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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Watch previous episodes of ON THE GO (& On the Couch) by clicking here. Visit our Vimeo and YouTube playlists, and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes!

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