‘Strange Days on Planet Earth’ shot with Panasonic VariCam HD cameras

Panasonic Varicams capture the mysteries behind PBS' show "Strange Days on Planet Earth" on land and water.

National Geographic will present a series that explores baffling natural mysteries shot in HD with Panasonic VariCam cinema cameras.

“Strange Days on Planet Earth,” which premieres April 20 on PBS, will examine crumbling houses in New Orleans linked to voracious creatures from southern China; vanishing forests in Yellowstone linked to the disappearance of wolves; and an asthma epidemic in the Caribbean that’s linked to dust storms in Africa.

Panasonic’s AJ-HDC27 VariCam replicates many of the key features of film-based image acquisition, including 24fps images, time-lapse recording, and a wide range of variable frame rates (4fps to 60fps in single-frame increments) for overcranked and undercranked off-speed in-camera effects. The AJ-HDC27 also features CineGamma software that permits it to more closely match the latitude of film stocks.

Production for each of the four one-hour episodes took place on land and underwater in locations such as Nigeria, Alaska, St. Thomas, Trinidad, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Amsterdam, Venezuela and Yellowstone National Park.

Five VariCam cameras worked simultaneously: one camera for each of the four episodes, one for sequences with scientists featured in the series, and a separate natural history unit photographed animals and plants. An underwater unit shot both scientists and natural history in the Caribbean, Australia, and on California’s Pacific Coast. The series encompassed all types of natural history production with a variety of lenses, including macro photography and microscopy.

Throughout the seven-month production, camera packages were rented from Abel Cine Tech in New York City.

For more information, visit www.pbs.org/strangedays and www.panasonic.com/hdworld (opens in new tab).

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