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A Decade of Vanguards, #5

Jan 29, 2010 12:00 PM, By Barry Braverman

Variable-frame-rate camcorders.

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Panasonic AJ-HDC27V

Panasonic AJ-HDC27V

The advent of the Panasonic AJ-HDC27V Varicam in 2001 ushered in a wealth of creative possibilities for video shooters, many of whom were long accustomed to the versatility of variable-frame-rate film cameras. Suddenly, the Varicam made possible the production of a broad range of programming, including wildlife, sports, and commercial production. The camera enabled often subtle but strategically significant shifts in frame rate, critical to the cinematographer's storytelling craft. Unlocking the camcorder from the bonds of fixed 29.97fps image capture, the 24p Varicam exploited a clever system of keeper frames to enable capture of video from 1fps to 60fps.

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The following year in 2002, Panasonic introduced the revolutionary AG-DVX100, which offered true 24p recording (and workflow) for the first time in an economical tape-based camcorder. Thus the DVX offered a major leap forward for narrative filmmakers, commercial shooters, and other artists seeking the cinematic 24p look and feel. The MiniDV tape still operated (as it must!) at a constant 29.97fps. In this case, the DVX100 introduced the unconventional notion of true 24fps recording via advanced pulldown to achieve the desired 24p workflow in the NLE timeline for ultimate output to film and cinema screens, and DVD.

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