• VariCam provides a pleasant surprise

VariCam provides a pleasant surprise

Panasonic VariCam used to film Sky 1 comedy-drama Mount Pleasant

Prior to filming the sixth series of Mount Pleasant, Tiger Aspect Productions and Rental Company 24/7 held tests to decide which broadcast camera would be most suitable for the production. 

Tiger Aspect had a criteria to find a camera that would produce both great quality and images that would reflect the vibrant, colourful feel of the program. The tests looked at various LUTS, the range of the sensor, dual ISO and side by side comparisons.

With its faithful colour reproduction, the renowned VariCam look and its progressive workflows for the production industry, the producers opted for Panasonic's VariCam 35 following its performance in these tests.


Making the right choice

Mark Devlin, Line Producer for Mount Pleasant, said, “The Panasonic VariCam 35 has been fabulous. It has been so easy and a seamless change, we haven’t been surprised by any costs sneaking up on us. The codec is so efficient that we've managed to switch from HD to 2K without any kind of increase in the amount of storage required.”

"It's been brilliant."

“We liked the look of the Panasonic. I didn’t think there would be much difference in the colour reproduction but it was actually quite noticeable, it’s higher resolution. It fits with the show, which is a happy pleasant show."

"Mount Pleasant is about being sunny and bright, it’s always sunny in Mount Pleasant. The colours seemed to zing and it was an obvious choice really."

“We’ve got a camera with a look and feel that really suits this show and the Director of Photography is really happy with,” continued Mark Devlin.


Use of features

Andy Hollis, Director of Photography for Mount Pleasant, explained, “I think this is everyone’s first time working with the VariCam. Once you know where the buttons are everything falls to hand very easily.

“..for us it works beautifully”

“This is a busy show, we have got a lot of scenes to get through in a day. If it was any slower or harder to understand then we wouldn’t be able to use it, for us it works beautifully.

“On this programme, with the sunny feel, it just makes all the colours very natural. The costumes are very bright on the show; it’s showing them really nicely, it’s representing them really well.

"When we were exploring the options we did look at 4K. Soon 4K will be essential. This time round it didn't work for us but we have been able to upgrade to 2K rather than HD which we were on previously."

The VariCam has a 35mm MOS image sensor, features wide dynamic range and an expansive colour gamut. It also has dual native ISO settings of 800 and 5000. The native 5000 ISO allows for clean shooting in very low light situations.

“We had a couple of night shoots that were in quite sensitive areas, and so we didn’t want to put up big lighting rigs. I decided to go with some security lights in a police compound, and use the dual native ISO settings, we upped it to 5000 and it was great, but probably too light as we had plenty of light. I set the ISO to 3200 in the darker areas. It saw all of the detail, it's a really good, really useful feature.”

Andy Hollis explains, “The view finders are fantastic; as we’re shooting we’re getting a really good sense of what we’re getting without having to go and sit at an expensive monitor. They are top of the range view finders. Even in very bright sunlight they are great to look through."


VariCam LT

Tiger Aspect also used the VariCam LT for a number of in-car scenes that required the camera operator to go handheld, which highlights the suitability of the VariCam LT as an additional camera for special shots within a production.

“It’s very easy to change the green or magenta shading. If you’re shooting through windscreens or anything like that on cars that have a green tinge, with a couple of tweaks of a button we can get rid of those twinges.”

 “As a choice of camera I would certainly use the Panasonic VariCam 35 again. I think the look of it, the colours, and the whole range of sensors are really nice,” said Andy Hollis. 

The new series airs on Sky 1 later in 2016.