Here are a few clips from our first week of shooting with the Panasonic Varicam LT.

Most of the footage was shot in 4k DCI @59.94 Avc-Itra LT codec. We also shot a number of interview at 4K UHD @23.98 and 29.97 in AVC 422.

Both codecs are very flexible in post, but our 2014 mac pro *with dual d700 graphics cards cannot handle frame by frame playback in FCPX unless we convert the LT codec to ProRes? Panasonic is aware of the issue and is working with apple to fix the problem.

The Good:
Robust codecs, Easy grading, incredible skin tones, and very good dynamic range. There are also a lot of options for additional frame rates and ProRes codecs in 2k and below. Audio is very clean! It takes a little while to figure out the meters, but once you assign the audio controls you can monitor it pretty easily, and the limiters work great. We currently have our camera set up with one lav mic and a short range shotgun mic for run and gun shooting and solo operation.

3 second prerecord is awesome!

Good support from Panasonic.

The Interesting:
So many assignable options and buttons. It’s hard to pick your favorites, but audio seems to be my go to assignments as well as VFR. Dual recording. The concept is very cool but the quality of the proxy recording could be a lot higher quality. As it is right now, it's really only usable for offline editing but not much else. Very grainy and burnt in frame rates that don't translate VFR settings.

The Bad:
Start and stop time when switching codecs. 10-16 seconds is a long time for documentary work. I really want 48 fps VFR in 4k so I can assign it without having to restart the camera. ProRes 2k 48/60fps VFR works like a champ!

I’ll be posting more videos soon and may do a tutorial on audio and this was my main hiccup the first week we shot with the camera. Coming from a DSLR background, this is a huge upgrade for us and I look forward to learning from more experienced operators out there.

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Varicam 35 and LT

Andrew Finkel

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