The recently announced Panasonic VariCam35 and Codex Digital Alliance and the $60,000 price tag is a clear indication that Panasonic have their sights squarely aimed at the high end cinema market. While this promises to be a very capable system with a great deal of functionality, indie filmmakers may find themselves leaning in the direction of the AJA CION of the Blackmagic URSA.
[su_quote]LAS VEGAS, NV (April 7, 2014) – Panasonic today revealed updates to its new VariCam 35 4K camera/recorder, including Apple ProRes 4444 and ProRes 422 HQ* support for HD recording, as well as a strategic product development alliance with Codex Digital to deliver a high-speed 4K uncompressed RAW recorder for the VariCam 35 camera.
“Given the prevalence of ProRes as a popular editing format within the production community, its inclusion in the VariCam 35 will position the new camera/recorder solidly within a well-established and widely accepted HD workflow,” said Steve Cooperman, Senior Product Manager, Panasonic System Communications Company of North America. (The ProRes codec component is licensed from ATOMOS Global Pty. Ltd., which has shipped ProRes recorders for years.)
Codex Digital, an industry leader in RAW recording and workflow, is working closely with Panasonic to develop a dedicated recorder that will capture uncompressed 4K VariCam RAW (V-RAW) at up to 120fps, bolstering the VariCam 35’s suitability for high-end cinema applications. The Codex V-RAW recorder will directly connect with Panasonic’s VariCam35 camera, eliminating cabling completely to facilitate greater efficiency and higher mobility.
VariCam 35 workflow scenarios will be previewed at NAB: Assimilate’s SCRATCH will demonstrate V-RAW debayering and grading workflow at Panasonic booth C3607, and Grass Valley’s EDIUS will show seamless AVC-Intra 4K editing at the Panasonic and Grass Valley (SL206) booths.
The VariCam 35 incorporates a newly-developed super 35mm MOS image sensor and Panasonic’s AVC-ULTRA family of video codecs. The new camera’s superb image handling in multiple formats including 4K, UHD, 2K and HD make it an unparalleled tool for high-end filmmaking, commercials and episodic production, as well as live 4K events.
With its innovative design, the 4K camera module (AU-V35C1) is separate but dockable to the recording module unit (AU-VREC1), which is also interchangeable with Panasonic’s new 2/3” camera module (AU-V23HS1). This system flexibility can be expanded with an umbilical cable between the s35mm 4K camera and the AVC-ULTRA recorder, providing “box” camera functionality for jibs, cranes and other “remote” camera needs. This common recorder module system enables professionals to switch between s35mm and 2/3” camera heads to best suit their creative needs.
“Evoking the VariCam heritage of gorgeous, cinematic image rendition, this VariCam 35 establishes new standards for 4K production,” said Cooperman. “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.”
The VariCam 35 utilizes a new Panasonic super 35mm MOS sensor for 4096 x 2160 (17:9) 4K image capture; this imager when combined with the AVC-ULTRA codecs for 4K enables very manageable and practical 4K production file sizes. The new imager boasts an impressive 14+ stops of latitude, and faithfully captures high-contrast, wide dynamic range imagery without compromise.
Powerful color management capabilities provide a much extended color gamut for impeccable image fidelity, and permit support for an Academy Color Encoding System (ACES) workflow for full fidelity mastering of original source material. The VariCam 35 also affords in-camera color grading.
To maximize the dynamic range of the recorded images, Panasonic has developed a new log curve (V-Log) which elegantly maps the 14+ stops of image data to the recorded file. The VariCam 35 permits the assignment of various LUTs to individual recording channels and camera outputs. For example, shoot UHD and record non-destructively with the V-Log LUT, but assign a ”baked-in” 709 LUT on the HD / proxy recording for editing. The camera’s monitor and EVF outputs have similar selectable LUT capabilities.
Among the camera/recorder’s top-level production features are real-time, high frame rate, variable speed 4K recording up to 120fps, providing the capability for master level 2K/HD recording, and advanced workflows with parallel simultaneous 4K/ UHD, reference 2K/HD and proxy recordings for in-camera on-set color grading and monitoring / editing ease. The camera
also features a newly-developed OLED electronic viewfinder (EVF) with optical zoom functionality. Lastly, 24-bit LPCM audio is added for in-camera audio master recording.
The VariCam 35 will deliver an unprecedented breadth of recording formats, including 4K and UHD in AVC-ULTRA 4K, and 2K and 1080p HD in AVC-Intra 100/200** and ProRes. Addressing the need for high-speed file exchange, the camera encodes high-resolution proxy files in parallel with 4K and 2K production formats, enabling fast, efficient offline editing, at bit rates from 6 Mbps down to 1.5Mbps. Metadata management will also be available.
The VariCam 35 will use Panasonic’s new expressP2 card for high frame rate and 4K recording. The camera is equipped with a total of four memory card slots, two for expressP2 cards and two for microP2 cards. The new 256Gbyte expressP2 card can record up to 130 minutes of 4K/24p content. The microP2 card is designed for recording HD or 2K at more typical production frame rates.
Professional interfaces include: 3G-HD-SDI x4 for 4K QUAD output; an HD-SDI out for monitoring (down-converting from 4K); and two XLR inputs to record four channels of 24-bit, 48KHz audio. A multi-connector facilitates docking the camera head to the recording module. In another striking design innovation, the VariCam 35 boasts a removable control panel to facilitate real-time control and easy access when the camera is in a fixed position. The VariCam 35 features a standard 35mm PL mount.
The VariCam 35 will launch fall 2014, with a suggested list price under $60,000, including EVF.[/su_quote]
For further information about Panasonic professional video products, visit www.panasonic.com/broadcast.