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Panasonic’s Varicam: bigger and faster

15 September 2014
Panasonic’s Varicam: bigger and faster

The modular new Panasonic Varicam, which can shoot either 4K/Ultra HD or high-speed HD, ships next month.

“We had a lot of people who loved the previous Varicam, and we have been out of that market for too long,” said Rob Tarrant, European product manager (pictured).

“We are in an industry of creating beautiful images, and we want to get back to that. But that’s not enough. The practicalities are you have to handle this huge amount of data. The recorder is about the practicalities and the workflow. Its ability to do multiple formats simultaneously. It’s a big advantage, as [the recorder, developed with Codex] can do up to four at once”: Raw, up to 120 frames per second, 4K compressed using AVC Ultra onto Express P2 cards, and 2K and 1K proxies on to the same microP2 card. Similarly, for a broadcast workflow, it will do uncompressed Ultra HD, compressed UHD, HD and 960×540 proxies at once.

The Varicam 35 (Super 35mm) head costs €24,000, while the recorder module is €15,000 and the new OLED viewfinder (which doesn’t suffer colour shifts as you move viewing angle) is €6,200. It will also release an umbilical cord, so that users can separate the head from the recorder by up to 30m, useful for crane or jib use. The 240 frames per second Varicam HS head (costing €16,000) is targeted primarily at natural history.

“The beauty of being able to change the camera head and use very long lenses, with 2/3-inch chips, with the same in-camera grading,” will, he hopes make it very appealing to users and rental companies.

One of the first testers, Light Iron CEO Michael Cioni said: “Images are not just about the pictures, but about the workflow. We want products that match both high quality images and efficient workflow,” and he believes the Varicam 35 does both.

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