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Scott Auerbach

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About Scott Auerbach

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  • Occupation
    Cinematographer
  • Location
    United States
  • My Gear
    RED Epic, PX5000, AF-100, Lumix DSLR
  1. For the footage I edit myself, yeah, that's what I've done... 60fps at 359 degree shutter, then skip-frame process it. But the bulk of my work simply gets handed off to clients, and nobody wants to go through that mess. Not to mention the lost camera rental income. It has been an utter disaster.
  2. They assure me there are no hardware mods. They just enabled 720p downscales in 24/25/30 by firmware update last month (a year after shipping the cameras). I think they probably made a very calculated decision that they hadn't sold enough of them outside Japan to warrant fixing the firmware yet.
  3. Perhaps. I'm in contact with legal counsel about what the options are. As for reputational damage: they deserve everything that comes their way, IMO. And yes, I posted this as an educational "buyer beware," since in the past Panasonic was not known for ever engaging in this sort of shoddy behavior. Thus my willingness to risk an investment on a piece of kit that I felt certain would be fully implemented in the near future. It ended up causing serious financial harm to my business, and Panasonic's ongoing response for the last 7 months has been obfuscation, shrugged shoulders and a little outright deception. Not what I'd call good business ethics, by a long shot.
  4. As an owner, I agree. They were the first to bring the current software development paradigm (promise everything, ship only some of it after a series of unrealistic and missed deadlines, then deliver the rest incredibly late) to the camera business. They were a disruptive force in the industry, and I am convinced that we wouldn't have nearly the choices we have today without them, but they also opened a Pandora's box by how they operate their business.
  5. Normally I'd agree. But 14+ months to offer the most basic, essential functions to make the camera usable? There's nothing normal about THAT. It's just a stunning disregard for the customer once they have his/her money.
  6. Note that it says "Available in the near future." The original brochure, published in 2013, said "Available with firmware update." In fact, it was NOT available by firmware update, and still isn't, over 14 months after Panasonic started shipping the camera. They promise that it will come by the end of the year, but make no apologies for screwing people like me for over a year.
  7. Nope. The recently-released firmware (over a year after they started selling the camera) offers 24 and 25 for a 720p downscaled image. The 1080/24 and 1080/25 updates are promised by the end of the year... if you believe that... 15 months after Panasonic started selling the camera. Incredible bad-faith performance bordering on sheer deception.
  8. Agreed. (I'm a RED owner; I know all about broken promises!) That said, I'd never had --or even heard of-- a promised FW update taking over a year, when it was just to enable features that have been considered minimum, basic-operational standards for 15 years! It's clearly not that Panasonic didn't know how to engineer those features...they simply ignored the problem, and screwed all the people who had purchased their top-of-the-line, most expensive broadcast camera. So I have zero faith that they won't do the same to Varicam purchasers. It's also worth noting, as a caveat, that the 4k footage isn't currently supported by Adobe, Apple or Avid.
  9. Buyer beware: Panasonic is introducing the Varicam 35 in a hobbled state. 60 fps initially, with higher frame rates to come “in a future firmware update.” In 2013, I took delivery of a Panasonic PX5000 P2 ENG camera. It shipped with 60p/50p and 60i/50i (who shoots interlaced any more?!?) enabled, with 24p, 25p and 30p to come “in a future firmware update.” OVER A YEAR LATER, the camera STILL does not shoot 1080 at 24p, 25p or 30p. Last week they released a firmware update with those frame rates… FOR A 720 DOWNSCALED IMAGE from the native 1080 sensor. I’m told the 1080 update will come by the end of the year, but in the meantime, I’ve had a virtually useless camera for over a year. It has 70 hours on it, which is a small fraction of what I’d normally do in a year. I’ve gone for a year having to shoot jobs on either my crap little AF-100 (at a discounted day rate) or on my RED Epic, discounting it to ENG day rates and doing the downconverts to 1080 for free. I’ve also lost all rental opportunities, since nobody wants to shoot 60p or interlaced. In short, it has been a professional and financial DISASTER. Beyond that problem, Panasonic's $7500 100GS1 EVF has the worst shadow detail I've ever seen in a viewfinder. Per a Panasonic rep’s request, I dropped it off at a local vendor for him to pick up and send in for evaluation. A few days later, he called and said the service techs thought it looked fine… they wanted clarification on what the problem was. I sent examples, then went for three weeks without emails getting answered. Eventually he told me that the viewfinder was still at the vendor, and had never left the store. He had never even sent it for evaluation. There's a lot about the Varicam 35 that looks very appealing, but I’ve gotten to the point where I feel like Panasonic has become a company that simply can’t be trusted any more. Scott Auerbach DP, Sputnik Pictures
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