LIBRARY: Tutorials Reviews Interviews Editorials Features Business Authors RSS Feed

HD Expo's Panasonic VariCam 'VariCamp'

COW Library : Panasonic VariCam : James Kelty : HD Expo's Panasonic VariCam 'VariCamp'
HD Expo's Panasonic VariCam 'VariCamp'
A Creative COW Report On HD Expo's Panasonic VariCam 'VariCamp'

James Kelty

James Kelty
James Kelty & Associates, Cambria, California USA

©2004 by CreativeCow.net. All rights are reserved.


Article Focus:
James Kelty has always considered himself more of a writer-director than an editor or cinematographer. But in today's ever-changing production world, like many independent producers working on project videos and/or documentaries, Jim is quickly becoming a skilled editor -- using a CinéWave system armed with Final Cut Pro. Recently, after a long career shooting film, he has begun using video in some of his projects. As part of this move, he attended HD Expo's "VariCamp" in Hollywood in January, 2004, where Jim began his exploration of High Definition using Panasonic's VariCam. Jim concludes that it offers new options to producer-directors and he found HD to have "the types of innovations that kept making me think hi-def is selling itself short through the constant comparisons to film, and that the technology is essentially creating new visual language and production capability all its own." Here is his report...




As a small project producer who’s been on the bleeding edge of technological change so long my accountant refers to me as “O Negative,” it was with a heavy dose of skepticism that I arrived at HD Expo / Production Group’s hi-def “Varicamp” in Hollywood in January, with my I-V cart in tow.

The Varicamp is a three-day hands on workshop where participants get to kick the tires on Panasonic’s DVCPro HD camera, nicknamed the Varicam because of the variable frame rate wizardry it places in the hands of the videographer.





“No Rules, Just Tools”
Panasonic’s goal in pushing variable frame rates was to achieve film-like motion effects (over cranking and under cranking in film speak), and the camera records from 4 frames to 60 frames per second. When used in conjunction with a digital field recording unit called an FRC or “frame rate converter,” the motion effects seemed to my eyes to go where no film camera has gone before. Picture the spinning spokes of a bicycle wheel where you dial in the precise speed and level of motion blur desired.


Full Control
Panasonic also went after film’s legendary color richness and wide contrast latitudes through the creation of, and I quote the manual, “an exclusive gamma curve for reproducing film tones by means of the CCDs.” The modes to choose on the top menu level are “Film Rec” or “Video Rec,” corresponding to the basic intention of the program, dramatic film style or ENG video style. As for the specific menus choices, that was a mine field that I, a mere producer, will never enter, but I did grasp the essence of the revolution: personalized setups that can be copied to removable media, allowing cameras for multi-cam shoots to be prepped identically. Think of shooters on the same project, one in Greenland emailing his settings to the other in Sydney.

Another advantage to this technology, as opposed to film, is of course the instant gratification that all video enjoys. Essentially, scenes are lit and composed to the field monitor in a “what you see is what you’re going to get” manner.





Choose Your Battles
These were the types of innovations that kept making me think hi-def is selling itself short through the constant comparisons to film, and that the technology is essentially creating new visual language and production capability all its own.

But it was a battle fought to the bitter end. On the final day of the workshop, campers attended sessions at the Post Group, where hi-def was thrown in the ring with 35mm in a 20-minute program produced several years ago, a contest apparently won by film in the areas of abililty to handle exposure latitudes and color depth.


The Bottom Line
The choice for hi-def over film, of course, isn’t purely an aesthetic one. It’s about money too. Clearly, hi-def is the choice if one looks at stock and developing costs. On the other hand, crew requirements for hi-def are not insignificant, set-up times also. And just try talking English to a DIT sometime (digital imaging technician). Shooting hi-def without one of these guys to pull it all together is like the Wizard of Oz with no wizard. Hey - he wasn’t a real wizard though, come to think of it.

Still, just as I learned editing after years of working with the same editor who moved to another part of the world altogether, I found myself thinking that there were many areas where Panasonic's pre-sets and menu items would be useful to an independent producer like me but with the aid of a digital imaging technician the Panasonic VariCam can do many things that I've never done in all the years I've been using film.


###


For more info about HD Expo's VariCamp please visit: http://www.hdexpo.net/workshops/index.html

To learn more about Jim Kelty’s work or to contact him, visit www.keltyassoc.com
or email him directly at jkelt@charter.net.

Jim Kelty can also be found as a host in Creative Cow's Indie Film & Documentaries forum



James Kelty, a writer/producer in Cambria, California, does not consider himself a technical person. "He's a storyteller, someone very gifted in finding the essence of the humanity in the stories he communicates," says longtime friend and Creative Cow co-founder, Ron Lindeboom. "He also has a great eye for catching the shot and with these skills, he brings his stories to life. It's one of the reasons that he's been able to enlist the help of some rather big names in some of his productions." But when the editor with whom he had worked for years moved and began working in another city, Jim realized that he better learn some of the technical side if he wanted to stay competitive among clients aware of dropping technology prices. So, after landing on CinéWave with Final Cut Pro as his system of choice, he has begun exploring camera choices and the rapidly expanding world of High Definition video -- this after spending years in the world of film.



Related Articles / Tutorials:
Panasonic VariCam
The Panasonic AG-AC160

The Panasonic AG-AC160

Panasonic has several camcorders with similar build, but different underlying core technologies -- specifically, the AC160/130 and the HPX250. The key difference between them, respectively, is 4:2:0 MP4 GOP at 1920x1080 resolution and AVCCAM recording as high at 21Mbps, versus 10-bit, 4:2:2 independent-frame, 1920 x 1080 resolution AVC-Intra 100 recording. For those who find AVCHD sufficient, but want a full-on camcorder solution without additional workarounds needed compared to more consumer cameras, the AC160 is meant to fit in your hand.

Review
Anthony Burokas
Panasonic VariCam
Leo Ticheli discusses the HD VariCam from Panasonic

Leo Ticheli discusses the HD VariCam from Panasonic

Panasonic's VariCam HD camera is one of the most popular HD units in use today, being used in major and independent films, commercials, corporate and music videos and many other projects. In this article, Creative Cow's Leo Ticheli discusses how the VariCam is used at his company, Leo Ticheli Productions (LTP). LTP bought VariCam back in 2001 and today uses the VariCam in projects that are developed at the two company offices located in Birmingham, Alabama and Atlanta, Georgia.Leo Ticheli, (host of Creative Cow's VariCam forum), discusses his purchase reasons, the image quality, the posting process and some of the projects that the VariCam has been used on. He gives his assessment of the camera, as well as the VariCam's aptness for a broad range of assignments.

Review, People / Interview
Leo Ticheli
Recent Articles / Tutorials:
Adobe Premiere Pro
Adobe Premiere Pro: Edit Faster with Overlay Editing

Adobe Premiere Pro: Edit Faster with Overlay Editing

Editor, VFX artist, post-house owner, and plug-in developer Simon Ubsdell shows you how to edit faster and more easily using the very useful but not often known-about Overlay edit function in Premiere Pro. This Quick Tip tutorial also offers tips on grouping.

Tutorial
Simon Ubsdell
Art of the Edit
Always Be Editing: Sculptors & Bricklayers Revisited

Always Be Editing: Sculptors & Bricklayers Revisited

Do you edit like a sculptor, or like a bricklayer? It seems a simple enough question, but as longtime editor, post house owner, and VFX software developer Simon Ubsdell shows, the implications for how this affects the way you edit can be profound. His advice, regardless of where you land on the spectrum? Always be editing.


Simon Ubsdell
Audio Professionals
Hearing The Handmaid's Tale: Jane Tattersall's Sound Career

Hearing The Handmaid's Tale: Jane Tattersall's Sound Career

With Emmy, BAFTA, Motion Picture Sound Editors Golden Reel, Canadian Screen, and Directors Guild of Canada Awards among many more, Jane Tattersall shares insights into a career in sound editing entering its fourth decade with two young women just beginning their own careers in the field. Their conversation begins with Jane's work on the Hulu hit series, The Handmaid's Tale.

Feature, People / Interview
Kylee Peña
Art of the Edit
Indie Film Sound Editing: A This Guy Edits Tutorial

Indie Film Sound Editing: A This Guy Edits Tutorial

ACE Award-nominated picture editor Sven Pape ("This Guy Edits") speaks with Sundance Award-winning sound editor Ugo Derouard on The 5 Five Steps of Audio Post Production: Sound Editing, Spotting, Dialog Editing, Sound Design, and Sound Mixing, paying special attention to the specific needs of, and techniques that can work best for, independent filmmakers.

Tutorial
Sven Pape
Adobe After Effects
Stabilize 360 Video with Mocha VR

Stabilize 360 Video with Mocha VR

In this intermediate tutorial, Mocha Product Manager Martin Brennand takes you through smoothing the horizon in a Samsung Gear 360 shot using the Reorient Module in Mocha VR. Jittery 360 video footage can be made more watchable by stabilizing with Mocha’s planar tracking tools. The tutorial is done via the Adobe After Effects plug-in, but the techniques apply to all versions of Mocha VR.

Tutorial
Imagineer Systems
Cinematography
DJI Mavic Pro In Depth Review - The Best 4K Drone?

DJI Mavic Pro In Depth Review - The Best 4K Drone?

VFX guru Tobias Gleissenberger was so delighted with the DJI Mavic Pro 4K drone that he bought (yes, bought) that he was inspired to take a break from making tutorials to create an in-depth review of this compact, lightweight, consumer drone offering terrific value. No, it's not a platform for your digital cinema camera, but if you're looking for a fast, fun, integrated 4K camera drone packed with features, the Mavic Pro might be for you. This review is delivered Surfaced Studio-style, with wit, high energy, and details you won't find anywhere else.

Review
Tobias Gleissenberger
Panasonic Cameras
The Panasonic EVA1: Questions Answered!

The Panasonic EVA1: Questions Answered!

Anticipation that Panasonic began building for their "mystery camera" at April's NAB Show 2017 was paid off at June's Cine Gear Expo 2017 in Hollywood, as Panasonic finally unveiled their AU-EVA1 cinema camera. Compact, lightweight, equipped with a newly designed 5.7K Super 35 sensor, and positioned between the Panasonic Lumix GH5 4K mirrorless camera and the VariCam LT 4K cinema camera, the AU-EVA1 is tailor-made for handheld shooting, but also well suited for documentaries, commercials, and music videos. Panasonic Cinema Product Manager, Mitch Gross has provided some answers to early questions about the EVA1’s target audience, shooting applications, Dual Native ISO, the 5.7K sensor, and more.


COW News
Art of the Edit
TV Workflow Supervisor Kylee Peña: The Benefits of Pressure

TV Workflow Supervisor Kylee Peña: The Benefits of Pressure

TV workflow supervisor Kylee Peña (Jane the Virgin, Colony) visits Adobe's "Make It" talk show to chat with host Jason Levine about the evolution of motion picture workflows, from the days of film and tape to our modern digital world of crazy-high shooting ratios and constantly evolving technology. She also expounds on the upside to creative constraints and tight deadlines. And don’t miss the lightning round!!!

Feature, People / Interview
Cow News
MORE
© 2017 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]