Location: Cambridge, UK
Product(s) supplied: AU-EVA1
ChallengeTo find an affordable and compact camera to suit a variety of its production needs with a focus on corporate and documentary.
SolutionThe use of two EVA1’s, Panasonic’s latest compact cinema camera, meaning Somersault has a camera with the ergonomics and colour science to meet all of its project requirements
"When the EVA1 was officially announced and all of the specs were released – for the price of it, we thought it was just too good to be true"
Somersault, an award winning creative video agency, is all about ideas that create a bigger picture for its clients and their customers.
The leading digital content agency, based in Cambridge, has worked with a number of high profile consumer brands and public sector organisations such as David Lloyd Clubs, BAE Systems and ZPG (Zoopla). By bringing together YouTube creators, digital marketers, content strategists, animators and feature film directors, they've created a team of specialists that can bring absolute creativity to any project.
Yet with a global reach which focuses on corporate and documentary style filming, the team are often adapting to different locations and industries to meet the necessary filming needs. With the previous Canon C100 Mark II requiring an upgrade, the agency therefore began to search for the camera which would aid the versatility of filming, while staying ahead of the curve by making the necessary transition to 4K.
Being well suited to documentaries, events, commercials and music videos, Somersault cast their minds to the AU-EVA1 as an obvious option to be the successor to Somersault's original camera model, with the additional benefit of its compact and lightweight quality.
"On paper it looked absolutely amazing compared to everything else on the market."
“Looking for the right camera took a while,” said Chris Stylianou, Camera Operator at Somersault. “When we were looking at the higher ranked cameras, they weren’t hitting all of the marks we were looking for. Something always fell short in getting it to our preferred way of working.”
Somersault researched the cameras which were on the market at the time and considered all of their features, including the cost, dynamic range, codec support and ergonomics, to see which was most suited to their style of work.
“All of this research actually started before the EVA1 was announced. I remember seeing it at Cine Gear Expo 2017, where Panasonic was teasing the camera – it made me very curious,” commented Chris. “On paper it looked absolutely amazing compared to everything else on the market. The EVA1 came up trumps for everything we needed. It provides a robust and valuable codec range for 4K delivery so that was a massive bonus for us.”
The EVA1 opened up the agency to the realm of 4K, improving its service offering to its clients and futureproofing its production process. “We’re looking forward to tackling 5.7K RAW externally via our Atomos Shogun Infernos, and really pushing the most out of this camera and our work.”
“As an agency we try to do as much as we can in-house, but naturally like everyone else we often work with trusted freelancers.” said Chris.
To ensure a mutual confidence between the company and outsourced freelancers when using the EVA1, Somersault therefore conducted a masterclass to show their freelancers its benefits and how it worked. This improved the understanding of the technology, and enhanced its best practice to be adapted across all of their projects.
“We spent a couple of hours going through the camera functions and in the end, the feedback was amazing. People were really impressed with the image quality and how quickly they could work with it. It meant we could trust that our freelancers would be familiar with the camera when they came on set with us, and would be able to just roll with it. It was great!”
The EVA1 was ultimately designed for ‘run-and-gun’ type production where camera operators can either build up or strip down the camera depending on the shoot. With a body weight of just 1.2kg, and a compact form, the EVA1 provides a multitude of mounting holes across its body for building the camera up, to make it suited to a range of filming applications.
To enhance versatility even further, the EVA1's dual native ISO sensitivity of 800 and 2,500 was also a large benefit. This was originally introduced into the flagship VariCam line-up, allowing camera operators to shoot in harsh lighting conditions.
“We have shot in different environments and rather harsh conditions, such as a few lab environments. So we needed something we could rely on that wouldn’t just explode when exposed to an environment with heat or harsh lighting.” says Chris.
"We could trust that our freelancers would be familiar with the camera when they came on set with us, and would be able to just roll with it."
Another real improvement, and why the EVA1 was so crucial to completing Somersault’s deliverable sufficiently, has been in the changes made to post-production. Previously, it was shooting with a camera only capable of 60 frames per second with an 8 bit codec. Now, the EVA1 provides a 10bit codec to improve the latitiude and vastly improve their editing potential.
Commenting on the benefits of EVA1 offers in regards to lighting and post production, Chris said, “One of my favourite shoots was a promotional video for a company which sells drill parts. We were in a warehouse and the environment was really dusty and humid, making it quite hard to see."
"We threw on a macro lens, and the images we were getting out of the EVA1 in slow-motion of this drill cutting through all these different materials was really impressive. When we came back to post production and l watched all of the sparks flying off we couldnt help but feel impressed at how good it looked!”
“Another benefit was the cost efficiency. Coming from the Canon C100, we already had a vast collection of L series glass, which we loved, and with the EVA1 being an EF mount, it meant we didn’t need to buy a whole new load of adaptors or any other expensive pieces of kit,” adds Chris.
"Having the right tools that enable you to tell that story how you want to tell it, is a huge bonus.”
“The ergonomics and portability of the EVA1 is amazing. It’s light and small which is great as it means you can put it on a gimbal, shoot from the hip, a tri-pod and mono-pod, you name it – it just works wherever you want it to work.”
The ability to capture accurate colours and rich skin tones is also a must for any filmmaker. Much like the VariCam line-up of cinema cameras, the EVA1 contains V-Log/V-Gamut colour science, and is able to capture and deliver both high dynamic range and a broad colour pallet.
“The colour science behind V-Log is beautiful, and the value for money couldn’t be beaten by anything else. It’s really upped our production value. We are using it in conjunction with the DC-GH5 as our B-Cam, which has made everything we shoot look instantly better. Our clients have been really impressed with the noticeable jump in image quality - our images look far more cinematic,”
Chris adds, “Ultimately we will always maintain that the story is above all else, but having the right tools that enable you to tell that story how you want to tell it, is a huge bonus.”
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