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Panasonic Varicam LT - Need field advice


Darmon Moore
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Good Morning, Afternoon & or Evening to who is reading this.

I'm an owner operator out of Sydney, Australia. Recently I've had two major issues on set with an Ursa G2 which has lead me to get rid off it as I can't afford to have major malfunctions on set with paying clients who expect gear that works.

Currently I'm renting for jobs, which is great for some jobs, but not financially beneficial for a lot of my work. Now, I find myself in the market for a reliable system that can deliver high-end files etc etc etc. 

I'm considering the usual, Arri, Red etc (although I do rent these for jobs that require it). However, I've always been quite intrigued by the Panasonic Varicam LT, and I will be renting one soon to get to know the colour science & camera in general a little better.

Finally to my question - There is clearly a huge lack of material based around the Varicam LT, which is why I turn to ya'll.  Is there anyone here that can shed some light on the system and how it has worked for them in the field? There are sub 500 hour kits going for under $10K which seems like an absolute bargain when you see the camera on paper.

Any information regarding the camera pro or con will be ultra helpful. 

Thank you in advance,

Darmon Moore

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Posted (edited)

for sure an under rated camera. Panasonic did everything right and the market just didn't take it in.

Better picture then any sony/canon offering still I'd say. Great DR.

sadly people don't request it though.

Great value

the TV series "Master of None" was shot on it ...good reference to see what its capable of with good production.

Edited by Albion Hockney
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We supplied Varicams for the upcoming ABC drama Savage River, shot by the indefatigable legend Don McAlpine.

He used Varicams on the 2017 movie Ali's Wedding and has been an ardent convert ever since. 

Here he talks about using them at an ASC meet:

 

And again:

 

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21 hours ago, Albion Hockney said:

for sure an under rated camera. Panasonic did everything right and the market just didn't take it in.

Better picture then any sony/canon offering still I'd say. Great DR.

sadly people don't request it though.

Great value

the TV series "Master of None" was shot on it ...good reference to see what its capable of with good production.

Thanks for the reply mate. As I expected, the sheet specs live up to what they're claiming. Such a shame the market didn't take it in.

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Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, Dom Jaeger said:

We supplied Varicams for the upcoming ABC drama Savage River, shot by the indefatigable legend Don McAlpine.

He used Varicams on the 2017 movie Ali's Wedding and has been an ardent convert ever since. 

Here he talks about using them at an ASC meet:

 

And again:

 

Thanks Dom. Great material! Don has confirmed what I thought this camera could do. The 5K ASA would be a real saving in the lighting department if needed! 

Edited by Darmon Moore
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  • 3 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Probably the best looking camera there is! (certainly is if you exclude ARRI and VENICE)

Incredible lowlight!

But:

Nobody will ever be requesting. You'd be better off owning a FX6 or FX9. (or even a FS7 or C300mk2/mk3)

It is kinda heavy. (more like a FX9 at least, than a FS7! More than your URSA Mini)

Kinda annoying have to reboot every time you change your frame rate. 

P2 cards are crazy expensive. (recording externally to a Shogun instead is a workaround for this problem)

Timecode menu is a dumb idiotic design. (won't update like it should, even though it is jammed! Until you back out then you see the changes. Just a weird gotcha which might cause your soundie to have a heart attack or grow an extra grey hair or two, until they realize the issue. After that, then it is no big deal. Have shot a whole tv series last year working alongside 3x Varicam LT)

Edited by David Peterson
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