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Williams Wages, ASC shoots

Sun Records Illuminating Darkness For

Frontier Shooting Netflix’s

Master of None & Love


Contents Issue #1 / Spring 2017

Only Temporary p.18 Master of None p.4 Love p.6

Star p.11 The Driver p.20

Sun Records p.8 Frontier p.12

Disney Broadway Hits p.22

Legacy: Bob Hurley p.24 2

Welcome Letter I’d like to welcome you to the premiere issue of Shot on VariCam. The purpose of this digital publication is to highlight the creative work filmmakers have produced with Panasonic VariCam digital cinema cameras. Our first VariCam cinema camera, the VariCam 35, was launched in 2014 and cinematographers were immediately impressed by its low light capability, efficient workflow, and color accuracy. In 2016, we debuted the VariCam LT, which contains the same sensor as the VariCam 35 but with significant reductions in size, weight and affordability. Our latest cinema camera, the VariCam Pure, was announced at IBC 2016 and was co-developed with Codex. The VariCam Pure captures uncompressed 4K RAW files to a new Codex V-RAW 2.0 recorder, streamlining the camera system for high-end productions with reduced camera size and weight requirements. For our first issue, we profile three successful Netflix series – Frontier, Master of None, and Love, which were all shot with the VariCam 35. Set in the late 1700s, Frontier DP David Herrington utilized the VariCam’s groundbreaking native 5,000 ISO to make lowlight scenes appear as if they were lit by candlelight. Cinematographer William Wages, ASC has shot several VariCam projects and we showcase his work on CMT’s hit new series, Sun Records, which profiles the rise of musicians Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis. According to Wages, the VariCam enabled the production to be more efficient because he wasn’t working with tremendous amounts of light.

VariCam is not only being used on narrative projects but also for live event and documentary work. Capitalizing on the VariCam LT’s Super 35mm-sized sensor, broadcast video director Jay Hatcher created a cinematic look for a stage production of Disney’s Broadway Hits at The Royal Albert Hall. For Showtime’s Legacy: Bob Hurley, director Louis Krubich created stylized, runand-gun 4K documentary series on a legendary high school basketball coach. We also report on new VariCam firmware upgrades that include expanded ProRes codecs, HD-SDI monitor output improvements, and a new remote control app that allows you to control a VariCam from any iOS phone, tablet, or computer. Hollywood’s digital transformation continues in both acquisition and distribution. Streaming services, led by Netflix and Amazon, as well as mobile devices, have enabled producers the ability to distribute content to a global audience 24/7. Panasonic’s VariCam lineup is well purposed to meet the challenges of all types of productions – highend blockbusters, low budget indie films, live events, and documentaries. Our goal at Panasonic is to communicate and collaborate directly with the industry’s best rental houses, cinematographers, producers, and directors to give them the tools they need to produce exceptional content for generations to come.

Carter Hoskins

Director Broadcast/Cinema/Professional Video Systems

Modern Romance DP Mark Schwartzbard Shoots Netflix’s Master of None and Love with VariCam 35s {photos courtesy of Netflix}

Two of the best television shows that focus on relationships happen to be on the same platform – Netflix. Created by comedian Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang, Master of None tells the story of Dev, a 30-year-old actor who attempts to balance his career and love life in New York City. Love, created by Judd Apatow (Trainwreck, This Is 40), Paul Rust, and Lesley Arfin, explores an intense relationship between two Angelenos, Mickey (Gillian Jacobs) and Gus (Paul Rust). Not only do the ½ hour comedy series share the same distributor, but also the same cinematographer – Mark Schwartzbard (Max, Dean). Schwartzbard recently shot the second season of Love and both seasons of Master of None with VariCam 35 cinema cameras. After attending Ithaca College, Schwartzbard worked as a camera assistant and operator in New York on movies like Borat, Bruno, and Religulous – all while shooting indie features. He got involved with Master of None through producer Igor Srubshchik, whom he had worked with previously, as well as pilot director/ producer James Ponsoldt.


That ‘70s Influence



During prep, Schwartzbard worked closely with Ponsoldt and producers Ansari and Alan Yang. According to Schwartzbard, the term “cinematic” was used a lot and they spent a lot of time talking about Hal Ashby and Robert Altman movies like Shampoo and The Long Goodbye. “It’s a half hour comedy and the style of a lot of current comedies is to be very cutty,” explains Schwartzbard. “[Ansari and Yang] were very interested in finding ways to linger in scenes and do much longer takes. We tried to come up with a style that allowed us to stage shots and create scenes that developed visually over time so we would not get tired of looking at them. Also, it didn’t necessitate a lot of cutting so the actors could really perform.” Master of None was captured in UHD (3840×2160) AVC Intra 444 files at 23.98-fps. Although the VariCam 35 was new at the time of season 1, Schwartzbard was a fan of the original VariCam AJ-HDC27 for ENG-style productions. “We needed a camera that had an aesthetic softness we were looking for in terms of color and tonality,” says Schwartzbard. “We also needed a camera that was very tolerant of the variety of skin tones we had in our cast.” Depending on the script or individual scene, Schwartzbard didn’t want the show to look overlit, so he tried to light as little as possible. A lot of the show is shot in dimly lit restaurants and bars so shooting at higher ISOs made it much easier. “We tried to find locations that lent themselves to easy shooting and let us take advantage of things that were already in place instead of building it from scratch,” says Schwartzbard. “We had a lot of grip rigging because we had to black out a lot of places, but by and large we didn’t do any electric rigging. We would typically go into restaurants and turn on the lights that were there, and kind of fill in what we needed to. We felt that gave us a more realistic look that was more true to the space we were working in.” In terms of lighting tools, Schwartzbard used a lot of China balls and small booklights. He wanted lights that were extremely soft and controllable with low outputs. One of his go-to lights was designed by his gaffer, Mark Schwentner. “Mark built these lights in which he took thin wooden boxes with LED tape around the perimeter shining into the center and then unbleached muslin stretched over the front of it,” explains Schwartzbard. “It creates this extremely soft lightbox that we could control really well.” Because of the ‘70s influence, Schwartzbard shot the series using older zoom lenses, including the Cooke 18-100 T3 and the Angenieux HR 25-250 T3.5. “I love the Cooke 18-100. I think it’s a soft, flattering, and beautiful lens,” reveals Schwartzbard. “For Season One, we had the Cooke on the A-camera and the HR on the B camera and we would typically be at a T4.”

LA story Season 2 of Love was also shot by Schwartzbard in UHD on the VariCam 35. (Season 1 was shot by Tim Suhrstedt, ASC on RED cameras.) One big difference between Love and Master of None was that Love had a larger crew so Schwartzbard had a larger lighting package. “Master of None was all about old lenses and filtering to create a soft, glowy and romantic vision of New York,” reveals Schwartzbard. “Love is a little more naturalistic and it’s LA, which has a different kind of feel than New York in the quality of light you’re looking for.” For Love, Schwartzbard used Primo zooms and older Panavision Super Speed Z-series primes. Because of his experience on Master of None, Schwartzbard was more comfortable shooting night exteriors in available light and dialed back on the use of condors. One interesting thing he’s discovered in shooting with VariCam is that night exteriors used to be difficult for the electric department but with the ability to shoot in extreme low light settings, it’s now easier for them but more work for the grip department. “You can base your work so much off the existing light that you find you’re getting boom pole shadows off the porchlight a block away that no one can see with their eye but just off the monitor,” he says. “Suddenly the grips are having to flag everything off.” Schwartzbard was working with the latest VariCam firmware upgrades (at the time) and according to the DP, he saw big improvements in ISO flexibility. “I spent a lot of time in the first season of Master of None trying to decide if we wanted to be at native 800 ISO or going up to native 5,000 and putting NDs in. We were always kind of battling those options. Now we could go to an 800 base and dial up from there or start at 5,000 ISO and dial down. Now you’re sacrificing shadow latitude for highlight latitude, but the negative gain is actually decreasing the noise floor.” Schwartzbard’s sweet spot is now ISO 5,000 dialed down to 3,200. “It’s just me being a little nervous about noise,” he explains. “It’s actually pretty rare that you actually need 5,000. With Love, the use of higher ISOs let us use the zooms on night exteriors, which made the directors very happy.” In describing a general look for the VariCam, “soft is the word that comes to mind,” reveals Schwartzbard. “In a way, I want to say pastel but that’s not quite right. There is something about the look that reminds me of the old VariCams. I find it very soft and accommodating whereas some digital cameras seemed to be tuned for higher contrast and more sharpness, which is appropriate for some genres. But it wasn’t what we were going for with these two shows.”

Season Two Trailer for Love:

For more information on the VariCam 35, please visit



Gillian Jacobs and Paul Rust star as Mickey and Gus in Love. (Photo by Suzanne Hanover)

Birth of Rock ‘N’ Roll DP William Wages, ASC captures CMT’s Sun Records with VariCam LTs {photos courtesy of CMT}

Based on the hit musical, Million Dollar Quartet, CMT’s Sun Records reveals the untold story of the birth of rock ‘n’ roll. The limited eight-episode series profiles musicians Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis during a time of political change and social unrest. Sun Records’ all-star cast includes Chad Michael Murray (Sun Records founder Sam Phillips), Billy Gardell (Colonel Tom Parker), Drake Milligan (Elvis Presley), Kevin Fonteyne (Johnny Cash), Keir O’Donnell (Dewey Phillips), Christian Lees (Jerry Lee Lewis), Kerry Holliday (Ike Turner), Dustin Ingram (Carl Perkins), and more. The series was directed by Roland Joffé (The Killing Fields, The Mission) and shot by cinematographer William Wages, ASC (Containment,  Revolution) with Panasonic  VariCam LT  4K cinema cameras. Sun Records was shot in Memphis, Tennessee with a local crew and for Wages, shooting the 1950s time period was a challenge. “In an odd way, the less distance you are from the period, the more difficult it is to shoot,” he explains. “For example, doing the 1860s is easy because everything modern needs to go away but for this story, we needed to be in Memphis. There would be an old building that looks right for the time period but across the street is a modern building. It’s much more than just dealing with old cars and wardrobes. You have to pay attention to everything like traffic lights, crosswalk signs, stop signs, etc. They were all just a little bit different back then.”

For the look of the show, Wages and Joffé did not watch old ‘50s movies, but instead studied old photographs from the period. They felt a desaturated look was the most appropriate because they wanted Sun Records to feel like a present day story. “We didn’t want to look at it through the fog of history,” reveals Wages. “We tried to give it an immediacy that didn’t feel at arm’s length. When Sam Phillips was producing these records, it was cutting-edge. Against a lot of social pressure, Phillips would record black artists one day, white artists the next, and then sometimes he would put them all together. At the time, nobody had heard music like this, which is really the heart of the show.” Wages shot  Sun Records  with three VariCam LTs, rented from  Division Camera  in Los Angeles. He captured UHD (3840×2160) AVC Intra 422 files in V-Log at 23.98-fps. Because he had previously shot the CW Network series,  Containment, with the VariCam 35, Wages was very familiar with the VariCam system. He chose the VariCam LT because it contains the same sensor and imaging qualities as the VariCam 35 but he needed a smaller camera system due to increased Steadicam and handheld gimbal work. He also loves the VariCam’s dual native 800/5,000 ISO for low light shooting. According to Wages, lighting Sun Records was challenging but because of VariCam, it was never difficult. “We did some 360s here and there but I’ll tell you, this camera makes it easier because you’re not dealing with such tremendous amounts of light,” he says.



Sun Records is based on the hit musical, Million Dollar Quartet, and reveals the untold story of the birth of rock ‘n’ roll.

If he wasn’t outdoors in the daytime, Wages was always shooting at native 5,000 ISO. When shooting at 5,000 ISO, the cinematographer says he was carrying ¼ of the amount of lighting gear, which consists of smaller lights. “We had one 4K on that show and we used it once just to say we used it,” jokes Wages. “In truth, the ARRI M18 (1.8K HMI) is as big a light as I needed. As far as other HMIs, my principal light is the Jo-Leko 800, which is a Source Four Leko with an 800 Joker back on it. That’s what I do 90% of my day work with.” Wages also likes to work with small LEDs, which run on batteries. “That way at night you can run somebody down the street, put a slash of light on a building and it takes 10 minutes as opposed to two hours of laying cable,” he explains. In terms of lenses, Wages shot with Fujinon 19-90m and 85-300mm Cabrios, which are lighter than most zooms. “What that also means is that you’re not changing lenses all the time,” says Wages. “Instead of changing lenses, you reach down and zoom a little bit. It saves so much time that by the end of the day, it probably saves almost an hour – maybe more. There are other lenses that can ride on a Steadicam but not with this focal range. The 19-90 shot probably 80% of the show.” Wages predominantly shot wide open at a T-2.9. “If we did a shot looking out a window, then pull back and see the person looking out, in the old days I would have to lift the lighting levels indoors to do that but now nine times out of ten, I can sneak a stop change in there and you can’t see it. I do the stop changes at the monitor because I don’t want the focus puller to worry about that. I don’t watch the F-stop – I’m watching the image and riding it.” Sun Records was posted at Deluxe in Toronto and Wages was only able to attend color grading sessions for one day. Since he wasn’t working with a D.I.T., Wages developed a  viewing LUT  in a different way. “We started with REC 709, opened up the shadows, brought down the highlights to use more of the camera’s capabilities, and then desaturated the image a bit to create a look that I liked,” explains Wages. “I showed it to Roland and he liked it as well, so we sent that LUT, and the footage we shot with it, to Toronto. I let the lab duplicate that look using their system. Then they sent the LUT they created to match ours and that is what we used” Wages was only able to attend the color grading sessions for one day. “I sent the colorist notes on the first episode, which she applied,” says Wages. “That way when I went to the session, we were able to at least finalize the look of the first episode. The rest of the episodes were not locked yet but we scanned through them and picked scenes that we should work on to establish the look.” Because of his efficient VariCam workflow, the grading sessions went smoothly. “And I just had one LUT,” reveals Wages. “To me, VariCam is like a film stock and if you start using too many LUTs, you can really get things confused. If I was doing a high-contrast sci-fi show, I might not approach it this way. I’m very simple and straight forward as far as a look is concerned because I create everything through lighting. I feel like that’s my job.”


Watch the official Sun Records trailer…

For more information on the VariCam 35, please visit


Top of the Charts DP Roberto Schaefer, ASC, AIC shoots Fox TV’s Star pilot with VariCam 35s {photo courtesy of Fox TV}

Star is a Fox TV music drama from Academy Award and Golden Globe nominee Lee Daniels (Empire,  Precious). Exposing the cut-throat music industry, the series follows three talented singers as they navigate the road to stardom. The series’ pilot was shot by cinematographer Roberto Schaefer, ASC, AIC (Quantum of Solace, Monster’s Ball) on  VariCam 35  cinema cameras. Executive producer Daniels, who also directed the pilot, has consistently worked with Schaefer since their collaboration on 2012’s The Paperboy. Star alternates between fantasy and reality so one of Schaefer’s biggest challenges was to keep his three young leads looking glamourous, yet grounded in reality. Unlike Netflix and Amazon, Fox TV does not have 4K delivery requirements so Schaefer shot the pilot in full HD (1920 x 1080) because he wanted the show to have a rougher look and didn’t want editorial to reframe or zoom in on his carefully designed shots. He captured 12bit AVC Intra 444 files, as well as HD proxies to take home for viewing. With a tight shooting schedule, Schaefer encountered many production and lighting challenges. For scenes

that took place in a low ceiling warehouse, Schaefer and crew did not have enough room to hang lights so they had to work primarily with practicals. Most of the practical locations ranged from a disco club to houses and apartments that had limited rigging capabilities. “We had to shoot all over Atlanta and some of the moves were massive and there’s always horrible traffic there,” reveals Schaefer. “We were always up against the gun to get the shots. For the night exteriors, there were times I was able to use smaller lights, or no lights, because I was able to use the [native] 5,000 ISO.” Knowing his director would not want to view flat V-LOG footage on a monitor, Schaefer created approximately 10 different LUTs, pushing the contrast and allowing highlights to clip. “It has a definite gritty look to it,” admits Schaefer. “It’s not ugly by any means, but it just has a very strong look. It’s not one of these totally manufactured looking shows where everything looks so smooth.” Schaefer was initially going to use Panavision Primo lenses  for the entire pilot but because of the fast pace, there was little time for lens changes. Daniels also wanted to have quick zoom ins and frame adjustments,


so Schaefer selected three Angenieux Optimo zooms, including the 15–40mm, 28–76mm, and 45–120mm. For scenes inside the disco club, Schaefer wanted to capture 360-degrees so he had to use the club’s built-in moving LED lights because he couldn’t add additional movie lights. “We had some sequences in smaller rooms where I would be on the 800 and then I would move in on a profile and realize it looked good but not quite right, so I would just click over to 5,000,” he reveals. In terms of lighting tools, Schaefer still lights with the VariCam as if he’s shooting film. “I do use LEDs a lot these days — especially from  LiteGear — because I trust them and I know they’re color correct. I’ve shot Super 16 at a 1000 ASA with good results and I find the VariCam’s native 800 ISO is in that range and has a bit more than what your meter says you have. I don’t really think I change my lighting; I just look at what looks best to my eye.”

Here’s the official trailer for Star..

Dark Times DP David Herrington shoots Netflix’s Frontier in 4K with VariCam 35s {photos courtesy of Netflix}


Frontier is a Canadian historical drama that chronicles the North American fur trade in the late 1700s. The six-part series, which stars Jason Momoa, Alun Armstrong, Allan Hawco, Landon Liboiron, Zoe Boyle and Jessica Matten, is the  Discovery Channel’s first original scripted production and was acquired by Netflix for international distribution. Filmed in Louisbourg, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and Cornwall, England, Frontier was shot by cinematographer David Herrington (Republic of  Doyle,  Warehouse 13) in 4K with  Panasonic VariCam 35  cameras. [Herrington had previously shot  Republic of Doyle  for the CBC Network.] According to the DP, one of the biggest challenges in shooting the gritty-looking series was capturing the time period without having lived in it. “It was a brutal time because there was such an extreme divide between power and poverty,” says Herrington. “The scripts were brutally honest and that was what we were trying to maintain without getting too graphic.” To develop  Frontier’s look, Herrington researched historical paintings by Caravaggio, Constable and Turner, as well as watched movies set roughly in the same time period, including director Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner (2014) and John Schlesinger’s Far from the Madding Crowd (1967). Being a fan of cinematographer Dante Spinotti, ASC, AIC’s lighting, he also viewed Michael Mann’s 1992 epic adventure,  The Last of the Mohicans. Before selecting a camera, the production was told by both Netflix and Discovery Network that they would need to shoot with  a true 4K camera system.  Clairmont Camera’s Deny Clairmont suggested Herrington meet up with cinematographer Theo Van De Sande, ASC, who just shot a pilot with the VariCam 35. “I met with Theo and I saw some of his footage,” says Herrington. “I then shot my own tests with some candles and individuals to see how I could capture closely represented skin tones. I also wanted to see whether the candles themselves would bloom so I wouldn’t see any detail around the corona of the candle itself. This always disturbs me when I see that on television. Having set up those tests and viewing them, I thought, ‘Oh, this camera is stunning.’” Herrington shot mainly with  Cooke S4 primes  and did not apply filtration unless he was shooting day exteriors, applying either a .6, 1.2, or 1.8 ND filter. “I love the lenses,” he says of the Cookes. “They’re nice and sharp and they don’t give you as many flares  when you are shooting wideopen.” The show was captured in UHD (3840 x 2160) in AVC Intra 422 at 23.98-fps in the 2:1 aspect ratio. According to Herrington, because they



were shooting the majority of the show handheld, they decided not to shoot in RAW because the Codex V-RAW recorder would have added a little extra length and weight. The only time Herrington was not shooting handheld were scenes in which they were shooting people in power. “For Lord Benton, who plays the leader of the Hudson Bay company, we had the camera mounted on a dolly just to stabilize and make it the seat of power,” he explains. For the first two episodes, Herrington discussed the look with director Brad Peyton, who wanted a look and style that was gritty and dark. “I started lighting a lot darker than I had ever lit before,” explains Herrington. “You always want to maintain some depth in there – some reference or part of the frame that you can still see. The VariCam’s chip still showed me that, even when I was underexposing by 3- or 4-stops.” Since there was no gas lighting at the time, Herrington had to make his interiors look as if they were entirely lit by candle. “We were also trying to discern between wealthy people, who had enough money to buy lots of candles and have big windows because they could afford the heat, with people who couldn’t afford that so their windows would have been smaller, making the rooms darker and more

subdued. It had to look as though there were two different environments.” Most of Frontier  was shot in the winter and Herrington wanted to show the cold with icy breath in the air. For night exteriors, Herrington lit many of the scenes using firelight (candles and torches) and used a minimal amount of light on trees lit from condors. “I was lighting by eye generally,” he says, “and I didn’t want a ‘Hollywood’ effect of rim-lighting everything with huge moonlight.” In terms of his ISO settings, Herrington would be set at native 800 ISO and would occasionally dial his gain up to 1,200. He would also use the camera’s native 5,000 ISO setting and dial down to 1,600. He would try and shoot at a 2.8 but when shooting on a long lens following an actor, he would give his AC a higher ISO rating so he could get a 4 or 5.6 stop, which allowed his AC easier focus pulls while still lighting minimally. “My B-camera guys were just in love with this camera,” says Herrington. “Sometimes I would be shooting at a 2.8 or a 4 inside a bar, which was one of our main sets and it was dark. There is so much latitude on the chip itself, I just loved having the darker feel – rather than over lighting and bringing it down in post.”


Frontier was posted at  Technicolor  in Toronto. According to Herrington, some scenes were “a little bright” so he took them down using power windows. During shooting, he generally put his skies at around 75% on his vector scale so he would still have highlight detail in post. “Instead of doing a lot of flagging on a lot of areas, I just left it open so we can put a vignette or some sort of grad in the frame,” he explains. “It was very similar to what they did on The Revenant. “It’s really about the performance and writing more than anything else,” concludes Herrington. “My goal was to make sure that the set was the best it could be in terms of showcasing the actors and actresses’ best performances so we tried to keep a quiet set. Their performances show that.”

Here’s a behind the scenes video put together by Discovery Canada’s Daily Planet…

To watch Frontier, visit (You must have a Netflix subscription to view episodes.)


Jason Momoa stars as Declan Harp in Frontier. (Photo courtesy of Netflix )

VariCam Firmware Upgrades Panasonic released a free firmware upgrade for the VariCam 35 and LT cinema cameras and VariCam HS high-speed 1080P camera that includes additional ProRes codecs and HD-SDI Monitor output improvements. The firmware upgrade (Ver. 7.0) for the VariCam 35 and HS and Ver. 5.0 upgrade for VariCam LT can be downloaded at index.html. “After receiving requests from users on high-end episodic productions, we’re offering broader codec support, which will benefit productions during the upcoming pilot season,” said Steve Cooperman, Senior Product Manager, Broadcast, Cinema and Professional Video Systems, Panasonic. “With an expansion of codecs such as ProRes and AVC LongG, production companies and broadcasters will now be able to simplify their preferred workflows.” In Ver. 7.0 and Ver. 5.0 firmware upgrades, ProRes 4444 XQ, ProRes 422 and ProRes 422 LT have been added for both 2K and HD for VariCam 35 and LT, and in HD for VariCam HS. The bit depth of Pro Res 4444 has been increased to 12-bit, with 10-bit file playback only in camera. For the VariCam LT, AVC-LongG G50/G25 recording (HD only) is now supported for most frame rates. For HD-SDI monitor outputs, users can shorten the delay of the outputs to two frames, greatly enhancing onset monitoring applications. For cinema shooters, there’s new support of 23.98PsF output, which provides native frame rate support without introducing 2:3 pulldown artifacts. There’s also new support for “Letter Box” output in 4K/2K in which the image in MON OUT will be automatically set in “Letter Box” mode. For iOS users, one of the most important features of the updates is a new remote control app – VariCam ROP – that has a user display similar to VariCam’s menu display. On the app, you can select whether you want Master control in the app or camera, a lock switch to prevent accidental operation, and dial up/down operation by screen swipe on an iOS device. For production, a 2.0:1 aspect ratio has been added to the framing marker choices. Netflix series like Frontier and A Series of Unfortunate Events have been produced recently in the 2.0:1 aspect ratio.


Firmware upgrades also include: • Focus status can be selected “Meter” notation, even in V-Log recording (VariCam 35/LT/HS) • Ability to assign “VFR (ON/OFF)” to USER SW (VariCam 35/LT/HS) • MON OUT can be selected “ANAMORPHIC DESQUEEZE” in 2K/HD mode (VariCam 35/LT/HS) • For VariCam 35 and HS, “Image Invert” and “Surround View” can be selected independently • For VariCam 35 and HS, viewfinder display can be selected “EE (Camera through)” even in Playback • For the VariCam LT, “Audio Level Meter” can be selected to display on SDI OUT


Dream Shoot

DP Colin Noel shoots Bronze Radio Return’s Only Temporary with VariCam LT


“WITH OTHER CAMERAS, YOU WOULD SEE THE LIGHTS IN THE BACKGROUND AND THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN NICE BUT IT WOULDN’T HAVE READ ON THE TALENT AS MUCH AS IT DID.” According to DP Colin Noel, there are certain locations that a cinematographer dreams to shoot in. When the music video concept of Hartford, CTbased Bronze Radio Return’s  Only Temporary  was presented to him, it was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up. “A nighttime amusement park with a Ferris wheel was on my list of places that I wanted to shoot so I was super excited about it,” says Noel. “We wanted to try and use the practical lights inside the amusement park as the actual background lights as much as possible without having to mimic them. We started looking at the VariCam LT, and that’s where we decided to go.” The music video was shot at The Island, an amusement park in Pigeon Forge, TN, outside of Nashville. Besides mainly working with practical light, Noel’s other big challenge was that they were only allowed to shoot from midnight to sunrise since the entire music video takes place at night. “We essentially shot the whole music video in six hours because that’s all the time we had in the park,” reveals Noel. “Even if we had rigs and lights to simulate the amusement park, we wouldn’t have time to set up, dial it in, and shoot the video in such a short period of time. How do we use the existing light and bring up a key light

for our talent, but also use background light as much as we can with just what’s there?” Noel shot the video with a single VariCam LT with Cooke anamorphic lenses. Over much debate, Noel shot the video in 2K with most of his footage shot at 48-fps because the video features numerous speed ramps within shots. According to Noel, he shot in 2K over 4K because it was going to be a 2K delivery and he wanted to capture in AVC-Intra 2K 422. (4K/UHD AVC-Intra 4K 422 only captures up to 30p.) “I opted for capturing more information at a smaller resolution,” he says. Noel also captured in V-Log, creating a viewing LUT with Teradek Colr while visitors were still in the amusement park. He built the LUT based on the look they were going for and also recorded HD proxy files with the same LUT. “The LUT was fairly simple,” explains Noel. “It was Rec 709 with a bit more contrast. I also warmed the midtones up a bit and pushed the shadows a little bluer for more of a Hollywood blue/teal kind of look.” Because he was working at night, Noel found himself shooting with the native 5,000 ISO quite often. Says Noel, “I went into it thinking we would set it at the 5,000


and I would knock it down to like 2,000 with ND so I wouldn’t gain the sensor. Towards the end, I honestly started shooting 5,000 ISO for everything. I thought the footage might look too bright in terms of what I’m used to, but it was actually really nice for the background to have that extra latitude. You can walk the key back further so you can shoot wider. With anamorphics, it’s all about those nice wide shots.” For the most part, Noel relied upon practical lights in the park. “With VariCam, the glow from the practical lights was actually giving both a nice back edge and a back light to our subjects,” he explains. “With other cameras, you would see the lights in the background and they would have been nice but it wouldn’t have read on the talent as much as it did, especially when you’re moving around. For our schedule, every little bit helped so if you don’t have to add an extra light, it’s a real time saver.”

Watch the music video for Only Temporary…

In the Driver’s Seat

For a young cinematographer, Gareth Paul Cox  is one versatile shooter. He recently shot director Aundré Johnson’s short film, The Driver, with a VariCam LT 4K cinema camera. The ambitious 15-minute short takes place mostly inside a car, where the LT’s compact form factor was a big advantage. It tells the story of a limo car service driver, who ventures off the beaten path to start his own car service using borrowed money from individuals with possible mob ties. For Cox, there were several big challenges in shooting the low budget short, including driving and shooting on LA streets without a process trailer, or any serious rigging. The hero car was an Audi A8, in which Cox was the only crewmember in the car with the actors, plus an open walkie. Sound was recorded remotely and production had wireless packs in the 15-seat follow/lead van where director Johnson had a Teradek Bolt, as well as seating make up, hair, camera ACs, and a production assistant. Much of the story takes place at night, so Johnson and Cox wanted to  see and feel the outside LA world as a character itself. After extensive testing at Panasonic Hollywood, Cox knew the VariCam LT had the latitude to hold shadow and highlight detail but he was mainly concerned with lensing and shooting angles. To give him

DP Gareth Paul Cox shoots The Driver with the VariCam LT


a variety of camera angles, he rented a Optex Borescope system from Division Camera. “The Borescope is similar to a periscope and Division has one that is very modular in that you can pull parts off of it,” explain Cox. “I added a right angle prism, which let us easily use it inside the car. But as a result you lose a few stops of light.  This is where the advantage of the LT’s native 5,000 ISO came into play because we could afford to lose a few stops.” With the LT, Cox captured 4K (4096 x 2160) AVC-Intra 422 files, as well as HD proxies files to  P2 cards. He also recorded both formats in V-LOG since Johnson and editorial were working with the 4K files and Cox used the proxies for his own reference material. Cox’s lighting package consisted of two Litepanels’ Astra 1 x 1 Bi-Color LEDs and LED strip lights. “Grounded Hollywood also provided us with LED technology that they had designed on the movie  Drive, which allowed us to put LED strips floating on grip arms mounted off suction cups over the windows,” explains Cox. “We had six to eight LED strips — one over each


of the four windows and two over the back and two shooting through the sunroof.” Cox made the creative decision to shoot everything at the VariCam LT’s native 5,000 ISO setting because he wanted to be consistent with the noise floor for both his day and night scenes. For day scenes, Cox would simply use the LT’s internal ND filter wheel. The lights outside the car were DMX wireless controlled and the follow/lead van seated his gaffer, who was dimming and changing the color of the lights as they were driving to replicate the practical lights outside. “If a car was passing from the other side of the street and the sodium vapor lights that illuminated the street would hit the windshield, it would send a glare into the interior of our car,” explains Cox. “We were getting into that range where the ambient light on the street was too intense and changed the desired look and feel that we wanted in the interior of the car.”

For more information on the VariCam LT…

Theatrical Magic Panasonic cameras capture Disney’s Broadway Hits at Royal Albert Hall

{photos courtesy Dean Offord, Panasonic Broadcast Europe} {shot with Panasonic GH4R with a 12-35mm Lens} A new Disney  concert celebrating over two decades of stunning Broadway shows received its European premiere at the Royal Albert Hall in London. This one-night-only Disney’s Broadway Hits event, featuring music from such award-winning scores as Aida, Beauty and the Beast, Mary Poppins, Tarzan, The Lion King,  The Hunchback of Notre Dame  and the rest of Disney’s theatrical catalog, marked the first time the show was seen in Europe. The two-hour concert of  Disney’s Broadway Hits  was broadcast on Sky Arts Network, using Panasonic professional 4K cameras, including 13 VariCam LTs, two AK-UC3000 4K studio camera systems, and five AW-UE70 4K integrated pan/tilt/zoom cameras. This broadcast version of the live European premiere on the world-famous Royal Albert Hall stage was hosted by West End star John Barrowman. The show featured the 75-piece BBC  Concert Orchestra alongside a bevy of stars – including eight-time Academy Award-winning composer Alan Menken and members of Aladdin’s West End cast – performing scores from an astonishing number of Disney successes. The Panasonic 4K camera systems, delivered and configured by rental company  VER  London, were the centerpiece of an extensive equipment package, controlled via a fly-pack built around Evertz routers, Kayenne switching and Riedel communications. “This event had so many elements,” says Jay Hatcher, Broadcast Video Director, Walt Disney Parks and


“THE 6-POUND SUPER 35 SENSOR CAMERA IS IDEAL FOR HANDHELD, STEADICAM, JIB, CRANE, DRONE, GIMBAL AND OVERALL CINEMA VERITÉ WORK.” Resorts. “The world-class orchestra, the 80-person choir, West End and Broadway luminaries, glorious lighting, Alan Menken, the iconic venue – it was daunting to say the least. “As the TV production designer and director, my objective was to create a cinematic look,” continues Hatcher. “I don’t think we could have accomplished such spectacular results had Panasonic not jumped on board as our camera partner. I was extremely pleased with the quality of the 4K cameras and how they performed, especially in view of the amount of product involved, and the variety of shots and points-of-view that was required.” With the objective of recording multiple viewing angles of the concert as well as capturing shots of the venue’s historic architecture, one LT was placed on a 30’ jib in the upper gallery, another on a second 30’ jib in front of stage left. Two LTs were placed on risers on both sides of the floor. There was an LT on a Fisher dolly on the arena floor, looking across the audience onto the performance space. Another LT was placed in the second level Loggia Box on stage right. John DeMaio, the concert’s Director of Photography, explained that because the VariCam LT is so agile, the 4K camcorder was able to be utilized throughout the massive Royal Albert Hall. “The 6-pound Super 35 sensor camera is ideal for handheld, Steadicam, jib, crane, drone, gimbal and overall cinema


verité work,” he says. DeMaio also made extensive use of the VariCam LT’s signature innovation – dual native 800/5,000 ISO. “The concert was gorgeously lit with a rich color palette a la Disney, but lights were kept down on the audience,” he says. “I don’t know of many cameras that could have pulled it off with such great success, capturing the effects of sumptuous lighting that changed from song to song, while at the same time not disturbing the audience.” The DP said the concert was shot in 4K V-Log to create the broadcast version. “Panasonic’s team worked in advance to provide a LUT for the live switched show displayed on the large in-house IMAG screens, and we utilized that LUT in the early stages of post,” he notes. “In terms of color matching, we worked only slightly back from the LTs to the UC3000s and UE70s – overall color rendition was excellent.”

Video highlights from Disney’s Broadway Hits…

For more information on Panasonic’s Pro Video products, please visit

Fast Break SHOWTIME digital series Legacy: Bob Hurley shot with VariCam LTs {photos courtesy of Malka Media}


Content studio and Hoboken, NJ-based Malka Media created an episodic digital series about Jersey City’s St. Anthony High School and its legendary basketball coach, Bob Hurley with VariCam LT 4K cinema camcorders. SHOWTIME premiered Legacy: Bob Hurley in six weekly installments exclusively on SHO. com and the SHOWTIME Sports YouTube channel (@ shosports). The 2016-17 season marks Bob Hurley’s 45th year of coaching at the school, and potentially the final season of St. Anthony basketball, which has won 28 state championships (nine consecutive), more than any other high school team. If ambitious fundraising efforts fall short, the school will shut its doors and retire the most successful high school basketball program in history. With more than 1000 wins and as one of only a handful of high school coaches in the Basketball Hall of Fame, Hurley is considered by many to be the greatest coach ever on the secondary school level. The inherent drama of a flailing school with an uber-talented inner-city squadron is compounded by the fact that Coach Hurley is also the president of St. Anthony’s, whose deteriorating school building doesn’t even have a gym – the team

practices and plays off-site. According to Malka Media CEO and series director Louis Krubich, when longtime client SHOWTIME approached him about the St. Anthony story, he and his staff directors of photography concurred that the VariCam LT would be a great choice for this sports documentary, largely because of its 4K acquisition and dual native 800/5,000 ISO capability. “We’re shooting in 4K even though the series will initially air in HD,” says Krubich, “not only for the incredible image quality, but also because we envision putting together a subsequent documentary that we’d be in a position to merchandise to a network that would stipulate 4K.” Krubich says that the series, though comprised of six webisodes of only 10-12 minutes each, tells many narratives, following Coach Hurley off the court at home with his wife, documenting the complicated life situations of several of the players, capturing practices and home games, all under the shadow of St. Anthony’s possible closure. “This is the most versatile camera for documentary shooting on the market,” says Mark Cambria, one of two series’ DPs. “It’s 4K, and produces a beautiful image. I am mostly ‘run and gun,’ so my subjects move in and out


of dark places often. Because there are two native sensors, I never have to worry if my image will lose quality when bumping up the ISO. I just switch to the 5,000 native and that covers me in low light.” “I can plug my mics and reference audio receivers directly into the XLR ports, and the sound is great,” continues Cambria. “Switching back and forth from slow to fast motion requires me to change codecs, so to cut down that switch time, I was able to set up Scene Files that let me to move back and forth with ease. I am also editing this project (in Premiere Pro), so my favorite feature is the camera’s dual recording. I am able to record my full res footage on the Panasonic P2 card, while simultaneously recording HD proxies on the SD card in the second slot.” “The LT is a camera that can adapt,” adds Derek Brown, second series’ DP. “Whether you’re following a documentary subject outside at night, or on set shooting a commercial, you can capture great images with it.”

Watch the entire Legacy: Bob Hurley series…

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Shot On VariCam Issue No. 1  

A digital publication highlighting the creative work filmmakers have produced with Panasonic VariCam digital cinema cameras.

Shot On VariCam Issue No. 1  

A digital publication highlighting the creative work filmmakers have produced with Panasonic VariCam digital cinema cameras.