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Amy Schumer Comedy Special Captured with VariCam 35

Directed by Chris Rock, Amy Schumer’s stand-up specialLive from the Apollo debuts on HBO Oct. 17. Director of photography Cliff Charles (@cliffcharles) used six Panasonic VariCam 35 4K camera/recorders to capture Schumer’s performances at New York’s historic Apollo Theater.

The production team rented the VariCam 35s from AbelCine to cover two live shows. “When I demoed the VariCam 35 at AbelCine, I immediately gravitated to the 12-bit 4:4:4 color space,” Charles says. “The dual native 800/5000 ISOs was intriguing, and I really liked the option of capturing our 4K master and 1080 proxy files simultaneously in camera.”

“The camera’s selectable LUT capabilities afford a lot of flexibility in sending out different looks,” he adds. “Our DIT only provided minimum correction to achieve a pleasing LUT.”

Charles explains that Rock wanted the production to look completely different from Schumer’s previous performances, to have the edge of a live concert while also taking of advantage of the Apollo’s landmark ornate architecture.

The DP situated the six VariCam 35s throughout the 1,500-seat theater: one on a jib, one on a dolly, a third camera holding a close-up, and three operated handheld. “Our camera operators were pleased with the build and ergonomics of the camera, especially those working handheld,” Charles says. “Even fully outfitted with matteboxes, lenses and batteries, the cameras remained under 50 pounds and well balanced.”