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VariCam 35: A Second Look


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tumblr_inline_n2dfdoUlG41qlgpo8The VariCam 35 is Panasonic’s new 4K camera/recorder. The first hints appeared at NAB 2012 – Spoiler alert! This product has jumped-off the drawing board and has producers and cameramen alike lusting after it! Help keep your high-end productions looking sweet. Haven’t quiet reached that plateau yet? Then give yourself a leg-up to reach those rarified heights of first class productions by using the same tools the real pros use.

Stunning crisp images and sharp sharp colors help to capture each priceless moment as slice after slice of our time passes quickly away. The VariCam 35 was scheduled for an autumn release this year and summer just ended… Now, you can capture those fall colors like never before! With tools like the VariCam 35, we are enabled to show our audience the ideal image. Capture the majestic beauty of nature or the intricacies of man’s inventions. Panasonic’s submission to the emerging world of 4K digital cinema production is here.

With 4096×2160 resolution right out of the box, you know things are only going to get better from there. The state-of-the-art super 35mm MOS image sensor, along with the fourteen stops in the dynamic range, sweetens this deal even more. All these factors help kick annoyances like wobble, skew, and smear right to the curb. VariCam 35 has the AVC-ULTRA codecs for internal 2K, 4K, HD and UHD recording. Need some simultaneous recording options? Panasonic is on it! The VariCam 35 allows concurrent use of 4K/UHD, 2K/HD reference output along with proxy files.

Super 35mm not quit right for what the producer had in mind? You can easily switch over to Panasonic’s 2/3″ camera module unit AU-V23HS1. The right tools for the right job enhances your already smooth workflow (here, I’m assuming a good flow if you have the good sense to use this type of equipment). In addition, on-set color grading, as well as monitoring, along with online streaming help the workflow progress seamlessly.

Recording a new episode of your network’s hit show? You have chosen the right camera! If it’s good enough for the cinema, it definitely has youVARICAM_35_3_a_w_logo-620x360 covered for episodic TV. The VariCam 35 utilizes a PL lens mount, and provides an OLED viewfinder with optical zoom. How’s the LCPM, you might ask? Well, code modulation should always have it this good! 24-bits for in-camera recording helps support workflow for Academy Color Encoding System (ACES) & true time high frame-rate recording (a blazing 120 fps with 4K).

If you’ll remember in February of this year, Panasonic announced their next generation of its P2 solid-state recording media. The expressP2 card was precisely designed to facilitate high frame rates (above 60 fps) in both the 4K capture and 1080 HDAVC-ULTRA recordings. The P2 had to be updated to accommodate the demands of Panasonic’s new baby – the VariCam 35. Better cameras need better parts and the P2 is certainly doing its part of being that part. Increased performance demands steer the 256GByte expressP2 Card down the road toward perfection. Memory and speed are a must-have when you consider that the VariCam HS’s 1080 HD does its recording at velocious rates like 240fps. That’s not the only swiftness this card facilitates. Fast transfer speeds up to 2.4Gbps are also included, along with flash memory error correction system analogous of a RAID system (including the ability to recover from sector/page/block failure). Durable & smart, the expressP2 helps place the VariCam 35 on the top of the list.

The VariCam 35 has four media slots: two for expressP2, and two for microP2. As if the VariCam 35 were not packed with enough innovation already, the microP2 also brings several neat key features to the table. This state of the art memory card is UHS-II compliant. Not wanting to limit its usefulness to the realm of now and beyond, Panasonic has even made an adapter you can plug the microP2 into for use with some of your older Panasonic-VariCam-35-Removable-Control-Panel-616x421Panasonic cameras. Like the expressP2, the microP2 drive has a USB 3.0 interface to facilitate speedy transfers. The microP2 is a dozen times faster than quotidian SD media, and the impeccable writing we have come to expect from all P2 frame rates. In combination with the various formats and codec’s available, the Class 10 SDHC/SDXC cards can be used in P2 products. Flash memory error correction system & Content protection, along with a handy QR code for verification, keeps adding to the system’s versatility.

Panasonic really pulled out the stops when they were assembling the components for the VariCam 35. The microP2 is definitely built to last, with resistance to heat, x-rays, and magnetism that helps your data survive the airport. Resistance to water, static, dust, & manhandling cover the other most likely avenues of failure due to wear. To make this new camera even more useful, you might consider using it with another neat tool – Aframe, the offspring of Panasonic’s union with the cloud. I’ll leave those possibilities to your imagination. To catch a glimpse of some of the beautiful work this camera can do, check out this link & watch the video at: vimeo.com/105522587


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Ryan Salazar

Editor-In-Chief, Publisher at Broadcast Beat Magazine, LLC.
Ryan started working in the broadcast and post production industry at the young age of twelve! He has produced television programs, built large post production facilities, written for some of the industry's leading publications and was an audio engineer for about ten years. Ryan previously wrote for Broadcast Engineering Magazine, Creative COW and his projects have been featured in dozens of publications.
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