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Varicam 35 & Varicam HS: Panasonic’s Two-fer

2014 has been very noteworthy for Panasonic, so far; they released not one, but two awesome new cameras – the VariCam 35, and the VariCam HS.  The VariCam 35 includes a state of the art Super 35mm MOS image sensor along with the AVC-ULTRA suite of codecs. This 4K camera/recorder’s has splendid image manipulation in numerous formats such as HD, UHD, 2K and 4K, which allows for this incomparable tool’s use in refined and sophisticated film making, along with its usefulness in crafting commercials, as well as episodic productions, and even live 4k appearances and events.

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The ingenious design of the 4K Camera module unit is separate from, but easily connectable to, the recording model unit (which can be effortlessly switched-out for Panasonic’s new 2/3″ camera module unit, as desired). Because the recorder module is compatible, the operator can quickly switch back and forth between s35mm and 2/3″ camera heads, as needed. The system’s simple adjustability allows further expansion via an umbilical cable connected between the VariCam 35 and the AVC-ULTRA recorder, so it can be fully functional even when mounted on crane or a jib!

“Evoking the VariCam heritage of gorgeous, cinematic image rendition, this VariCam 35 establishes new standards for 4K production, with its expanse of formats ranging from flawless 4K RAW output to more practical 4K, UHD, 2K and HD capture, the VariCam 35 represents a matchless option for premier digital capture,” says Steve Cooperman, the Product Manager at Panasonic System Communications Company of North America.

Panasonic-Varicam35-Codex-V-RAWWith the Panasonic super 35mm MOS sensor for 4096 x 2160 (17:9) 4K image capture and the imager working in combination with the AVC-ULTRA codecs, allows convenient and workable 4K production file sizes. This new imager is truly amazing – it has 14+ stops of latitude, meticulously capturing high-contrast, broad and compelling range imagery without concession. Dynamic color management efficiency broadly expands the color range for clear and perfect imagery, and also allows support from an Academy Color Encoding System workflow to obtain dependable reproduction of the original source material.

This 4K camera/recorder’s preeminent production features include adjustable speed, high frame rate, real-time, recording up to 120fps, with the capacity for master level 2K/FHD recording; as well as advanced workflows with parallel concurring 4K/ UHD, reference 2K/HD and alternate recordings for superb color editing, grading, and monitoring ease. The VariCam 35 also has a state of the art OLED electronic viewfinder enabled for optimal zoom and it also includes in-camera – a 24-bit LPCM audio added for master recording.

VariCam 35 brings an unparalleled range of recording formats, such as AVC-Intra 100/200, AVC-ULTRA 4K, FHD, UHD, 2K, and 4K. To take on the issue of high-speed file transfer, this camera encodes high-res alternate files in parallel when using 2K, and 4K production formats, allowing smooth and rapid and accurate offline editing, with a range of bit rates from 6 Mbps all the way down to 1.5Mbps.  Proxy streaming, Metadata management, along with wireless workflows are also available.

Panasonic’s new expressP2 card with a high frame rate, as well as 4K recording, is included in the VariCam 35.  There’s a total of four slots for memory cards (two expressP2 & two microP2). The expressP2 card can record up to 130 minutes of 4K/24p content.  The microP2 card can record HD or 2K at standard frame rates.

The VariCam 35 includes the following interfaces for the broadcast professional: 3G-HD-SDI x2 for RAW output; 3G-HD-SDI x4 for 4K QUAD output; 48KHz audio, two XLR inputs to record four channels of 24-bit, and HD-SDI out for monitoring (down-converting from 4K). A multi-connector facilitates/enables easy docking of the camera head and the recording module. The camera has a standard 35mm PL mount; and, just when you thought you couldn’t pack in any more awesomeness, Panasonic added a removable control panel with easy access to simplify real-time control in a fixed position. The VariCam 35 is truly a wonderful piece of engineering.

The other Camera Panasonic is revealing and making available for distribution at the same time is the VariCam HS. This camera alsoPanasonic-VariCam-35-Removable-Control-Panel-616x421 includes the AVC-ULTRA suite of codecs. This allows exemplary Hi-def Images in even the most demanding situations. The 2/3″ camera head attaches to the AVC-ULTRA recording module to facilitate ease of use. Like the VariCam 35, its umbilical cable enhances its flexibility and range of usefulness, and it also features easily switchable camera heads. 

Three cutting edge, 1920 x 1080p MOS imagers give the VariCam HS a truly amazing 14  stops of latitude, similar to the VariCam 35.  This dynamic and broad range of control over lighting ranges combines with the 1080p native recording/operation to generate pristine images. The VariCam HS camera/recorder contains a classical RGB imager/prism system, providing full color resolution. One of the camera’s signature features is a real-time high frame rate and off-speed recording up to 240fps in 1080p (utilizing the  AVC-Intra Class100), combined with the ability to change frame rates during recordings. As a compliment to the stunning visual qualities the camera has an audio capability of 24-bit LPCM. 

The VariCam HS range of formats includes the AVC-Intra Class100 (recording as 1080/24p, 30p or 60p format with VFR (up to 240p), AVC-Intra Class200 (up to 30p/60i) and AVC-Intra Class4:4:4 (up to 30p). Where image quality is of paramount concern either the AVC-Intra Class200 or the AVC-Intra Class4:4:4 is recommended.

Dynamic Range Stretch image contrast management controls, FilmRec, and VideoRec can all have Logs added by the VariCam HS.  Panasonic’s Emmy Award-winning Chromatic Aberration Compensation technology is included with the VariCam HS to optimize the optical system.

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AVC-Intra Class4:4:4 is supported by 12-bit recording for its 1080p content, this allows 4:4:4 file-based workflows and is uniquely qualified to facilitate coloration fidelity and more exacting graduations in tone.  Working at twice the frame rate of the AVC-Intra Class100, the AVC-Intra Class200 reduces visual entropy and helps hone the recordings into master level studio quality thus enhancing and facilitating archiving and programming on a network level. AVC-Intra Class200 is a must for fieldwork and the capture of high quality images, as it is ideal for composing applications as well as usage with a green screen. Both the VariCam 35 and the VariCam HS will become available in the autumn this year (with pricing TBA).

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” 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.

 

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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.
Ryan Salazar
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