John Mayer in ProRes 4444 with the Panasonic HPX-3700 (P2 Varicam)

John Mayer in ProRes 4444 with the Panasonic HPX-3700 (P2 Varicam)

December 4, 2009

We recently got to do a shoot with Adobe for John Mayer's latest music video. Since it was to be a greenscreen shoot and placed into a pretty high-profile piece we decided to pull out all the stops. The timing worked out pretty well because it coincided with Apple releasing the nee ProRes 4444 codec which would allow us to do a 444 capture on the fly and then key directly in After Effects without super-heavy files. So, we lugged our 8-core Mac Pro with the Kona3 card down to LA and installed two 1.5TB Seagate Barracuda drives (RAID 0 for throughput) into the mac. We needed the Kona3 because we wanted to pipe the super-clean dual link image from our brand new Panasonic HPX-3700 (P2) camera. We decided on the Varicam over the RED ONE because there were some pretty great reactions to it during the ASC Camera Test that was conducted in LA. Then to help insure that we'd get a crystal clear image, we put some Digi-Prime glass in front of the full-raster 1920 X 1080 imager of the Panasonic Varicam. Also, since this was an Adobe gig, we bypassed Final Cut Pro altogether and used the Kona VTR Xchange utility to capture to ProRes 4444 and then could drop the files directly into After effects to do our test keys.

Here's the dual-link interface from the Kona 3 control panel.

Doing an on-set test-key on the footage with imagery from the boards.

In the end, the footage was some of the cleanest we've seen. Even with the heavy shadowing from the dummy green furniture that we placed on set, the key came out great (with some rotoscoping here and there). All in all, it was a very smooth process combining the Panasonic HPX-3700 with the Kona 3 and the new Apple ProRes 444 codec. Bring on the next one!