DP Luke Sauer Selects Panasonic VariCam 35 4K Cinema Camera/Recorders for Upcoming ‘Rodeo Horror’ Flick

Director of Photography Luke Sauer has completed shooting the upcoming feature Lasso with Panasonic VariCam 35 cinema camera/recorders. Currently in postproduction, the film is slated for an early 2017 release.

VariCam 35-Lasso6Lasso, a “survive the night” thriller directed by Evan Cecil, centers around senior community center workers Kit (Lindsey Morgan) and Simon (Andrew Jacobs), whose lives are turned upside when they find themselves fighting to stay alive against a group of bloodthirsty cowboys from the local rodeo. DP Sauer is a veteran of reality television production, including Wives with Knives and I (Almost) Got Away with ItLasso is his first feature project.
The movie was shot on location this spring on farm and ranch lands in northern California; the production rented a pair of VariCam 35s from Alternative Rentals (Los Angeles, CA).
Sauer is an experienced Panasonic camera shooter, having worked with previous generations of Panasonic HD camcorders, notably the AJ-HDX900 and original tape-based VariCam, which he praised for its “color representation and overall image.”
VariCam 35-Lasso2“I was intrigued by the VariCam 35’s native 5000 ISO, specifically because we would do roughly 85% of our shooting after dark,” says Sauer. “Our schedule was very ambitious, and we would be shooting at night in woods, old barns, and abandoned buildings; I wanted the confidence of having extra sensitivity at my disposal.”
“When I looked at the VariCam 35, the sensor technology seemed so much more advanced than other options; that, in combination with the extreme low-light capability, sold me,” he continues.
Sauer, who operated the A camera, shot in 4K AVC-Intra 4:4:4. Most of the shooting was done in ISO5000 rated at 2000-2500. Low-res HD proxies were captured in the sub-recorder, and used as rough cuts for dailies. The cameras were outfitted with a full complement of Leica Summicron prime lenses.
“Overall, there was a very easy learning curve for me and our First AC: the ergonomics and layout of menus were all quite intuitive,” says Sauer. “The camera is well-balanced for handheld use — it never felt front-heavy.”
“We were especially impressed with the VariCam 35’s ability to handle mixed color temperatures: the natural representation of light was aesthetically very pleasing,” he adds.

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