Director of photography Luke Sauer recently completed shooting the feature film Lasso with Panasonic VariCam 35 cinema camera/recorders. A “survive the night” thriller directed by Evan Cecil, Lasso centers on three senior community center workers who find themselves fighting to stay alive against a group of bloodthirsty cowboys from the local rodeo.
“I was intrigued by the VariCam 35’s native 5000 ISO, specifically because we would do roughly 85 percent of our shooting after dark,” Sauer recalls. “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 the 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.”
The cameras were outfitted with a full complement of Leica Summicron prime lenses. Sauer, who operated A-camera, shot in 4K AVC-Intra 4:4:4. Most of the shooting was done at ISO 5000 rated at 2000-2500. Low-res HD proxies were captured in the camera’s sub-recorder and used as rough cuts for dailies.
“We were especially impressed with the VariCam 35’s ability to handle mixed color temperatures: the natural representation of light was aesthetically very pleasing,” the cinematographer adds.