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Panasonic VariCam 35 Shoots CW’s ‘Containment’

In the upcoming CW series Containment, an epidemic breaks out in Atlanta, leaving the city quarantined and those stuck inside forced to fight for their lives. The Atlanta office of SIM Digital provided four Panasonic VariCam 35 camera/recorders for the show’s production. The cameras were outfitted with Fujinon 19-90mm and 85-300mm zoom lenses, and 14mm and 16mm primes.

“I like the way the VariCam 35’s Super 35mm sensor looks,” says John Smith, who served with William Wages, ASC, as co-director of cinematography on the series. “The flesh tones feel film-like, with beautiful roll-off of the highlights.”

“The VariCam 35 has excellent dynamic range,” adds Wages. “Coupling that with the dual native ISOs of 800 and 5000 makes it the ideal camera for a series that has a lot of night exteriors.”

Bill Wages with VariCam 35 on Containment prep day.

The cinematographers agree that the ISO 5000 setting was intrinsic to the production’s success. “We shot ISO 5000 all the time, almost every day,” Wages recalls. “We were able to drastically cut our studio lighting package. For example, we lit a 120’ by 20’ day backdrop with only 19 2K fixtures, and in most scenes had to dim it down because it was too bright.”

“The VariCam 35 is in the top tier of production cameras,” Smith concludes. “It fits beautifully in that elite category and represents ‘another color on the palette’ for cinematographers.”

Containment debuts April 18 on The CW.