William Wages, ASC – Is the Panasonic Varicam LT a Game-Changer? – ON THE GO – Episode 81

In this episode of cinema5D ON THE GO, we chat to William Wages ASC about his experiences with the Panasonic Varicam LT.

William Wages ASC is a respected cinematographer, with experience across a variety of genres, from features to television, including the Spielberg-produced mini-series Into The West. He has won three ASC awards and been nominated for six additional ASC awards and two Emmy awards.

William Wages, ASC

William has recently started using the Panasonic Varicam LT, after having tested against a range of other high-end cinema cameras. In his opinion, the advantages of this camera such as the dual native ISO and extended dynamic range have changed the way he works. Having already shot two TV series and a feature with the camera, he has no intention of returning to the ALEXA any time soon. (Check out our initial commentary of the camera’s release HERE, and the tech-spec rundown HERE). 

William explains one of the biggest features of the Panasonic Varicam LT in-depth, namely the dual native ISO. In essence, this offers two ISO settings at which the camera has the least amount of noise: 800 and 5000 ISO. Start increasing the ISO from 800 and you will of course start to see noise. Once you get to 5000 ISO, however, the second native ISO setting kicks in, giving you again the least amount of noise, from which point you can once again increase the ISO.

Varicam LT

Another big feature is the camera’s extended dynamic range, which William considers reaches over 16 stops. Both this and the flexibility in ISO settings have resulted in a complete change in William’s lighting package. He goes in depth into his current lighting setup, and how a more sensitive camera can reduce the cost of lighting rentals.

Stay tuned for the next part of our chat with William Wages, ASC, where we discuss how modern cinema cameras compare to film, and the many uses of a Panasonic GH4 in a high-end production.

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Daniel Lindegren Reply
Daniel Lindegren December 26, 2017

Global or rolling shutter?

Lâm Tran Reply
Lâm Tran December 26, 2017

At that caliber and nearly a decade later of 5DII, it’s gotta be global shutter – just a bet!

Tom Trainor Reply
Tom Trainor December 27, 2017

It’s got a rolling shutter.

Nino Leitner Reply
Nino Leitner December 27, 2017

It’s a rolling shutter, but a hardly noticeable one.

Robert Halliday Jr. Reply
Robert Halliday Jr. December 26, 2017

You have to reboot the camera everytime you change lenses or frame rate. So remember that when you’re trying to run n gun.

Reply
Michael Lee December 26, 2017

I use my LT for run gun all the time and only have to reboot for codec and frame rate changes above 120fps. And I have never rebooted for a lens change unless you mean switching the mount from EF to PL.

Tom Trainor Reply
Tom Trainor December 27, 2017

None of that is true. It reboots when you switch codec.

Robert Halliday Jr. Reply
Robert Halliday Jr. December 27, 2017

Tom Trainor you’re not true.

Tom Trainor Reply
Tom Trainor December 27, 2017

It’s true. I’m not true. But my experience with the Varicam LT sure is.

Robert Halliday Jr. Reply
Robert Halliday Jr. December 27, 2017

=p Must be a new firmware since everyone that ever used it before complained and swore they would never suggest this camera on any shoot ever again.

James Bridges Reply
James Bridges December 26, 2017

Bill Wages an Atlanta resident and one of the best guys you’ll find. He is always available for a question…terrific post

Nino Leitner Reply
Nino Leitner December 27, 2017

Thanks James, I couldn’t agree more! Great fella. It was an inspiring drive with him.

Rajiv Panchal Reply
Rajiv Panchal December 27, 2017

I love cinematography & photography

Nino Leitner Reply
Nino Leitner December 27, 2017

Then you’ve found the right place on the web.