NEW YORK—In marketing myself as a Director/DP of branded content, I tell prospective clients that my work bridges the worlds of raw documentary filmmaking and studio beauty lighting. Moving between these different worlds gives me the experience to choose the right tools to tell the story, whether I’m directing crews on large film sets or working as a one-man documentary storyteller.
My current top acquisition tools are the one-two combination of Panasonic’s VariCam LT and AU-EVA1 4K cinema cameras. I’ve invested in both, backing up my initial purchase of the LT with the incremental buy of the EVA1. My first project using both cameras was a 90-second spot, “Eating Clean at the Holidays with the Rockettes,” with the LT as main camera and EVA1 as B cam. I was really impressed with how well the two cameras matched in V-Log. I also edited that video so I can attest to how well the cameras matched in post at ISO 800—I only had to tweak the curves a little bit on the EVA1 to synchronize.
A VARIETY OF LOOKS
Since then, I’ve teamed up the cameras to shoot extensive promotional work for NBC News’ marketing department (“Meet the Press,” “NBC Nightly News”), as well as branded corporate content for Big Four accounting firm Ernst and Young. Also, I am the DP on an upcoming Netflix science series where I used three LTs, and brought in my EVA1 for pick-up shots at the end, recording 4K ProRes out to an Atomos Shogun.
We shot the Netflix series—a variety show format aimed at a pre-teen/teen audience—with three LT bodies: our A camera built-up studio style, the second LT on our MoVi gimbal and the third as our B camera. We shot 4K internally, 4:2:2 AVC-Intra. We went for a lot of looks, requiring different lighting, and made significant use of the LT’s dual-native ISOs.
In retrospect, I’d say I really treated ISO 5000 like a film stock, for instance, dialing down from 5000 to 3200 for more grain, or dialing down from 5000 to 2000 while shooting 60p, which meant we didn’t have to light for slo-mo. We shot during the winter months, and pumping up the ISOs on some very short days would give us an extra 30-60 minutes of shooting.
I’ve been using the EVA1 as the A camera on several NBC brand campaigns that require a low profile documentary approach—the small, lightweight package is ideal for these run-and-gun scenarios (as you see in the accompanying photo, where I follow Lester Holt, shown as he’s about to throw out the first pitch at a Chicago White Sox game during a cross-country trip with the Nightly News). Or, alternatively, I’ll shoot handheld with the LT with the EVA1 on the MoVi.
For other shoots, I’ve set up two-camera interviews where I get A camera performance out of both the LT and EVA1, achieving an exceptionally high quality level at a very desirable price point.
Having both camera options assures me versatility as I move between high-end branded content and stripped-down documentary work.
A graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Joe has traveled the world shooting campaigns and docs for brands including GE, Merck, NBC News and National Geographic. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
For more information about Panasonic VariCam cinema and high-speed cameras, visit us.panasonic.com/varicam, or call 877-803-8492.