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:
Cinematography
How To Put Yourself In Any Movie, Part 2: Greenscreen

How To Put Yourself In Any Movie, Part 2: Greenscreen

Not every VFX problem can be solved with a plug-in alone! Visual effects start with the visuals! In part two of his series on inserting yourself into any movie, filmmaker and effects artist Cody Pyper covers how to set up lighting to match shots from Hollywood movies, and how to set your camera to the best settings for shooting green screen.


Cody Pyper
Apple Motion
Apple Motion for Motion Graphics: Chasing Dots

Apple Motion for Motion Graphics: Chasing Dots

Thanks to longtime VFX artist, editor, software developer, and business owner Simon Ubsdell, you've already seen far more than you imagined from Apple Motion for titling, animation, and visual effects. Now get ready for...motion graphics? That's right, motion graphics in Apple Motion! In this clever tutorial ready made for your epidemiological explainer videos, Simon once again leads a master class in the depths of Motion's toolsets, including gradients, paths, cameras, and more.


Simon Ubsdell
Film Festivals
Sundance Ignite Fellowship For Emerging Directors: 2020 Could Be Your Year After All

Sundance Ignite Fellowship For Emerging Directors: 2020 Could Be Your Year After All

Nobody knows how the rest of 2020 and beyond will shape filmmaking and film festivals, but there’s no need for young filmmakers to put their careers on hold. The Sundance Institute and Adobe are looking for 10 documentary or narrative directors between the ages of 18 and 25 who’ve completed a short between one and 15 minutes long any time since August 2018 to receive Sundance Ignite fellowships as part of a year-long program that includes mentorship, artist grants, internships and program opportunities, an annual membership to Adobe Creative Cloud, and a trip to the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.


Tim Wilson
Art of the Edit
Why Does An Edit Feel Right?  (According to Science)

Why Does An Edit Feel Right? (According to Science)

In this episode from the series The Science of Editing, Sven Pape of "This Guy Edits" and Dr. Karen Pearlman, author of "Cutting Rhythms: Intuitive Film Editing" discuss three cognitive concepts that go beyond continuity, including rhythm, subtext, and kinesthetic imagination. Packed with examples from Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, Alfred Hitchcock's Notorious, and many others, the Science of Editing will help even the most seasoned editors -- and viewers -- unlock new dimensions in the cinematic experience.


Sven Pape
Cinematography
The Invisible Man Cinematography, with Stefan Duscio, ACS: Go Creative Show

The Invisible Man Cinematography, with Stefan Duscio, ACS: Go Creative Show

Cinematographer Stefan Duscio, ACS and Go Creative Show host Ben Consoli discuss the technical issues behind filming an invisible character in Leigh Whannell's The Invisible Man, using a robotic camera for VFX shots and the value of unmotivated camera movement. They also discuss why Stefan still uses a light meter, filming with the Alexa Mini LF and how he prepared for an IMAX release.


Ben Consoli
Apple Motion
Apple Motion 5: Industrial Warehouse Title

Apple Motion 5: Industrial Warehouse Title

Join longtime VFX artist, editor, software developer, and business owner Simon Ubsdell for a title animation that's both epic and fun. "I couldn't think of a good name for this project," says Simon, "but it's a really dramatic look with plenty of interesting techniques to discover. We're in a warehouse, there's a neon sign hanging in mid air, it's reflected in puddles of water on the floor, and there are sparks. What more fun could you want?"


Simon Ubsdell
Adobe Photoshop
How To Put Yourself In Any Movie with Photoshop: Part 1

How To Put Yourself In Any Movie with Photoshop: Part 1

Filmmaker and artist Cody Pyper shows how to insert yourself or someone else into any movie using Adobe Photoshop. To finish the effect, you'll want to add some compositing, lighting, and perhaps some additional VFX finesse in Premiere Pro or After Effects, but here in Part 1 of his three-part series, Cody lays out how to conceive of the shot you want, how to set it up, and how to get started by building a clean background plate in Photoshop.


Cody Pyper
Adobe After Effects
Adobe After Effects Glitter Text - No Plug-ins Required!

Adobe After Effects Glitter Text - No Plug-ins Required!

Learn how to create a GLITTER TEXT EFFECT in Adobe After Effects without ANY plugins! VFX guru and filmmaker, Surfaced Studio's Tobias G, introduces you to CC Particle World, a powerful particle generator included in After Effects! You can use it to create all sorts of cool particle effects including explosions, smoke, fairy glitter, stars and much more. Along the way, Tobias brings the remarkable breadth of in-depth tips and tricks that will help you raise the level of your own AE expertise for every kind of creative task.


Tobias G
MORE
© 2020 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]