Panasonic Varicam LT Firmware Update v8.0 adds HLG

Panasonic has just released a new firmware update v8.0 for their VariCam LT digital cine camera. The latest firmware update is free of charge and it adds support for HLG or Hybrid-Log Gamma.

The latest firmware v8.0 comes after a previous firmware update, which allowed users to create a custom “splash screen” and tag their VariCam cameras (more info on that in this post here). The VariCam LT has been around for a while and it has enjoyed relative success making inroads into several Amazon and Netflix productions as well as feature films. In the past year, Panasonic has expanded its functionality for the broadcast sector as well with a series of firmware updates and additions.

HLG support is the big new feature in Firmware v8.0, and with the increasing demand for high-end HDR productions, the ability to view HDR video that is BT.2020 compliant on SDR monitors. HDR standardisation is not a simple process and a bit of a mess at the moment with different TV and display technology makers racing to convince regulatory organizations of their respective superiority… but that’s not something I want to get into right now. HLG is kind of a big deal and looking like a winning standard (at least for now).

Panasonic Varicam LT Media Production Show 2017

Panasonic VariCam LT Firmware v8.0

  • New Features
    • HLG support (Hybrid Log Gamma)
      • For SDR Monitors:
      • The Gamma and the Colour Space of HLG are converted into the SDR formats’ ones
      • HLG images can be displayed on SDR monitors
      • Monitors can express the gradation of the high brightness area while maintaining the contrast of the normal brightness area by this function
    • Simultaneous output of HLG/SDR (monitoring gamma)
      • HDR (HLG) and SDR (monitoring gamma) can be output simultaneously with 2 lines of SDI
      • When setting the output of PROXY, SDI 1, SDI 2 or VF SDI, you can select HLG/SDR respectively
    • HLG Support in Varicam Viewfinder
      • Normal gamma of VF is SDR (monitoring gamma)
      • Users can temporarily change the gamma of VF from SDR to HLG to check the high brightness gradation
    • AK-HRP1000 Remote Panel will get HLG via future firmware update
    • Zebra display function for high brightness
    • RAW to 4K conversion
      • When the PROCESSED RAW is set, the information about HLG is embedded in the SDI payload
  • Improvements/Bug Fixes
    • Improvement of UI in SYSTEM MODE setting
      • When the SYSTEM MODE of HOME (SYSTEM) is selected, the menu switches to the detailed items by pushing the dial.
      • The UI of this operation is improved.
    • Improvement of the delay due to conversion from RAW to 4K
      • When AVC-4K/422 is selected, the output of Processed RAW is set Dual.
Panasonic Varicam LT Firmware v8.0

Image by Panasonic

The VariCam LT produces lovely organic images and was the first “big boy” cine camera to offer Dual Native ISO (as far as I know), however it was not only designed to be used in single camera narrative drama or commercials. Thanks to a previous firmware update, the Varicam LT has also been making a splash in the live event arena. Check out more info about some of the latest live productions shot on the VariCam LT:

For full details of other improvements and bug fixes in firmware v8.0 as well as to download it (for free) head over to Panasonic’s support page here.

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