View Full Version : Theo Van De Sande, ASC, uses VariCam 35 in CBS and Amazon projects

03-03-2015, 03:22 PM
Just got this press release from Panasonic. Apparently the VariCam 35 has already been used to film a pilot or series, not sure exactly what they're saying, but -- well, I guess I'm saying that you can see some finished examples of what an ASC member has done with the VariCam 35 if you look for these projects.



“This Is the Best Solution in Digital Cinema Today”

NEWARK, NJ (March 3, 2015) – Award-winning cinematographer Theo Van de Sande, ASC recently completed his second pilot, CBS’s Evil Men, shot with Panasonic’s new VariCam 35 4K camera/recorder. His first VariCam 35 project, Salem Rogers, shot for Amazon Studios, is currently available on Amazon Instant TV, http://www.amazon.com/Salem-Rogers-Model-Year-1998/dp/B00RSGGEI6.

Van de Sande calls the VariCam 35 “the first 4K offering I feel comfortable with, an absolutely modern camera with tremendous scope, an embracing image, and whose dual native ISOs of 800/5000 will completely change the business.”

Van de Sande, a graduate of the Dutch Film Academy, received the Golden Calf (the Dutch Oscar) for Best Cinematography both in 1982 and 1987. He shot numerous feature films in Europe that attracted international attention. The Assault, his last film in the Netherlands, became the first Dutch feature film to receive the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

His first American film, Miracle Mile, starring Anthony Edwards and Mare Winningham, became an instant cult classic. After settling in Los Angeles, Van de Sande continued to work on a great variety of both studio and independent films, shooting for such directors as Lasse Hallstrom, Garry Marshall, Joan Micklin Silver, and the legendary Robert Wise. His critically acclaimed and iconic work includes Blade, Cruel Intentions, Crossing Delancey, Once Around, Volcano, Out of Time and Homefront.

He has co-produced several award-winning documentaries with his partner Michèle Ohayon, including Colors Straight Up, which was nominated for an Academy Award, DGA Award and Spirit Award along with winning 13 national awards; Steal a Pencil for Me, which received the prestigious Yad Vashem award; and Cowboy del Amor, which won the Jury and Audience Awards at the SXSW festival, as well as several other national awards. In television, he worked with director Mick Jackson on the pilot for The Practice, Tuesdays with Morrie starring Jack Lemmon (Emmy and DGA Awards) and The Memory Keeper’s Daughter (also nominated for an Emmy).

Van de Sande had been prepared to shoot the Salem Rogers pilot with an Alexa, but Amazon Studios stipulated a native 4K camera. Within days after signing on to the project, he saw a demonstration of the VariCam 35 at the ASC Clubhouse and literally “saw the (low) light.”

“I simply didn’t believe it when I switched for the first time from ISO 800 to native ISO 5000,” he said. “How could this be accomplished without sacrificing dynamic range and imagery? I came to learn that at ISO 5000 the camera can actually see more and better than the human eye, and allowed me to create a whole micro world in front of the camera. What’s more, with the VariCam 35 I can ramp from 24 to 120fps without changing the light, a tremendous economy of time and money.”

“From the first day on the Salem Rogers’ set I began to use the native 5000 ISO on some unexpected occasions (a day interior in a bookstore, e.g.) and was blown away by it,” Van de Sande said. “The last
scene was shot at nighttime at Venice Beach with very little light. Shops were closed, but the arches of the buildings were still overexposed, lit by some small fixtures. The palm trees were silhouetted against the night sky, and I lit a huge area with just one unit from 100 yards away. The bottoms of the palm trees were lit with the headlights of our camera truck.

“Later in the CBS pilot I used 5000 ISO setting by night in cold, humid, wet Vancouver winter weather on overpasses, freeways, intersections and bridges with even more amazing results. And here again there were no issues: all went well on a grueling, impossible schedule of 12+ days.”

Van de Sande also singled out the VariCam 35’s ability to record three simultaneous video formats (4K + 2K + Proxy, or UHD + HD + Proxy). “You treat the 4K slot as if it were the digital negative--you don’t touch that data. You have the SUB recorder slots where you can do all your work: 2K/HD is plenty of resolution for editors who normally work on highly compressed DNxHD36 images. So, you’re recording to a high-res master and you are essentially cloning copies in different resolutions in camera, in real time.”

“With the VariCam 35, its 4K sensor and native 5000 ISO setting, Panasonic has taken a front position in the line of professional digital cinema cameras,” he said. “And the company’s timing in bringing the Varicam 35 into the digital cinema and episodic television markets is the absolute right moment within the big picture of 4K and UHD standardization.

“It’s been a total thrill to be at the cutting edge of this new technology; the VariCam 35 will push the other camera manufacturers forward, because soon the 4K pipeline will be the standard for TV and digital cinema. 4K will be the format that people request when they buy content in the very near future. And now, digital camera technology has finally realized the high standard of the 35mm film negative.”

For more information about Theo Van de Sande and his work, visit www.theovandesande.com (http://www.theovandesande.com/). For an expanded interview with Van de Sande about his work on the Amazon Studios’ pilot, see http://www.fdtimes.com/2014/12/19/theo-van-de-sande-asc-on-varicam-35/.

About the VariCam 35
Panasonic’s VariCam 35 is an unparalleled tool for high-end filmmaking, commercials and episodic production as well as live 4K events. The camera provides superb image handling in multiple formats ranging from pristine 4K RAW to more practical 4K, UHD, 2K, HD and ProRes capture. Several assets set the VariCam 35 apart from other high-end cinematography cameras, including dual native ISOs of 800 and 5000, allowing DPs to realize incredible image quality in extremely low light situations; its ability to record three simultaneous video formats (4K + 2K + Proxy, or UHD + HD + Proxy); an optional high-speed 4K uncompressed RAW recorder (CODEX) that will capture uncompressed 4K VariCam RAW (V-RAW) at up to 120fps; internal AVC-Intra 4K / 2K / HD recording to 120fps; support for an ACES workflow for full fidelity mastering of original source material; and in-camera Color-Grading via CDLs / 3D LUTs.

For more information about the VariCam 35, visit www.us.panasonic.com/varicam (http://www.us.panasonic.com/varicam), or contact Panasonic at 877-803-8492 (tel:877-803-8492).

Panasonic Solutions for Business
Panasonic delivers reliable business technology solutions that connect data with decision makers to drive better outcomes—for our customers and our customers’ customers. Panasonic engineers reliable products and solutions that help to create, capture and deliver data of all types, where, when and how it is needed. The complete suite of Panasonic professional solutions for government and commercial enterprises of all sizes addresses unified business communications, mobile computing, security and surveillance, retail point-of-sale, office productivity, visual communications (projectors, displays, digital signage) and HD video production. Panasonic solutions for business are delivered by Panasonic System Communications Company of North America, Division of Panasonic Corporation of North America, the principal North American subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation.

All brand and company/product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of the respective companies. All specifications are subject to change without notice. Information on Panasonic solutions for business can be obtained by calling 877-803-8492 (tel:877-803-8492) or at us.panasonic.com/business-solutions (http://us.panasonic.com/business-solutions).

About Panasonic Corporation of North America
Panasonic Corporation of North America provides a broad line of digital and other electronics products and solutions for consumer, business and industrial use. The company is the principal North American subsidiary of Osaka, Japan-based Panasonic Corporation and the hub of Panasonic’s U.S. branding, marketing, sales, service and R&D operations. In Interbrand’s 2014 annual “Best Global Green Brands (http://www.interbrand.com/en/best-global-brands/Best-Global-Green-Brands/2014/best-global-green-brands-2014-brand-view.aspx)” report, Panasonic ranked number five overall and the top electronics brand in the report. As part of continuing sustainability efforts, Panasonic Corporation of North America relocated its headquarters to a new facility, built to meet LEED certification standards, adjacent to Newark Penn Station in Newark, NJ.

Learn more about Panasonic at www.panasonic.com (http://www.panasonic.com/).

03-03-2015, 07:18 PM
It's great to see the Varicam in there with the 4K cameras. I remember hearing about Marco Polo and how they used the F55 because it really needed to be 4K. I know Alexa is the first choice for lots of cinematographers at the top but it shows they may have miscalculated. Witness the uprez thing they did with Amira. I was one of the "2K is fine" guys not that long ago but apparently not for the streaming producers.

I was interested in the problem he described in the FDTimes article "shot noise." It sounds like what the Red guys sometimes call "starving the sensor of light." I'd just like to know more about that.

I saw the Varicam at a post NAB thing at AbelCine and it is quite a beast. I'm really glad to see it getting used by the top tier productions. Hopefully some of the success will get them good footing.

03-08-2015, 08:31 PM
ARRI is caught in between cams - Alexa does 3.2K and Alexa II does 6K but at a steep price - but I doubt they will be for long.

Still, "shot in 4K" is becoming very important in the TV biz and Alexa can't present itself as such (not that even a discerning viewer can tell a 4K apart from the upscaled 3.2).

03-09-2015, 02:18 AM
Still, "shot in 4K" is becoming very important in the TV biz and Alexa can't present itself as such (not that even a discerning viewer can tell a 4K apart from good HD.).

Fixed that for you. :)

Is there an Alexa II out already or are you talking about the Alexa 65?

03-09-2015, 02:33 AM
I wouldn't worry for Arri fellas, now that Alexa records in 'UHD' it's going to continue its happy success with even the Streaming Producers. That whole thing is about compliance, and now that the camera has it, it'll continue on its merry way until Arri finally decides to retire it (having provided excellent and prolonged ROI for Arri's customers - who will keep coming back to Arri for precisely that reason).

03-09-2015, 06:41 AM
Yeah, I had another sleepless night, tossing and turning worrying about Arri. Whatever will they do? ;)

03-09-2015, 11:31 AM
Fixed that for you. :)

Is there an Alexa II out already or are you talking about the Alexa 65? The 65mm (is there a name for it beside 65?)

Anyhow, I think it'll be pretty easy for them to offer a slightly stripped down version that shoots 4K in a cropped mode. The "compliance problem" will then be solved.

By the way, Noel posted in the Varicam thread that the Aussies are running a major promotion on it, going down to as low as A$40,000 on it from the previous A$55,000. I assume that the US distributors are offering or will be soon offering similar discounts.

PS. And I can tell 2.5K from 1080P on my monitor. After that, I might require a bigger, better monitor.

03-15-2015, 06:56 AM
DLD I’m sure you can tell if you sit with your nose glued on the monitor. Otherwise I don’t buy it. Sorry. Unless you have superhuman vision. :)

The new Alexa is called just Alexa 65 as far as I know.