VariCam 35 the Wiser Choice

A camera is a camera, right? Well, not really. I wanted post about how one of my tools is changing how we shoot in the industry. It’s really easy to get techie on this stuff and I will do my best not to go there.  However, I really wanted to get the word out about this camera. Others, (the big three) use gain to slide for speed. Pushing into gain brings up a noisy picture. This also limits how the camera can be used…well until now.
 
The VariCam is a reflection of how we used to use film stock. If you need more light on your image… just load faster film. This camera works under that principle, it has the ability to adjust for a wider range of conditions. In addition to speed, the camera allows for faster set-ups, less light is needed, and shoots can be done without generators. Lighting set-up, like book lights, can be used under house power, resulting in big savings. Using fast film stock, you can start to see things that would be lost in the darkness. Shots at night become filled with color and dynamic light that would otherwise be lost.
 
This sample is a fantastic demonstration of just that. All Shot on the V35 camera.
Granbery Studios is the only media production group in Orange County with a Panasonic VariCam 35 (V35) camera. This camera is the main camera of choice for  Netflix and Amazon shows and has the same look and feel as ARRI at DCI 4K. What makes this camera special, is the true 4K image (DCI) which allows smooth and unrestricted camera work, and lets creators express their visions through the images. So how does it work and why should you take note? The way Panasonic does this is to tap each of the 14 million photo-sites twice, giving you switchable 800/5000 ISO control. There is no funny math on what this camera can do, it delivers exactly as promised.
 
Let me know if you want a demo, I’ll leave the lights off 🙂
 
Day two…nice hair Jeff

The camera requires less gear, less power and faster set-up times making it the ideal choice for interior scenes, low light and night shots. One thing that I love, is how much control I have in the studio. I can use one or two lights with cutters and other toys to give me the kind of results that would normally require much larger setups. I can also create very moody interviews and dynamic looks, using small light bars and light panels.

The camera uses the same profile data as ARRI Alexa, sending the same image to 2021 color space (I know blah, blah). In many cases, Arri and the V35 camera are used side by side. Both boasting 14+ stops of dynamic range. Arri in 3.5 K (UHD) and the V35 in full 4K (DCI) at 4:4:4 and both can do 120 FPS*.

 

Kitchen set-up: Note the lights in the roof are on. We matched the VariCam settings to work with the home lights, rather than spend time setting up additional light sources. That’s not something you can do with ISO800 cameras.

When a home was selected in Ladera Ranch, California to film videos for Wiser home energy management systems, the brand experience talent at Brainspur located in Nashville, turned to Granbery Studios to provide the best equipment, talent, and crew in the region. Extensive conversations and planning went into this two-day shoot. So when everyone arrived on site, it was less of an introduction and more like a reunion of old friends. When outside circumstances with the power, location, and weather presented challenges, the team was able to address each issue professionally and efficiently. In the end, the production was flawlessly executed, on time and under budget.

A little disclaimer: These samples are compressed 720p files and not big 4K files so you will see some compression and just a slight drift on color. I’m not sure how much my client may have colored the images, but I do want to thank them for sharing. Now, I get to share them with you. These were shot on location with a crew of 6 including teleprompter and audio and make-up.

Here are two samples. I dare you to see if you can spot where 800 ISO and 2500 ISO were used. Also, check out the flesh tones!

WiserEnergy_HomeOwner_NoURL from Jeff Granbery on Vimeo.

For many years, VariCam has been known for its quality of tones with people and this camera knocks tones out of the park. Even if you don’t grade the footage, the tones in REC709 color space are soft and warm. As a shooter of both film and stills, color is a key thing for me and this camera nails it. The first few projects I shot with this camera, I remember saying OMG, it’s like shooting film again. Not that I’m stuck on the “good old days”, but this camera has tone and depth. In the past, even some of my best cameras tended to be magenta or RED in color.  (Pun in tended, if you got that)
 

 

We love to travel and we also love to work with production companies that travel to our home base in Orange County, California.

 

Exterior at ISO 1200 using 12×12 overhead and a Joker 800.

Here is a little PR about us. Yes it’s a shameless plug but it’s a pretty good article.

Meet Jeff Granbery of Granbery Studios

 

 

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