At an event held in LA at the Directors Guild Theater, Panasonic introduced the VariCam LT, it’s next-gen of 4K cinema cameras. The lightweight The VariCam LT camcorder features the super 35mm sensor and imaging capabilities that its VariCam 35 offers, but with reductions in size, weight and price.
Incorporating this identical imaging “DNA” in a more compact rendition, the VariCam LT (model AU-V35LT1G) delivers 14+ stops of dynamic range with V-Log, and cinematic VariCam image quality and color science, as well as the VariCam 35’s dual native ISOs of 800/5000.
Weighing in at just at under six pounds, the VariCam LT is suited for handheld, SteadiCam, jib, crane, drone, gimbal and overall cinema verité work. The VariCam LT will also target owner/operators, independent filmmakers, documentary makers and corporate productions.
The VariCam LT will be available at the end of March in two packages, with a suggested list price of $18,000 (body only) and $24,000 (body + AU-VCVF10G viewfinder).
The VariCam LT handles formats ranging from 4K, UHD, 2K and HD, and like the VariCam 35, is fully capable of High Dynamic Range (HDR) field capture. The new 4K camcorder offers Apple ProRes 4444 (up to 30p) and ProRes 422 HQ (up to 60p) support for HD recording, as well as Panasonic’s AVC-ULTRA family of advanced video codecs.
New codecs introduced in the VariCam LT include AVC-Intra LT and AVC-Intra 2K-LT, both of which are designed to offer capture rates up to 240fps in imager crop mode, ideal for sports and other fast motion footage.
The new camera features color management capabilities along with VariCam’s extended color gamut and support for the Academy Color Encoding System (ACES) workflow, which allows for full fidelity mastering of original source material. The VariCam LT offers in-camera color grading, with the ability to record an ungraded 4K master along with all on-set grading metadata. A new color-processing feature is V-Look, which acts as a blend of V-Log and video, and allows filmic documentary acquisition without the same need for intense color grading.
The VariCam LT differs from the VariCam 35 in being a one-piece, short-bodied camcorder versus a two-piece camera head plus recorder. While the VariCam LT does not feature parallel sub-recording, it does have an SD slot for high-resolution proxy recording. Proxy files can be wirelessly uploaded via FTP, which facilitates wireless color grading. Variable frame rates are available with LongG6 recording.
There is one expressP2 card for all formats, including high frame rate and HD/2K/UHD and 4K recording (the 256GB expressP2 card can record up to 90 minutes of 4K/4:2:2/23.98p content). RAW output from SDI will likely be supported by a firmware upgrade in early summer 2016.
The VariCam LT features an EF mount (vs. the VariCam 35’s PL mount), suitable for the wide array of lenses available for smaller cameras. The EF mount can be switched out to a robust standard PL mount, expanding the range of compatible lenses that can be used. The control panel can be separated from the camera body to facilitate realtime control and easy menu access. The camcorder has a production-tough magnesium body to assure durability and reliability in challenging shooting locations.
Other features new to the VariCam LT are power hot swap, IR shooting (further enhancing the camcorder’s extreme low-light capture at ISO 5000), 23.98 PsF output and image presets as scene files.
Among the camcorder’s top-level production assets are ND filters (CLEAR, 0.6, 1.2, 1.8), an optional OLED electronic viewfinder (EVF) with optical zoom functionality, 24-bit LPCM audio for in-camera audio master recording, Focus Assist, anamorphic lens de-squeeze, special REC functions (PreRec, interval, one-shot), IP control via Panasonic’s AK-HRP200 camera remote controller, and built-in GPS.
Pro interfaces include 3G-HD-SDI x 3 (SDI-OUT X 2 and VF), LAN, genlock in, timecode in/out, USB2.0 Host and USB2.0 Device (mini B) and three XLR inputs (one 5-pin, two 3-pin) to record four channels of 24-bit, 48KHz audio. In addition, its flexible interfaces allow use of the Panasonic AU-VCVF10G viewfinder, as well as third-party viewfinder solutions.