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Using the AG-AF100 series: Example 1

The film Kamihate Shoten
Shinji Ogawa, Japanese Society of Cinematographers (JSC), Film director and associate professor at Kyoto University of Art and Design What I Was Looking For: “Just Like Movie Film”  In addition to my work as director, I have a position as an associate professor at Kyoto University of Art and Design. For the past three years, I have been conducting a project in which I produce a movie with my students and show it at a public theater, once a year. As a single course of study at a small university, we don’t have the budget to record on film. We produced the last two movies by recording in DVCPRO HD 1080/24p format on a Panasonic AG-HPX500 series owned by the university. Our first effort, Ogonbana (“Golden Flower”) directed by Takeo Kimura, was converted to film using a kinescope and was shown in movie theaters across Japan in 2010. The following year we produced our second opus, Made in Japan—Kora!, directed by Banmei Takahashi. This time the movie was completely packaged in the DVCPRO HD 1080/24p format and debuted September 24, 2011. After the premiere at Kyoto Cinema, the movie will be presented at other venues in succession.  The third project in our series is Kamihate Shoten, directed by Tatsuya Yamamoto. This time I had really hoped to record on film for the students’ sake, but I abandoned the idea because of some reasons. Instead, I plumped for the AG-AF100 series almost as soon as it was released, as it can record with results similar to a 35 mm film camera. I felt secure in acquiring by this camera recorder, as the students were already used to using the AG-DVX100B series, another Panasonic camera. ■Gamma and gain settings  Because we were using the camera for the first time, we began by carefully conducting repeated test shoots and rushes in order to check gamma and gain levels. For gamma, we decided to use Cine-Like D or B.Press, depending on the situation.  The matrix we used was cine-like, H-detail and V-detail both –2, Chroma –3 and normal for everything else. To establish the right gain, we watched the feed on multiple monitors and projectors as well as waveform monitors. We concluded that the actual gain was about twice the ISO indicated on the camera settings, so we chose to use ISO 200 generally and measure the gain on the exposure meter using ISO 400. In fact, we used the exposure meter to create the light balance and determine iris settings. We then confirmed these settings using the camera and monitor waveforms to decide the final aperture values.  We connected the camera recorder to a Panasonic BT-LH80W 200.66 mm (7.9 inches) LCD monitor using an HD SDI interface. No major difference exists in the waveform monitor’s levels on the camera recorder and BT-LH80W, and the waveform monitor built into the camera was quite effective in determining aperture.


Because we didn’t have genuine support parts. Even with a wide-angle lens. sharp images. both the Cooke and Angenieux lenses exuded a soft. besides the university’s set of Carl Zeiss lenses (18. crisp. so in most cases I use the viewfinder to operate the camera recorder. could not be used at the same time as the monitor and the waveform and vector scope could be displayed on the monitor only. 45 . Look down shot with the 25 mm lens. We switched off the camera mike and did not connect the audio output onto the camera recorder.We changed lenses dozens of times a day. The Cine Varotal zoom is bulky and heavy. a 10x zoom lens from Cine Varotal. there were not many third-party support parts to choose from. All lenses used were 35 mm film camera lenses.  For lenses. changing lenses dozens of times a day. so we used them mainly for the flashback scenes. The Carl Zeiss lenses were similarly over 30 years old and features a triangular iris.  Having been manufactured over 40 years earlier. and another 10x zoom made by Angenieux. 35. but the lens turned out beautiful. so these became our main lenses. requiring considerable dexterity and effort to mount. As the AG-AF100 series had just been released. so we reserved it chiefly for location shots. it was a week before the start of shooting. The Cine Varotal was new and had no unusual characteristics. I usually don’t use the LCD monitor. as it varies depending on the shooting environment. We selected among these lenses on a scene-by-scene basis. We recommend also using a lens support for consumer still camera lenses when using it with the zooming feature. I recruited the help of the friends to borrow a set of Cooke lenses. retro look. We had to check the focus with a measuring tape every time. I believe that a lens support is necessary for the larger lenses. The professional lenses were quite stiff. 50 and 85 mm) . We obtained a Micro Four Thirds/PL mount and the additional New Arri/PL mount for the Carl Zeiss set lenses because their mount were New Arri. I had to settle for DSLR accessories.  When we had the camera and lenses in order. In a rush to buy everything we needed. 25. which we modified to create a lens support. The second camera assistant (one of the students) adjusted the focus. so students who were not used to them had a hard time mounting them. ■Shooting with a cine lens  I wanted to shoot in the style close to a film camera movie. we had to tie the lower support rod in place with rubber bands and fix it in place above with a free arm normally used for monitors. With our array of 13 lenses. We guess the mounts lineup will be expanded in the future. we allocated each lens to its appropriate task. Capability to simultaneously use both the monitor for waveforms and the viewfinder for images would have been desirable. so we separated the audio from the video recording. focus was rather unforgiving.

The camera recorder delivered smooth gradation in dark area. Noise from underexposure seems to be much less of a problem when using solutions such as HD NORM (normal gamma) or CINELIKE V. as I believe it is a crucial part of the art of moviemaking. as the sensor is large but not too large. such as indistinct focus and long sequences of images that are too soft. we set the aperture to F2. but rather to control depth of field appropriately according to conditions.  However. It was a good relief for us who gave up shooting in film. however. As it is the case with DSLRs. On this point the AG-AF100 series was easy to handle.Cine-Like D was selected to convey the cold. The idea was not to open the aperture up and make the depth of field shallow. We set the image darker and reduced the chroma.8–4 on the fixed focal lenses and to F4–8 on the zooms. a relatively wide-angle cinematic lens. and the intended area comes nicely into focus. 46 . the SN ratio in dark conditions did not seem to be improved over earlier models such as the AG-HVX200A series and AG-HPX170 series. Even with the 25 mm (F2. acquired through products such as the Varicam and DVX series. Creating Movie-like Quality in Underexposed Conditions  The AG-AF100 series is a beneficiary of Panasonic’s expertise in cine-like gamma. The difficulty of moving focus point correctly in a shallow depth of field is something that only those who have experienced it can appreciate. a shallow depth of field is appealing. ■Controlling the depth of field according to the situation  Our biggest reason for using a camera recorder with a large image sensor was to achieve a shallow depth of field.8). the AG-AF100 sereis might have proved inadequate in some cases. during shooting. recording the movie entirely in dark conditions would tend to make noise a problem. giving them a dull. Thankfully.  Open aperture was F1. but frequent shooting close to open aperture often causes failures. I wanted my students to experience this. lonely mood of winter on the Sea of Japan.2–1. bokeh is natural. If we had needed a shallower depth of field. To our eyes. we did not suffer a single abnormality the whole month.4 on the fixed focal lenses and F4 on the zoom lenses.

after the day’s shooting. to reduce the noise occurring in underexposed scenes. AVCHD 1080/24p format. Movie theater audiences would SanDisk SDHC memory cards (class 10). Above 110%. In this little shop disks. the lens used. which has barely changed in 100 years. It will be interesting to see to convert the data and save it in ProRes 422 format. we used Final Cut Pro professional cinematic lenses. will continue to hold all data on the SDHC memory cards without any deletions. using a camera recorder with a memory card to shoot a lonely port on the Sea of Japan. Given the never know they are watching a digital movie. but from 105% upward. we professionals the way the DVX series has. We chose to avoid creating a movie with dark scenes only.  Because we launched this project with the aim of creating a theater-ready film. Of course.6) lens. 16 GB is sufficient to hold 90 minutes of video recorded in PH mode at the AGand formats are always changing. detail was expressed. we backed up that onto SD memory. the old woman speaks to an unknown disk.  With the waveform monitor at 100%. nicely balanced production. performance advances constantly.CINE-LIKE D offers the widest dynamic range but the worst performance in terms of noise in dark area. Bokeh was easy to control regardless of to create a beautiful. The signal has changed from analog to digital. I wanted to use gamma that was as close to the dynamic range of film as possible. uses the Micro Four Thirds mount. yet the trees in the far background are clearly reproduced. which records AVCHD files Each evening. no detail was expressed and some color inversion was seen. we also had to control the area and strength of overexposed (bright) portions. others 47 . there are video. Our basic aim was was used to control aperture. no single writing/reading abnormality. transforming the expressive power at the high-exposure (bright) end. so we tried not to Shot with the 35 mm (F5. Our plan was to edit the ProRes 422 data on hard in the cold winter. electronic video has undergone tumultuous changes. On this fine day outside. a place known for suicides. long-lasting format. day’s original data onto three hard disks via a MacBook so it can use everything from amateur still lenses to Pro. the ND filter generate too many of these either. we encountered Video producers would love to see a commonly adopted. On one of these hard disks. digital video has moved from CCD to CMOS and from SD to HD. Before starting to acquire. and had to recover it from one of the hard precipice. earlier we had lost the data for last year’s a lonely shop run by an elderly woman and a sheer opus in editing. Morio Agata.  We recorded onto each card in turn until it was filled. A dizzying variety of AF100 series’ highest image quality. storing the other two disks as backup in a separate customer who has happened to drop in… location. backup the video files onto at least two hard disks when Plot summary: A bus stop named “Kamihate” in a small. Beyond. Produced by: Kitashirakawaha  ★★★   Compared with the world of film. It is commonly said that high-exposure (bright) portions are weaker in video than in film. Perhaps because recording media are offered by a plenty of companies. Susumu Terajima. ■ Kamihate Shoten: To be completed in fall 2011. it is always vital to conduct extensive testing and to plan your production appropriately. but this is a difficult prospect.  You may think it is an exaggeration. and created a well-balanced opus with the feel of a cinema-grade movie. whether the AG-AF100 series finds widespread favor with Reflecting that all work was conducted on location. Backing Up Recorded Data   The recording media consisted of five 16 GB AVCHD uses a high compression ratio. but it is our rule to Scheduled for movie theater release in 2012. Distributed by: Magic Hour Inc. In fact. each cut was no longer than 5 minutes.   The AG-AF100 series. detail declined rapidly. Directed by: Tatsuya Yamamoto Starring: Keiko Takahashi.

with the aim of familiarizing North American audiences with Japan’s new style of moviemaking. the camera crew made maximum use of the AG-AF100 series’ combination of responsive body and short zoom. quickly recording vivid. In handheld use. Key factors in the action director’s selection of the AG-AF100 series were its ability to record in 1920 x 1080 full HD with variable frame rate. as it is capable of rapid preview checking onsite. 48 . As with a film camera. He chose to record his opus using the AG-AF100 series. highimpact video. and in spring 2011 he released Gantz. When recording action scenes.Using the AG-AF100 series: Example 2 Short Movie: Pink Spider Tadashi Watanabe. Moreover. compact design. ability to select zoom lenses as short as 7 mm. the camera crew made maximum use of the AG-AF100 series’ combination of responsive body and short zoom. Recently. it delivers highly efficient recording. and the camera recorder’s snappy response.  In recording the action scenes. Multicamlaboratory  Action-film director Yuji Shimomura is renowned for such films as Shinobi and Dororo. the AG-AF100 series makes it easy to change the number of frames per cut when recording. a short movie for distribution in North America. the lightweight. Shimomura directed Pink Spider.they could move about freely. a movie starring Kazuya Ninomiya.

For this reason. Ayame Misaki (all of HoriPro Inc. 20XX.0 Asph. the goblins have at last emerged to declare war against humanity. The balance of power between humans and goblins has begun to crumble… Produced by: WORSAL Co.  The Lumix G Vario 7–14 mm/F4. achieves the world’s smallest size in a daily-use lens and amply covers the wide-angle range with a diagonal angle of view of 114°./Mega OIS./Mega OIS. a key factor when shooting an action movie./Mega OIS is a zoom lens that features a lens configuration of 17 lenses in 13 lens groups (four aspherical lenses/two ED lenses).8 Asph. Inc. and are engaged in a life-and-death struggle with the goblins day and night. ■Pink Spider Plot summary: Tokyo. repressing camera shake even in low light. Recording with Two Lumix Lenses  Thanks to its short flange back.. Production company: North CKY. While I was attracted by the AG-AF100 series’ strength in producing shallow focus video.0–5. In a world overrun by goblins. mobility was the top priority. and the lens makes full use of perspective.8 Asph. Misaki Momose.In our production of Pink Spider. fights to protect humankind from the goblin menace.8 Asph. Covering a wide angle of view 28–280 mm (35 mm equivalent). I restricted my lens selection to just two Lumix zoom lenses: the Lumix G Vario 7–14 mm/F4. indoor shooting conditions. The Spiders.0 Asph. in the body of a single zoom lens. a corps of three young women. and the Lumix G Vario HD 14–140 mm/ F4. the Lumix G Vario HD 14–140 mm/ F4. I also placed priority on responsiveness. Contrast AF precision is high and focus is quick. and Lumix G Vario HD 14–140 mm/ F4.) 49 . called the Pink Spiders. this zoom lens incorporates as much angle of view as a standard zoom lens plus a telephoto zoom lens. Moreover. After hiding in the shadows for centuries. a team of goblin slayers. Ltd.  On the other hand.0–5. the Micro Four Thirds system enables a wide range of low-cost still lenses to be mounted on the AG-AF100 series via a mount adapter.0–5. Its recordable range is 25cm from the imaging surface across the entire zoom range.0 Asph. Producer: Masaru Yabe Director and screenplay: Yuji Shimomura Video director: Tetsuya Kudo Action director: Kensuke Sonomura Starring: Hikari Takara. the lens is equipped with Mega OIS optical image stabilization. wield special powers that belie their charming appearance. All shooting was conducted using the Lumix G Vario 7–14 mm/F4.

we anticipated using a DSLR for this project. a camera recorder that builds on the success of the DMC-GH1 and DMC-GH2.2L and 200 mm F2.8L. Lari Produced and directed by: Kazuya Hayashi.8. mirrorless digital SLR cameras based on the Micro Four Thirds standard. Sayang. The DMC-GH1 series had taken the world by storm.0 Asph. Sayang. both from Panasonic. as the support rig required for DSLR moviemaking would pose a problem.8 Asph. The series has video capability. Lari. Still we hesitated to do so. as its short flange back enables virtually any lens to be mounted using a mount adapter.Using the AG-AF100 series: Example 3 Movie: Lari. With the product launch due within the year. a scenario writer and analyst with extensive experience in Hollywood. we wanted to create a product we could distribute to other countries besides Malaysia.8. 20 mm F2. 35 mm F2. given the great number of moving shots we needed to make. I felt I would have sufficient time to perform testing and begin production the following year.0–5.4S and Ai Zoom-Nikkor 80–200 mm F4S with the Nikon F mount. Panasonic announced the AG-AF100 series. I realized that this would be the camera that would enable me to produce Lari. Of course./Mega OIS.  Just then. To create the high-impact video we needed. which appeared to be a camera recorder version of the DMCGH1 series to me. a cable-TV network in Malaysia.4. I produced a made-for-TV movie for Astro. and I had used it in a number of projects before and recieved positive reviews. I began selecting lenses. I used the Panasonic AG-AF100 series for this project (model name in Malaysia is AG-AF102). 85 mm F1. as well as the Ai Nikkor 50 mm F1. Studio DU Sequence of Events behind Adoption of the AG-AF100 series and Selection of Lenses  In spring 2011. Planning began in early summer 2010.  My director for this project was Yasuhiko Tanaka.4L. for a total of 11 lenses. and Lumix G Vario HD 14–140 mm/ F4. I made it my top candidate. this compact digital SLR camera offers the video producer considerable freedom. 24 mm F1. In addition to the Lumix G Vario 7–14 mm/F4. 50 mm F1. Lari the way I wanted to. Even without an extravagant budget. I opted for a number of New FD lenses from Canon with the FD mount. Sayang. choosing the 14 mm F2. as this was the zenith of the DSLR moviemaking era. 50 . we took the basic approach of focusing on fixed focal lens shooting. The title of the movie was Lari. and we selected our resources based on the budget and storyline. I took part as video director.  Looking at the specs for the AG-AF100 series.

There was no time for measuring the light and a thousand little adjustments. these conditions posed a problem for continuity. It was completely unsuitable for the nimble footwork I would need to do for this movie.4 and 85 mm F1. ■Focus work using the features of the AG-AF100 sereis and the lenses  Having decided on the equipment. making it easy to adjust the aperture when using a G-type lens. I set the gain SW settings to L=200. Just as everything seemed to be going well. One moment the sky would be brilliantly clear and blue. I used a Miyamoto Seisakusho Rayqual. I was especially glad for the Nikon-Micro Four Thirds adapter. this was a fortunate result. the language barrier led to frequent misunderstandings. I only had a limited number of days to shoot. Moreover. the local Panasonic affiliate took an interest in my work and agreed to cooperate with me in providing equipment. so there was nothing for it but to keep shooting.  The mishap turned out to be serendipitous. 50 mm F1. I had to record quickly. This was where the waveform monitor turned out to be incredibly handy for maintaining continuity. preproduction went smoothly. The monitor and related equipment I had requested had gotten an accident and could not be used. 51 .4L.  As this product was the first commercial video for which the AG-AF100 series was used in Malaysia. an excellent product with an iris ring that enabled me to use the G-type lens series. comparing these to ensure smooth transitions between cuts. The Rayqual Nikon-Micro Four Thirds adapater is equipped with an iris ring and can be used with G-type lenses. In the end. and I started production in April 2011. I reconfirmed the conditions. On location. the next it would cloud over and a torrential downpour would begin.  In the bright conditions on open locations in the endless summer of Malaysia. because I would have to depend entirely on the AG-AF100 series’ assist features and my focus work using the lens. I used still photographs to record the WFM. I selected these lenses because I wanted lenses with a unique character. I used the assist features of the AG-AF100 series and focus work using the lenses.2L lenses. even if I compromised slightly on clarity of imaging.  Nonetheless. This adapter was equipped with a position maker. but it was an old Standard Definition CRT with a huge battery. This method proved surprisingly efficient. it is usual to set the ND to 3 or 4 Unable to establish a proper monitoring environment.  For the mount adapter. but I didn’t realize it during shooting. The shop had a replacement. Using Assist Features to Achieve Efficient Shooting  Malaysia is located in a tropical rainforest zone.Although lenses of the digital generation might have been a possibility. M=320 and H=400. something unexpected happened at the local camera equipment shop where I had obtained my gear. handled by Kindai International. I took a photo of WFM on the LCD and established smooth transitions between cuts. In the normal portrait shots using the Canon New FD 24 mm F1. Needless to say.

52 .The AG-AF105 is a compact camera recorder.  My director. a feature that draws a red line around the area being focused on. This factor alone was sufficient reason to use the AG-AF100 series. I fixed the ND at 3. but I felt it was better to place all of these tasks under my own responsibility. but there was nothing for it but to start shooting. for a wide angle. or easily install it on a crane or rail. but setting the aperture 1 or 2 stops lower. we went straight to actual shooting. time constraints at the location meant that we had time only for a dry rehearsal. Our work on location made rapid progress. Yasuhiko Tanaka. made decisions quickly and put them promptly into action. Even so. I adjusted the focus at the same time as I did the framing. I’ll spare the reader the background. at the beginning of shooting. I used the Lumix G Vario 7–14 mm/F4. I was enormously assisted by the AG-AF100 series’ Focus Assist (FA). I marked them on the focus ring. Having the ND filter built into the camera was an enormous help.  However. and never leave the iris open. With FA on. so I could hold it in my hand wherever we went.  Receiving only the starting and ending positions. I relied on the red lines around the cast members’ eyelashes for focusing. and intentionally used the aperture function in order to utilize pan focus. ■Discovering FA’s wealth of advantages  Throughout the shoot. I felt we really needed a technical rehearsal. Instead of a technical rehearsal. I performed all of these operations by myself. FA overcame any problems presented by the rather unforgiving focus.0 Asph. had a clear vision for the project.

more even than the numerous cuts I had originally envisioned. Roy Azman 53 . One of the major factors in choosing to shoot with the AG-AF100 series was this FA feature. Use of ISO 800 in daily use delivered good quality. a private detective and Surina’s uncle.  I placed my faith in the performance of the FA. Surina’s wealthy family. I had expected no less when I set out for Malaysia in the first place. Lari can be viewed at the website of the production company. hires Jefri. I was able to obtain sufficient brightness with relatively little lighting equipment. Occasionally I even mounted it on the trunk of a car to shoot the following vehicles or people. I was able to shoot with a brightness that would have been unthinkable with previous video projects. The trailer for Lari.  I can even say that I counld not finish the production without AG-AF100 serires’ Focus Assist function. The ability to make do with a minimum of lighting equipment was enormously helpful in reducing the work time. who had been engaged to her for a political marriage of convenience. thanks to the fixed focal lenses. To prove his innocence and reunite with his beloved Surina. reaffirming my conviction that I had made the right choice in the AG-AF100 series. ■Lari. Sayang. I was able to record a number of extra cuts. Sayang.  ★★★  The shooting schedule was so tight that I hesitated to switch lenses. the AG-AF100 series is a compact camera recorder. so I could hold it in my hand wherever we went. Thanks to this camera recorder. Hakimi takes flight across the Malaysian landscape.  On the day after wrap. I fell into a certain rhythm with the AG-AF100 series. sometimes using ISO 800. or easily install it on a crane or rail. I invite everyone who is interested to take a they decided then and there to shoot a sequel. to track the fugitive Hakimi down. With the AG-AF100 series. This was possible because the AG-AF100 series compresses the handling of a camera recorder and the optical performance of a DSLR into a compact body. I felt that the S/N ratio was about right.  Also. and it did not let me down. 42nd Pictures. It really provided a wealth of features to lighten the burden of video recording. Erin Malek. Lari Plot summary: Hakimi is under investigation on suspicion of murdering the fiance of his lover Surina. continuing to use the same shooting techniques in the second half of the shoot. convinced of Hakimi’s wrongdoing. at http://www.During nighttime shooting. the local producers were so delighted at the footage they saw in the preliminary edit. As a result. Mainly relying on a gain of ISO 400. Directed by: Yasuhiko Tanaka Produced by: Bea Tanaka Video direction by: Kazuya Hayashi Starring: Alif Satar.42ndpictures. ■Obtaining sufficient brightness even during nighttime shooting in dark conditions  Though much of the shooting was done at night. It also made a tremendous difference that the camera recorder was so easy to set up. I was able to deliver satisfactory quality in such a tight schedule.