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Old September 20th, 2014, 09:09 PM   #1
Obstreperous Rex
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A Critical Look at Varicamís Latest Demo Reel

Originally Posted by Art Adams
Iíve waited a long time for a single sensor Varicam, and it looks like that wait may be coming to an end. But is it everything I want it to be? A look at Panasonicís latest demo material says ďMaybe yes, maybe noÖĒ
Read the full article at A Critical Look at Varicamís Latest Demo Reel at DV Info Net

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Chris Hurd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 21st, 2014, 12:19 AM   #2
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Re: A Critical Look at Cionís New Demo Reel


Another great article by you. First I want to say thank you for always providing us DVI readers with opinions you back up with facts. In the case of this review we can actually see the points you make for ourselves because you were reviewing footage we can all see. Great job.

Now I am going to back up a bit. One of your previous articles addressed ďwhy you donít buy camerasĒ, I wrote a reply to that article but I am busy. When it was half done I hit delete instead of post. I wish I had not done that. You were spot on with that article too. And it applies to many of us at DVI. I am not a cinematographer, I do not work in your world and I donít claim to. I am a meat and potatoes working videographer that specializes in corporate video productions. To narrow that wide ranging category down Lets say two of my main areas of video production are executive interviews on one end and the other is live ballroom productions. Two extremely different environments. For the executive interviews I own cameras. Those are usually entry level professional or prosumer grade cameras. They make perfect financial and image quality sense. I am not held to broadcast quality standards in terms of technical specifications there. I am held to very high visual quality standards. My clients love the results I can produce with those cameras. The ballroom productions are a different story. Before someone thinks business meetings means I shoot some guy standing at a podium with low ceilings and florescent lights (sometimes I do) that is not the case. I produce everything from that on up to multi-cam, HD productions with everything controlled remotely by an engineer shading all cameras, live switching, and I-Mag. Some of those shows have very large budgets and all the flare of an off Broadway production. With all of those variables it would be ridiculous for me to invest in high end broadcast cameras of my own because it is my job to adapt to the budget and needs of each client. The cameras I use for my productions vary widely from one show to the next. I must understand them all and know what will best serve the client. So my point is you donít have to be a DP working in your genera to understand that article ether. It applies to a lot of us and I do not work in Hollywood or San Francisco.

With that said what does it have to do with your article, A Critical Look at Cionís New Demo Reel? I am always in search of the perfect camera that would meet my far ranging needs to reduce my camera rental costs and provide me a high ROI. That camera does not exist yet, perfection never will exist, but I look at new offerings just to see what is coming.

The bottom line of my comments about your article on the Cion is this. The credit for such an open and honest review of that cameras demo reel should go to Chris Hurd. I love paper magazines, I subscribe to several of them about various interests of mine. The one thing I do not like about them is the so called reviews. You will never read a review article in any print magazine as honest as what you just said about AJAís demo reel. They canít print it because they are supported by ads from the manufacturer of the item being reviewed. I donít care if it is cameras, guns, or home theater systems it is all the same in print magazines. But here at DVI things are different. I have to hand it to Chris Hurd on this one because he does he DOES have a vested financial interest in what you said about that camera and he had the gonads to publish it anyway. The few paid sponsors he has that keep this site alive sell that camera. But here is your honest and not so glowing opinion of what AJA put out there to sell that camera! Articles like yours and an editor (wrong tile) like Chris Hurd are why I have been an active member of this community since it was called the XL-1 Watchdog. Honest, unbiased, information about many products is hard to find these days. So I commend Chris for publishing this piece, and to you Art, I say keep the information coming. I come to DVI to stay informed. The day that information becomes censored by the financial attitudes of itís sponsors is the day I will seek to be informed someplace else!

Good for you Chris, keep it coming. Art, thank you for keeping me informed. Not only that, here at DVI we can ALL throw our own opinions, facts, or questions into the ring. Letís keep it real!

Been at this so long I'm rounding my years of experience down...not up!
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Old September 21st, 2014, 08:25 PM   #3
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Re: A Critical Look at Varicamís Latest Demo Reel

Great work. And good to see Panasonic bringing back their color knowledge,

I am wondering if it was possible to bring this color science to the stills division, such as GH4, LX100, GM5. They have a strong video look, perhaps interesting for japanese customers but it turns me off whever I see a GH4 vimeo video.
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Old September 22nd, 2014, 01:50 PM   #4
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Re: A Critical Look at Cionís New Demo Reel

Thanks, Steven. I really appreciate Chris publishing it. I gave him the option of scaling it back and he said, "No, just go with it." (I toned it back anyway, although without cutting content.)

AJA's demo just made me really angry. It's like they're trying to pull something on us. The footage they showed clearly has flaws, it avoids some common but difficult situations that cameras have to handle, and it was shot in a very amateurish style. After all the hype I've read about the camera, and after reading how they boasted about this footage, I just had to respond.

I'd love for them to make a great camera, and maybe they have. But... they have to prove it. I don't see any evidence for that yet. As soon as it shows up I'll write about it.

I do appreciate the freedom I have here. Adam Wilt is scrupulously honest in his reviews (and in real life, as I can attest, as he's a friend) and I'm glad he's here too.

Thanks for your kind words. If you ever think I'm not keeping it real... call me on it. :)

Art Adams | Director of Photography
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Old September 22nd, 2014, 08:10 PM   #5
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Re: A Critical Look at Cionís New Demo Reel

Many thanks, Steven -- much appreciated. The policy here is that advertising does not affect editorial.

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Old September 29th, 2014, 02:23 AM   #6
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Re: A Critical Look at Cionís New Demo Reel

A very critical analysis indeed, thanks. However I watched the footage a couple times and although I wasn't very impressed I didn't see anything as glaring as what was presented in the caps from the article. Here is a screencap with the vimeo player on the left and a still from the article on the right. Where are the smurftones coming from? The variations in skin tone are alarming.
Attached Thumbnails
A Critical Look at Varicamís Latest Demo Reel-screen-shot-2014-09-28-11.27.01-pm.png  
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Old October 26th, 2014, 06:47 PM   #7
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Re: A Critical Look at Cionís New Demo Reel


Thank you for such a thorough article (as always). I was quite disappointed with the reel, also by the fact that no one pointed out the obvious flaws. When I was at IBC this year I asked them why the footage looked so crushed and blown out and everything you don't want to see in a camera in 2014. They didn't understand what I meant.

Even on the monitors at the booth it looked awful. Buy after loitering around a bit (and gravitating back towards the booth a couple of times) I found one of their monitors behind a corner did showed something completely different than what we see on vimeo: it held really nice shadows, was much less saturated and the highlights looked much more natural. When I pointed this out, they reacted quite surprised. They hadn't noticed. What?

Which led me to beccome very worried. Do they not care, or do they not see? I thought they had needed to rush the footage through post, but they assured me they really took their time for it. I don't understand.

This being said. I loved how the camera balanced on the shoulder and was to hold in general.

So... why don't they just look into this and respond with a corrected version or put out some better footage? Can't be that hard, no?
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