Panasonic RAW - Varicam Pure vs. LT vs. EVA1 vs. S1H

Yeah, and I didn't even mention the regular VariCam 35 because that one just seemed like such a unicorn.

Well, we had the V35 for a few years until the LT came along, so it got plenty of use in that time. I shot a couple of series and pilots on it. Here's a photo dump 2016-'21.varicamheadshot Large.jpeg

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Good golly, that's a lot of gack...and weight!

Then the LT emerged, and I jumped on it for my next few shows. I alternated between Varicam and Alexa Minis a fair amount, depending on the needs of the project.

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Below: my operator went to the bathroom and I covered him for a take. Most of my crew had never seen me operate a camera on my shoulder, it looked like paparazzi for a second as a bunch of them pulled out their phones to capture this! Ha.
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During pandemic everything went to remote heads, and the LT followed nicely. A little tricky to configure on the Movi Pro and R2, there is just millimeters of air between the camera and the cradle, but we got through it!

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I alternated between Varicam and Alexa Minis a fair amount, depending on the needs of the project.

I'm interested in any more context you can provide on the above quote Charles. What kinds of production challenges would lead you to choosing the Varicam over the Mini, or vice versa?
 
Charles, think there's any added "pressure" to operating Steadicam for a DP that was a Steadicam op?
 
I could tell stories from inside Panasonic, but then I'd get in lots of trouble as I signed a non-disclosure on the way out. I took over as Cinema Product Manager a year after the LT was announced and literally three weeks before we sneek-peeked the EVA1 at NAB. Let's just say there were a lot of things I would have done differently had I been there earlier and trying to steer a ship that's already far along on its course is no easy matter.
 
Well, we had the V35 for a few years until the LT came along, so it got plenty of use in that time. I shot a couple of series and pilots on it. Here's a photo dump 2016-'21.

Ahh, that's where your LT bug came from...you had a little VariCam taste.

[And of course others used the camera too - all over the world - just not a lot I imagine.]
 
I'm interested in any more context you can provide on the above quote Charles. What kinds of production challenges would lead you to choosing the Varicam over the Mini, or vice versa?

If I felt I needed the benefit of the dual ISO, that led me to the Varicam. On the first series I shot with the V35 I shot all the stage work at 2000 ISO (down from 5000 base) which effectively more than doubled the output of my instruments. Where I would have normally spec'd a 10k for the sun effect coming through the patio as seen below, as a result of the higher ISO I was able to do it with a 5K, which cut down on power and heat. And our Litemats became that much more powerful as a result. It was super helpful. I talked about this show here: https://na.panasonic.com/us/trends/dp-charles-papert-shoots-mtvs-mary-jane-varicam-35

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I'd go with Arri on shows with bigger budgets that didn't restrict the lighting package and crew as much, or if the producers were more comfortable with Alexas, or where I felt the priority was on skintones.
 
Charles, think there's any added "pressure" to operating Steadicam for a DP that was a Steadicam op?

Good question. Some of the younger ops admitted they were a bit rattled at the prospect. I would point out to them that I had their back, that I'd fend off the kind of spurious use (and abuse) of the Steadicam that one sees from time to time. But I'd also tell them, don't bother pulling out any BS excuses regarding the rig and what it can and can't do--I probably came up with half of them myself!

The operator seen above is Neal Bryant, we started working together on "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" and we have had many fantastic adventures since. He's a monster operator and a lovely chap and we have a great collaborative relationship. He was also the reason the ZeeGee ended up coming to market, he bought my prototype over 10 years ago and used it on a bunch of things which convinced me that it was viable (and he was the guy behind "The Last of Us").
 
Ahh, that's where your LT bug came from...you had a little VariCam taste.

[And of course others used the camera too - all over the world - just not a lot I imagine.]

There were quite a few things shot on VariCam35 in those first few years. Remember again that it had satisfied the Netflix mandate where the Alexa did not, so that was a factor in its favor. Mitch could probably list off the more prominent projects.
 
If I felt I needed the benefit of the dual ISO, that led me to the Varicam. On the first series I shot with the V35 I shot all the stage work at 2000 ISO (down from 5000 base) which effectively more than doubled the output of my instruments. Where I would have normally spec'd a 10k for the sun effect coming through the patio as seen below, as a result of the higher ISO I was able to do it with a 5K, which cut down on power and heat. And our Litemats became that much more powerful as a result. It was super helpful. I talked about this show here: https://na.panasonic.com/us/trends/dp-charles-papert-shoots-mtvs-mary-jane-varicam-35




I'd go with Arri on shows with bigger budgets that didn't restrict the lighting package and crew as much, or if the producers were more comfortable with Alexas, or where I felt the priority was on skintones.

Thanks for this info Charles, I appreciate it. And that's a great breakdown at that Panasonic link you shared as well. Very informative.
 
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