Varicam35. If you take the time to dig a little deeper into the camera menu settings you’ll find that the simulator is more than skin deep, you can see exactly what settings you can change, and exactly what presets are present. There’s nothing like getting hands on with a camera. In my experience the first thing I gravitate towards on a brand new camera is the menu system, it’s the window to the heart and soul of the camera, it speaks of possibilities and limitations… everything comes out. I’ve often wondered why more manufacturers don’t make simulators like this. Panasonic have bared all in this simulator and it’s clear that they have nothing to hide. In fact, they have a lot to be proud of with the Varicam35, as it already appears to be a very capable camera system. That leaves just one question: why not take it for a test drive yourself? It is well worth a go!Read more
It has been almost a year to the date since Panasonic announced its 4K Varicam, and now first footage which was shot in different environments and lighting conditions has been unveiled by Panasonic. Priced in the same league as Arri’s ALEXA (around $60k) it will be interesting to see how the camera will be accepted in this very competitive market. The Cinema5D crew will be at IBC and Photokina to bring you the latest news from both show floors – let’s see if there will be an actual 4K Varicam product being introduced by Panasonic. Source: dslrnewsshooter.com Varicam 35: First Look from Varicam on Vimeo.Read more
In our second episode of ON THE COUCH, I had our good friends Philip Bloom plus Ryan Koo and Joe Marine from NoFilmSchool on the show. Obviously, we talked for 45 minutes about the big news at NAB 2014: New cameras from many new manufacturers, including Sony with the A7s 4K mirrorless compact camera, Blackmagic Design with their URSA and Studio Cameras, AJA with their CION camera, JVC with their new Super35mm camera offerings and Panasonic with the Varicam 35. Part of our camera talk was Blackmagic’s decision to announce even more cameras before they were able to ship many of the existing Blackmagic 4k orders, or upgrade their existing cameras with essential firmware upgrades that would enable them to format cards within the camera, for example – all of which upset a lot of owners, quite understandably.Read more
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