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 After Effects
Compositing Secrets Everyone Can Use: Pt. 3 - Alpha Channels

Compositing Secrets Everyone Can Use: Pt. 3 - Alpha Channels

When most people hear the words "alpha channels", they think "transparency", but that's not exactly accurate. The truth is more complex, and a quite bit more interesting! Join longtime VFX artist, editor, software developer, and business owner Simon Ubsdell for Part 3 of the best look behind the technology of compositing that you've ever seen, packed with practical advice for applying the secrets of alpha channels that's simply not possible before understanding these underlying principles. No matter which applications you're using for editing, compositing, or visual effects, this one is a must-see!

Tutorial
Simon Ubsdell
Boris FX
Mocha Pro 19 from BorisFX: Overview and New Features

Mocha Pro 19 from BorisFX: Overview and New Features

Mocha is an academy award winning planar tracker that is widely used in the VFX and Film Making industry. Mocha Pro 2019 adds some exciting new features to this powerful software tool, starting with a much-streamlined interface and GPU acceleration. Join VFX guru Tobias Gleissenberger of Surfaced Studio for a closer look!


Tobias Gleissenberger
Adobe After Effects
Compositing Secrets Everyone Can Use 2: Advanced Blend Modes

Compositing Secrets Everyone Can Use 2: Advanced Blend Modes

Whether you're a full-time compositor and VFX artist, an editor working in one of the many NLEs that supports Blend Modes (including Adobe Premiere, Apple FCP and FCPX, Avid Media Composer, DaVinci Rsolve, and VEGAS Pro), or whether you just want the additional graphics power that comes with insight into the secret world of pixels, this is the tutorial for you! Join longtime VFX artist, editor, software developer, and business owner Simon Ubsdell for Part 2 of the best look behind the technology of blend modes that you've ever seen, with some practical steps you can start taking today to make your work look better than ever.

Tutorial
Simon Ubsdell
Cinematography
GoPro HERO7 First Look

GoPro HERO7 First Look

The new GoPro HERO7 can do WHAT? Join Steven John Irby, co-owner and director of Street Dreams Magazine, for a look at the most advanced GoPro yet: HyperSmooth Stabilization, TimeWarp Video, live streaming, voice control, waterproof, and much more.


Adorama TV
Cinematography
Five Cinematic Drone Shots For You To Master

Five Cinematic Drone Shots For You To Master

If you tend to put your drone up in the air and then struggle with what to do next, or if you just randomly shoot around filling up your memory card, then this tutorial is for you. Here are 5 cinematic drone shots that, with a little practice, will take your aerial cinematography to the next level.

Tutorial
Adorama TV
Studio Design
Video, Audio, VFX, & Finishing: The Hybrid Suite Revealed!

Video, Audio, VFX, & Finishing: The Hybrid Suite Revealed!

Marco Solorio of OneRiver Media takes us into his newly built suite, which he refers to as the “hybrid suite”, combing editorial, color grading, and audio mixing in one harmonious environment. Installation affordability is this suite's undertone where today's industries are in tight financial climates. With increasing demand for clients wanting “all-in-one” services, building such a suite has proven more important today than ever before. Tips on building your own workspace bookends this in-depth article.

Feature
Marco Solorio
Blackmagic Design Announces Advanced New Blackmagic RAW Codec

Blackmagic Design Announces Advanced New Blackmagic RAW Codec

Blackmagic Design has introduced the public beta of Blackmagic RAW, a new and very modern codec that combines the quality and benefits of RAW with the ease of use, speed and file sizes of traditional video formats. Blackmagic RAW is a more intelligent format that gives customers stunning images, incredible performance, cross platform support and a free developer SDK.


Creative COW
Adobe After Effects
Compositing Secrets Everyone Can Use: Pt. 1 - Blend Modes

Compositing Secrets Everyone Can Use: Pt. 1 - Blend Modes

Join longtime VFX artist, editor, software developer, and business owner Simon Ubsdell for the best look behind the technology of blend modes that you've ever seen. This isn't just for graphics and VFX, but for video editors too -- anyone who puts anything together, and wants to learn more about HOW images combine at the most basic level, in a way that applies to every application you might use, whether Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple FCPX, Avid Media Composer, DaVinci Resolve, VEGAS Pro, and yes, graphics and VFX programs like After Effects, Motion, Fusion, Nuke, Scratch, and many more.

Tutorial
Simon Ubsdell
MORE
© 2018 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]