'Borat' Shot on Panasonic VariCams

The recently released "Borat" movie was shot with Panasonic Broadcast AJ-HDC27 VariCam high-definition cinema cameras.

The production used two VariCams, along with a Panasonic AG-DVX100 in making the motion picture. The film was edited on a Quantel iQ system and DaVinci 2K Plus technology was used for color correction work. An Arri Scan Laser was used to convert to film.

"Borat" required about five months of shooting in both the United States and Romania between 2004 and 2006. Panasonic VariCam technology was chosen to provide a natural and aesthetic image quality.

"In early conversations about which format to shoot the project on, everyone was very concerned about using larger cameras, as they might be too obtrusive and off-putting to the non-actors we'd be shooting," said Anthony Hardwick, director of photography. "There was speculation that the quality of a smaller camera like the DVX100 might hold up well enough for our 35mm blowup, but after the production team saw the tests that I shot, it was apparent that we needed at least 720 lines of resolution, leaving the only real contenders the VariCam and Sony F900."

"We opted for the VariCam based on the natural look of our test tape-to-film transfer, which looked like really clean Super16mm blown-up--it didn't scream 'video,'" Hardwick said. "The VariCam also afforded us the potential for high-speed sequences, and it was the superior choice in terms of size, weight and power management, all critical considerations as we shot the project predominantly handheld."

The Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. motion picture has been nominated for a Golden Globes Best Picture award.