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:
AJA Video Systems
AJA Video Systems Celebrates 25 Years of Professional Video Systems

AJA Video Systems Celebrates 25 Years of Professional Video Systems

John Abt started AJA Video Systems with his wife Darlene in 1993 to develop simple digital parallel to serial and serial to parallel converters. Many of AJA’s products at their core continue to bridge connectivity and simplify pro video workflows through video up, down, cross format conversion. A great read that you will find at Film and Digital Times.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview, Business
Film and Digital Times
TV & Movie Appreciation
VFX Legion Completes Effects for SUPERFLY Remake

VFX Legion Completes Effects for SUPERFLY Remake

Producer Joel Silver and Director X called on VFX Legion to tackle 100+ shots designed to amp up the impact of the raw violence in Sony’s reboot of the iconic ‘70’s film. The reboot of ‘Superfly’ puts a modern, stylish spin on the original 1972 film about a Harlem drug dealer trying to score one last deal before getting out of ‘the game.’ Set in present-day Atlanta, the Mecca of today’s popping music scene, the action is driven by a hip-hop soundtrack curated by Future. The city’s distinctive style is the backdrop for a new generation of affluent, extravagant drug kingpins that takes violence to the extreme.

Editorial, Feature, Project
VFX Legion
VR Filmwork: Immersive Begins to Emerge ... Slowly

VR Filmwork: Immersive Begins to Emerge ... Slowly

Want to see a storage person's heart skip a beat ... or two? Flutter even? Just mention VR and BAM!, they get real excited. Some people think we like 360/VR just because it devours so much storage capacity. Ok that's a good reason but still the good VR stuff is really really good. Not just scare your pants off good but good to experience, enjoy, be immersively entertained, informed.

Editorial, Feature
Andy Marken
Christina Rzewucki: Thor: Ragnarok, Tomb Raider & more

Christina Rzewucki: Thor: Ragnarok, Tomb Raider & more

Christina Rzewucki is a Texture and Look Development Artist at Rising Sun Pictures. A 2016 graduate of the Academy of Interactive Entertainment in Adelaide, she began her career with the game company Monkeystack. Since joining RSP in 2017, she has applied her diverse technical and creative skills to projects including the blockbusters Thor: Ragnarok and Tomb Raider. Next month, she will be teaching the texturing component of ‘Look Development and Lighting,’ a new second year elective course associated with UniSA’s Media Arts degree.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Risingsun Pictures
Cinematography
RBG's DP: Claudia Raschke, Ruth Ginsburg & Canon C300 Mk II

RBG's DP: Claudia Raschke, Ruth Ginsburg & Canon C300 Mk II

In his conversation with Claudia Raschke, the cinematographer of the acclaimed documentary "RBG" featuring Supreme Court Justice and folk hero Ruth Bader Ginsburg, DP Jimmy Matlosz speaks to her about the Canon C300, the challenges of shooting such a high-profile subject, and the influence of dance on her approach to documentary filmmaking. A truly remarkable conversation about multiple remarkable subjects.

Feature, People / Interview
Jimmy Matlosz
Business & Marketing
Media after Millennials: A Teen’s Research on Viewing Habits

Media after Millennials: A Teen’s Research on Viewing Habits

As a fifteen year old high school sophomore, Helen Ludé has her priorities in order: varsity soccer, Snapchat and Instagram, and presenting research on Post-Millennial Media and Cinema Consumption Habits at SMPTE’s Future of Cinema Conference. Spurred on by a dinner conversation with her family (including her father, RealD’s Peter Ludé), Helen conducted a survey of her peers to uncover the viewing habits of her generation, otherwise known as Gen Z. You're going to be surprised by what she found, and deeply impressed (and a little intimidated) by this enterprising young woman.

Feature, People / Interview
Kylee Peña
TV & Movie Appreciation
Star Wars: How Much Is Too Much?

Star Wars: How Much Is Too Much?

When Disney announced that they would be making a new Star Wars movie every year for at least 10 years I was both excited and a bit skeptical. In 2012 when Lucas sold his company to Disney for $4billion, he included his outlines of Episodes VII, VIII and IX. But Disney and Co. decided to discard these stories and start over, also discarding the extended universe of comics and books that millions of SW fans had grown to love. Adding JJ Abrams to the mix was icing on the cake for SW fans who have become critical of SW. But Lawrence Kasdan was the saving grace, who wrote a script for VII that the original actors could get behind. So, how much Star Wars is too much?

Review, Editorial, Feature
Mike Cohen
Art of the Edit
Editing Marvel's Black Panther: Debbie Berman ACE

Editing Marvel's Black Panther: Debbie Berman ACE

This is an epic tale spanning two decades, three countries, 12,000 miles -- and that's just the story of Debbie Berman, ACE, starting in reality TV and indie film in South Africa, making her way to Canada and then the US to edit Marvel's Spider-man: Homecoming and, most recently, Black Panther, already one of the most popular films of all time. In this exclusive interview with Creative COW Managing Editor Kylee Peña, Debbie talks about struggling toward US citizenship, a serendipitous meeting with an ambitious young director, helping to bring representation to the big screen and pride to her home country.

People / Interview
Kylee Peña
MORE
© 2018 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]