Suspense thriller shot with Panasonic VariCam

Despite the low budget, ‘Dismal’ producers were able to film in HD quality in less than three weeks.

Director of photography Jean-Guy Bureau shot the upcoming 1944 Films production “Dismal,” a suspense thriller set in Virginia’s Great Dismal Swamp, with a Panasonic AJ-HDC27 VariCam HD Cinema camera.

Director and producer Ray Brown told Bureau that he wanted to shoot in HD for the quality, but that they needed something light and manageable. Bureau suggested the VariCam for this and because he thought it would give the best performance in low, natural light.

Bureau said that the VariCam was his preferred HD camera because of its easy-to-use menus, weight and balance that is ideal for hand-held use and its resistance to extreme weather conditions. He shot predominantly with a Canon HJ 21x7.5B HD zoom, and did some work with a Fuji prime 5mm lens. Both the off-line and online edits were done on Avid systems.

For more information about “Dismal,” visit

For more information about Panasonic’s VariCam, visit