Video: VariCam LT Infrared Footage, I.R. Filter Removed

One of the often overlooked hidden gems of the Panasonic Varicam LT is the user-removable IR filter.

As Panasonic puts it:
“The Cinema VariCam LT has an integrated, detachable IR cut filter. This feature allows 4K image capture in extremely dark unlit nightscapes. This is ideal for capturing nocturnal wildlife and other scenes with no illumination. Also, the IR filter can be used in daylight as a creative tool for achieving a unique look.”

I recently worked with an astral photographer here in Portland who explained to me the reasons why a removable IR filter is such a killer feature for that line of work. The ability for an owner/operator to remove the IR filter themselves for a specific shoot is a great feature that sets the VariCam LT apart. Its not something that everyone will use but for a select crowd it could be a clincher.

See all of the VariCam LT pre-made packages here. Or you can contact us for custom packs with custom prices.

Check out the images here:

Panasonic VariCam LT Financing Options Now Available, 0% 90 Days No Payments

I’m excited to announce details on the Panasonic Financing options for the VariCam LT. This financing is through Panasonic’s own promotional financing program, ensuring that you’ll get very good rates. The financing options include:

12 months, 0% interest, 90 days payment deferred
With this program you will make 12 equal monthly payments but your first payment isn’t due for over 90 days. This is a great option to give yourself some time to put the camera to work before making that first payment.

24 months, 0% interest
24 equal monthly payments interest free.

36 months, 3.9% interest
Spread your payments out over 36 months to make that bill a little lower. 3.9% interest is still very competitive rate, even if its not as low as 0%.

Other details:
Any Panasonic brand item thats deemed an accessory to the camera can be bundled in at the same special low interest rate that the camera is on. If its Panasonic brand but not deemed an accessory, or if its another brand product you can still add it on to the financing but those items will be at the standard interest rate, averaging arpund 10% interest. This will not impact the VariCams promotional rate.

Some quick examples:
The body only, $16,500, over 24 months at 0% interest would be $687.50 per month.
The body only, $16,500, over 12 months (90 days payment free), at 0% interest would be $1,375 per month.
The body only, $16,500, over 36 months at 3.9% interest would be about $487 per month

I don’t have the Panasonic application up on my website yet but i will soon and will update this post as soon as it is. In the meantime, if you’re interested in applying, i can email you a .pdf of the application.

This is all very new and more details are coming every day. If you have any questions on VariCam packages, Panasonic Financing, or any video equipment please reach out and contact me. I’m still expecting my first batch of cameras sometime around the end of this month (March ’16) or the beginning of next (April ’16). I’m also taking $0 down pre-orders as well. Throw your name in the hat and be one of the first to receive this exciting new camera.

Panasonic VariCam

See the Entire Panasonic VariCam35 Introduction Presentation

I am the only Panasonic VariCam35 dealer in the Northwestern United States. I’m very excited that Panasonic is back attacking high end production needs. And they’re not just playing “me too”. They’ve brought a product that justifies the price tag.

Panasonic’s full presentations from the recent Digital Cinema Society’s “Meet the VariCam 35” event are now available on DCS’s web site.

Speakers at the event, held last month at Panavision World Headquarters in Los Angeles, included cinematographer and Digital Cinema Society president James Mathers, Doug Leighton of Panasonic, Michael Cioni of Light Iron, Sarah Priestnall of Codex Digital, and special guest Theo Van de Sande, ASC, who recently shot a pilot for Amazon with the VariCam 35 and gave his initial impressions of the camera.

The VariCam 35’s image handling in multiple formats ranging from pristine 4K RAW to more practical 4K, UHD, 2K, HD and ProRes capture formats make it a useful tool for high-end filmmaking, commercials and episodic production as well as live 4K events. The camera/recorder is equipped with a Super 35mm MOS image sensor and offers a choice of codecs — Panasonic’s AVC-ULTRA family and Apple ProRes 4:4:4:4 and ProRes HQ. It offers 14 stops of dynamic range and native ISOs of 800 and 5000, and other non-native ISOS that can be set in-camera.

The full presentation has been broken up into sections. View the all the sections here.


Panasonic Starts Going in Depth With VariCam35: Dual Native ISO, Extreme Low Light

Recently Panasonic held an event at the Digital Cinema Society called “Meet the VariCam35”. Panasonic has posted a series of videos from this event. This particular video was brought to my attention by our friends at No Film In the video Michael Cioni explains the concept of “dual native ISO”, a feature of this newly developed sensor technology in the VariCam, and how it benefits the shooter in the form of extreme low light image quality and dynamic range. You can read the full No Film School article here. Check out the video series below.

NAB ’14 Camera Recap: What Did We Really Get

The annual NAB show has come and gone. It was a good year for cameras and it also saw the spreading of some interesting trends:

Dockable Cameras: What’s old is new again. The two piece camera concept, something big up through the late 90’s, is back. We saw two piece, head-dock combo cameras from Blackmagic Design with the URSA and from Panasonic with the new VariCam system. We’ll see if these dock systems catch on with more manufacturers and more models and if these docks actually pay off with the flexibility the makers claim 

High Speed: We’re starting to get to a point where 60p is just expected in a professional camera. But we’re also introducing the concept that to make a “high speed” camera you don’t have to be Phantom creating thousands of frames per second. Most users are very excited about 120 or 240. For a lot of camera makers frame rates in this range are now becoming very tangible specifications. AJA, Panasonic, Sony, and even JVC all showed cameras that could reach the 120 threshold.

ProRes & Other Beefy 10-Bit Codecs: ProRes is starting to become the closest thing the video industry has ever had to a high end “universal standard” codec. Blackmagic, AJA, and even Sony and Panasonic all showed ProRes recording cameras. And we have more options for ProRes external records then ever, thanks to AJA and Atomos. Beyond ProRes the theme was 10-bit. XAVC and AVC-Ultra where shown off on many new models, all recording in 10-bit. In some cases the compression schemes have become so good we can get a 10-bit signal out of a 25mbps package. RAW recording is starting to become more readily available, though i wouldn’t quite call it a “common” feature yet.

Super35mm: Large sensor “cinema” cameras have been the growing trend for the last 3-4 NAB shows. This year the ratio of cameras that specifically use the Super35mm standard compared to smaller sensors was the biggest it’s ever been. Panasonic, AJA, Blackmagic Design, JVC, and Sony all showed new cameras that make use of this format. There were very few cameras shown with smaller traditional broadcast 1/3” or 2/3” sensors.

Shoulder Mount/ Improved Ergonomics: Generally speaking there weren’t too many cameras that required kitting out shown this year. There was a very pleasant uptake in ready to go cameras. The Blackmagic URSA, The AJA CION, the new VariCams, and the new JVC all use shoulder mount designs. Sony’s even gone to the lengths of improving the F5 & F55 shoulder mount. Those cameras are already shoulder-mountable, and always have been. But now they’ve gone totally ENG with a new control layout and new features via a docking sled. JVC even showed an economically designed hand-held camera with a large Super35mm sensor. For some reason that’s a concept that hasn’t really been that prevalent before.

Post by Eric C. Petrie


Panasonic Announced The New VariCam HS

Panasonic has announced the latest in it’s legendary VariCam series, the VariCam HS. What was old is new again as Panasonic brings back the dockable camera solution. The camera is made out of two components; the head, with the lens mount and the sensor, and the back with the dockable recorder. The head features a 2/3” 1080p sensor that is capable of generating 240 frames per second. The camera can record 4:4:4 12-bit AVC-Intra or, in a surprise move, 4:4:4 12-bit Intra-Frame ProRes. Another surprising specification, Panasonic claims that their newly designed 2/3” sensor block is capable of delivering 14 stops of dynamic range. This would make it one of the only small-sensor cameras capable of doing this. Although it’s not that far removed from Blackmagics Super16mm Pocket cam which delivers 13 stops with a single 1” sensor.

Where does this camera fit on the market? With a standard B4 ENG mount you’ll be able to use high quality versatile servo zoom lenses. You’ll still be able to get “cinematic” looking images thanks to the 14 stops of dynamic range. Internal 240 frames per second at 4:2:2, 10-bit, Intra-Frame is very impressive. And 1080p30/24 at 4:4:4 12-bit Intra-Frame is a ton of data to work with. Right now Panasonic has the list price of the camera at $55,000. That puts it (in Panasonic’s eyes) in competition with Alexa and Epic. Thats far beyond the price range of Canon C500 or Sony F55. Is the cinema world of Epic and Alexa ready to embrace this Panasonic camera? I guess we’ll find out this fall. Post by Eric C. Petrie

Panasonic VaricamHS

Panasonic Brings VariCam 35 to the Party

As part of Panasonic’s dockable VariCam solution they have introduced a second options for camera heads. The VariCam 35 head can be mounted to the same dock recorder as the VariCam HS head. VariCam 35 features a completely newly designed 4K Super35mm sensor and a PL lens mount. The exact details of what it can record internally aren’t quite clear. It appears that it can record 4K at 4:2:2, 10-bit, Intra-Frame in ether AVC-Ultra or ProRes. It also appears it can record 1080p at 4:4:4, 12-bit, Intra-Frame in ether ProRes or AVC-Ultra. It may also be able to record 4K at 4:4:4, 12-bit, Intra-Frame in ether ProRes or AVC-Ultra. Internal 4K recording appears to be capable of at least 60p but possibly can go up to 120p. The camera can also record 4K RAW to an additional optional docking unit. Similarly to the Sony F55 all the internal 4K recording is done using the Panasonic or ProRes codecs but by docking on the additional module you now have 4K RAW. There’s no cabling to attach, no baseplate needed, no rails. The 4K RAW recorder seamlessly docks to the camera body. VariCam 35 will begin shipping before the end of the year. Price on the head and dock recorder together will be around $60,000. No price has been announced on the optional RAW recorder but it will most likely come in over $10,000. That means your total price on a 4K RAW VariCam will be in the neighborhood of $70,000. Post by Eric C. Petrie

VariCam35 w/ RAW recorder

VariCam35 w/ RAW recorder side.jpg


What is Panasonic’s AVC-Ultra

Panasonic has always been a leader in video formats and codecs. They were on the fore front of the DV native to edit revolution. They were the first to offer 4:2:2 50 and 100mbps versions of DV, called DVCPro. They introduced their next-generation format AVC-Ultra back in 2007, years ahead of Sony’s next-gen format, and even a little ahead of Apple and ProRes. AVC-Ultra has evolved a lot over the years. The most critical part of AVC-Ultra is that nearly all variations are at least 10-bit 4:2:2.

First, you have AVC-Intra. These are Intra-Frame formats, recording every single frame of video in full quality. These run at 50mbps, 100mbps, and 200mbps. The 200mbps variation is 4:4:4 12 bit. Next you have AVC-LongGOP. Still maintaining 10-bit 4:2:2 this LongGOP format runs at 25mbps, 36mbps, or 50mbps. As of this writing Panasonic has also announced AVC-4K. At this point specs are a little vague on what exactly that will look like. We know it will be at least 4:2:2 10b-bit. But it could also be 4:4:4 12-bit. At 4K resolution 4:2:2 10 bit would run about 400mbps in AVC-Intra. At 4K resolution 4:4:4 12-bit would be a whopping 800mbps in AVC-Intra. Post by Eric C. Petrie

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Panasonic Announced AJ-PX270 Hand-Held ENG Camcorder

Even though it doesn’t get as much hype as the digital cinema, large sensor, 4K cameras, traditional 1080p ENG-styel shooting is still a very important part of what many video professionals do. Panasonic has revealed their latest camera to meet these needs. The AJ-PX270 is designed in a similar form factor to the HPX250. It features a 22x servo zoom lens with combination mechanical and servo rings for zoom, focus, and iris. Panasonic has moved the XLR ports around. In a style you might see in a shoulder mount ENG camera they’ve put one on the front and one on the back. The camera has all an all new LCD panel and an amazing OLED viewfinder. It has SDI, HDMI, USB 3.0, and ethernet ports. It is Wi-Fi controllable. It records to full size or microP2 cards. The biggest reason to get this camera is it is the first hand held sub-$10k camera to feature all flavors of AVC-Ultra. That means it can do AVC-Intra at 50, 100, and 200mbps. And it can also do AVC-LongGOP at 25, 35, and 50mbps. Amazingly all formats of AVC-Ultra are 4:2:2 10-bit, except AVC-Intra 200, which can be 4:4:4. The AJ-PX270 ships in early summer for around $5,750. Post by Eric C. Petrie

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