The video team got some new toys late last week! We picked up 4 Panasonic AF100 cameras from Abel Cine. The strengths of this camera lie in allowing us to use interchangeable lenses (whether they be film, still, or HD video lenses) while at the same time having essential video camera features such as XLR inputs, zebra bars, and multiple options for video output (HDMI, Component, HD-SDI, etc).
Recently we have been using the Canon 5d MK II for our featured production with University Relations. The reason we chose the 5d MK II to shoot with is the truly cinematic depth of field it can provide, as well as the large sensor size. But for most of our productions, we rely on having traditional video camera features. The AF100 closes the gap between the cinematic qualities of the 5d MK II, and the traditional video camera features of the HVX200.
The AF100 has a micro 4/3 sensor, and the ability to have interchangeable lenses. Currently we have two Olympus 14-35mm F2, as well as two Olympus 35-100mm F2 4/3 lenses which we adapted to the micro 4/3 mount on the AF100. So far the results have been pretty amazing. The length is affected by the adapter, essentially changing the 14-35mm into 24-70mm, and the 35-100mm into 70-200mm. This is perfect for our purposes, as the most common lenses we use when shooting with the 5d MK II is the 24-70mm, and the 70-200mm L series lenses.
We also received a couple of genus shoulder rigs (for handheld shooting) along with a matte box and follow focus kit that mounts right to the rig. I will have some more pictures posted of myself shooting in the field this week while we are traveling around the country.
The AF100 records to SD card, and has 2 slots in the back of the camera. Natively the AF100 records to the AVCHD codec, which will be immediately transcoded to Apple Pro Res (HQ) when imported into Final Cut Pro 7. (In Final Cut Pro X, you can import and edit AVCHD directly, however that is a discussion and blog post for another day!)
While our first official shoot was thursday with the AF100, I shot a bit on my porch last night while prepping the equipment for our upcoming travel. Overall my impression of these cameras is very positive. The notion of having cinematic “video” is no longer a punch line, and I am excited for the possibilities these cameras bring to NUIT. It gives us another tool that will allow us to deliver an even better HD product to our clients here at Northwestern University.
Below is some test footage I shot on my porch while prepping equipment for our upcoming travel schedule: