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‘Maine’ Achieves Organic Beauty with VariCam LT

Written and directed by Matthew Brown, the independent feature Maine, an AbelCine Feature Film Grant recipient, traces the story of a married woman trying to reclaim her identity while hiking the Appalachian Trail. Shot on location in Virginia by cinematographer Donald R. Monroe, the production employed Panasonic’s VariCam LT 4K camera. “I have always enjoyed the color science of Panasonic cameras,” Monroe says. “Outfitting the VariCam LT with Cooke Speed Panchro vintage lenses, we were able to achieve an overall vibrant and organic look for Maine.

“A large portion of the film was planned to be handheld, so ergonomics was a critical factor in selecting the camera,” the cinematographer continues. “At under 6 pounds, the camera allowed me to operate shots that would be up to 10 minutes long in certain situations.

“The VariCam LT also proved to be a rugged camera system for our nearly entirely exterior shoot. We had no problems with the camera in relatively extreme conditions. When shooting in hot weather, the camcorder never overheated. We found ourselves shooting in foggy conditions where moisture was a major concern—the camera held up without a problem.

“Tracking the evolution of the story and visual language throughout the production was a critical part of our process, so being able to simultaneously record proxies made dailies immediately available at the end of each day,” Monroe concludes. “There was no time wasted waiting for transcoded footage, which got us all to bed much sooner.”

Currently in postproduction, Maine is slated for a 2017 festival premiere and theatrical release. Plans are to distribute the film in 2K.