• Professional Camera Solutions

VariCam brings the house down

A new children’s production for CBeebies, shot entirely on the Panasonic VariCam 35  airs today (Monday 22nd May). 

With a diverse cast and messaging tackling issues appropriate to youngsters, Apple Tree House is developed by the producers of award winning TV series Rastamouse.

 The series consists of 30 x 15-minute episodes and combines live-action and animation in an engaging fusion. With shooting led by Director of Photography Kelvin Richard, the live-action sequences were captured entirely on the VariCam 35, supplied by 24-7 Drama in London.

Animators working on the show, produced by Gregory Boardman and Eugenio Perez for rights holder Five Apples, wanted the highest possible quality for the transition scenes, and the VariCam delivered, recording in true 4K that required little post-production processes to clean up.

 "The animators wanted much higher quality than Pro Res 422 HQ, and also they wanted to use true 4K rather than 2K or pseudo-4K as you would find on a lot of other cameras. The only one that does it natively and internally is the VariCam," said Director of Photography, Kelvin Richard. "In order to use on a dolly, handheld and easy rig, the camera also had to be as compact as possible. The VariCam 35 was able to satisfy both of those things."

 Thanks to the excellent colour reproduction and the unique dual-native ISO setting on the VariCam 35 (800/5000) the footage has not needed much adjustment. The production made use of this feature during filming, primarily shooting at the native 800 ISO but increasing this to 2500 ISO for a number of the low light scenes.

"We're only slightly touching what comes straight off the camera. It's quite a true look and is very complementary to the different flesh tones we have on the show which all reproduced well. Natively it looks great, so it's then just a case of whether you want to warm it up for the sensibility of your show," added Kelvin Richard.

Whilst on set, the intuitive interface as well as the great native output from the VariCam enabled Kelvin to start shooting quickly, without having to spend time adjusting settings on the camera every time. "Saving out setup data to SD card allowed us to load our additional cameras, when deployed, with the main camera set up parameters which made life a lot easier."

Combined with the flexibility offered by the additional native ISO, it made for an incredibly usable camera that allowed the Director of Photography to focus on capturing the perfect image, rather than being held back by the technology. "I personally prefer not to have to adjust settings constantly, because the more settings you have to change and check the more you're getting away from actually shooting the image. So to be able to just set up and know the image can be recorded faithfully is really helpful," added Kelvin Richard.

Episode one premieres at 5.35pm on Monday 22nd May on CBeebies. Read the full case study at: https://business.panasonic.co.uk/professional-camera/apple-tree-house

For more information on Panasonic Broadcast & ProAV, please visit https://business.panasonic.eu/broadcast-and-proav