While we’ve been waiting with bated breath for the inevitable Panasonic-commissioned or -sponsored official or semi-official short movie shot with their soon-to-be-released, announced at NAB 2015, Panasonic AG-DVX200 4K handheld camcorder, a German director of photography named Sebastian Wiegärtner has released some early footage shot while on a Panasonic jaunt to Kyoto.
The short travelog-style movie is heavily graded in a style reminiscent of old Agfa color transparency films, rich in browns and brownish-greens, and heavily compressed given it has been released on Vimeo but viewing it or downloading then viewing in 3840×2160 is rewarding enough.
And we an make some deductions about how the camera originals may have looked given Mr Wiegärtner shares that he used the V-Log profile then applied a VariCam 35 Rec.709 camera profile before grading very hard then adding grain.
But while deductions are fine, and mine is that the DVX200 will be a very handy camcorder delivering a beautifully cinematic look, it would be even more rewarding to see the ungraded original. Herr Wiegärtner, will you kindly oblige, please?
Another consideration to bear in mind when viewing this short movie on Kyoto is that, not unlike the unit I saw at SMPTE2015 in Sydney recently, this was a pre-production camera with limits to its core functionality. I suspect that some controls that we can expect in the shipping version of the DVX200 were not present in the version that found its way into Mr Wiegärtner’s hands.
With all that in mind, and the prospect of DVX200-specific camera profiles appearing from LUT vendors like LookLabs, Koji Color and others, we are in for a very exciting time come this October when the DVX200 is released to market. For me at least, this is one of the most intriguing cameras of the year and it will make a fine video-only companion to my beloved GH4 video/stills hybrid.
KYOTO – A Panasonic AG-DVX200 short film
Even with the declining Australian dollar, most likely to be worth around US$0.50 then, the DVX200 will be an attractive proposition – a lightweight, powerful, high quality indie documentarian’s dream camera with a great Leica lens that should play well and whose footage should edit well with V-Log L GH4 video shot with wider and possibly longer focal lengths than the built-in zoom’s 29.5mm to 384.9mm, f/2.8 to f/4.5 at 4K/UHD.
Other very attractive features in the DVX200 include a five-axis hybrid image stabilizer, 4x correction-area image stabilizer (I am looking forward to learning exactly that means soon), three manual operation rings for zoom, focus and iris control, two SD card slots, selectable worldwide master frame rates, and, of course, the optical qualities of a Leica lens.
I am now considering adding a native Panasonic Leica lens or two to my GH4 kit to better match shots and for the delights of Leica’s famous micro-contrast and warm, rich color rendition that I knew so well in my Leica rangefinder days.
Many thanks to No Film School, whose article ‘ The First Footage from the Panasonic DVX200 Looks a Lot Like the GH4, Which Is Great' drew my attention to ‘Kyoto' by Sebastian Wiegärtner. [bctt tweet=”Sebastian Wiegärtner releases exciting early footage from the Panasonic DVX200 M43 camcorder.”] Via Vimeo Description:
Director of Photography:
Finally online! The worldwide first footage of the brand new Panasonic AG-DVX200!
Shot on a pre production model in UHD resolution and 50p. Sadly the compression of Vimeo and YouTube is so high, you just really can't judge the image. All I can say: This is the perfect camera for Documentaries and fast TV work stuff, where you have to be fast and where you still want to achieve a cinematic image. Due to the M4/3 sensor it's way easier to focus than with a Super 35 or Full Frame sensor. Almost everything shot full wide open. Native ISO of this camera is 500.
I used the flat V-Log profile, applied VariCam 35 Rec 709 and graded everything very hard + added some grain to the footage. This was shot during the Panasonic #DVX4Ktour. Shot on Location in Kyoto, Japan.
(cover photo credit: snap from the video)