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Panasonic’s Varicam LT is our first in house camera purchase and we couldn’t be happier.

Historically, we at Glued have shied away from investing in a camera for our production gear. Instead we have focused on postproduction equipment, ensuring a smooth workflow in our facility. With the ever-changing landscape of resolution and form factor we considered renting the best option to meet our alternating production demands whether is be a RED, ARRI or SONY. However, over the last couple of years we believe the market has plateaued. Don’t get us wrong, camera manufactures are still designing and building cameras that are capable of shooting a whopping 8K of resolution, shoot with greater light sensitivity and faster frame rates. However, with each of these attributes come greater more significant data storage requirements and higher demands on our processing power. Our clients often defer to us to recommend the final resolution of their projects. Frequently, the majority of our clients are happy with HD for their video output. The only reason for shooting at higher resolutions is to ensure their footage is future proofed.

Enter Panasonic with their Varicam LT, a camera that gives us the best of several worlds. This camera boasts the same 4K sensor as the larger Varicam 35. (The Netflix approved 4K camera that has been used on television programmes like Doctor Foster, Better Call Saul, Ozark and Orange is the new black).

Panasonic Varicam LT fitted with LanParte Mattebox

Panasonic Varicam LT with Samyang Prime Lens

So why did we buy the Varicam LT?

Frankly, the LT was at the top end of our budget but it was impossible for us to resist. We looked at our competitors and some of our freelance operators, most are shooting on the SONY FS7. A great camera capable of shooting 4k at 60fps. The Fs7 has been a trusted camera to film corporate and web content for the past 4 years. We just wanted something that would allow us to fulfil those type of jobs with abandon but also work harder for us.

So what can the Panasonic Varicam LT do?

Firstly, the minimum bit rate out of the camera despite what resolution you record is 10 bit. This means that the images remain, rich and deep in colour. It gives us 14+ stops of dynamic range, which means we can manipulate clips in post to boost brightness, contrast and saturation.

The camera can shoot 4K and UHD(3840×2160) up to 60fps and 2k and HD(1920×1080) up to 240fps. That is slow enough to fulfil most slow motion requirements asked of us.

Over the past few years we have also seen an increase in cameras capable of filming in low light conditions and still capturing stunning footage. This is where the Varicam LT impresses. It’s Super 35mm sensor has Dual native ISO of 800 and 5000. This means that we can film in low light situations without drastically increasing the noise (grain) within the image.

This shows the low light capabilities of the S35 Varicam sensor

Varicam same shot filmed at Native ISO 800 & 5000.

So how can the Varicam LT work harder for us? Another great feature that appealed was the ability to change the lens mount from EF to PL allowing us to use a plethora of spherical and anamorphic lenses, bringing up both image quality and production value. To see the full spec sheet visit http://pro-av.panasonic.net/en/varicam/lt/spec.html

Despite there being many options and formats to record in we can extend our options with the addition of a RAW recorder. This would give us the highest picture quality from the camera and allow us to manipulate our captured images to their uttermost. To see an example of our work shot on the Varicam LT click Ted Todd’s Rare finds story.

We will be posting some of our experiments and findings with the Varicam in the future. To find out more information or to discuss a future project contact our Creative Director, Ben Sutherland via ben@gluedfilms.com or call us on 0161 929 4519.

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