Varicam 23.98p

High end camera systems capable of 24 fps.

Varicam is a high end DVCPRO HD camera system by Panasonic which allows you to capture variable frame rates on HD video. Other manufacturers have adopted similar systems although they do not share the Varicam designation.

There are also lower end camera models by Panasonic that have similar variable frame rate capability although Varicam label is omitted.

Varicam frame rate is selectable in the frame range of 4 to 60 frames per second (fps). Overcranking and undercranking effects can be achieved in camera and some post production processing.

The frame rate of 24 fps or more properly 23.98 fps is of most interest to producers. It closely resembles the speed and temporal quality of motion picture film.

The camera shoots 59.94 fps at any time. It achieves the look of 23.98p by using a process called 3:2 pulldown.

The math behind the process is simple. Each frame is frozen for a period of two frames with the next frame frozen for a period of three frames creating a freeze sequence that looks like this: 3:2:3:2:3:2… Over a period of 60 frames there is a perceived count of 24 discreet frames and the illusion of 24 fps is sustained.

Post production editing of this format is a bit more complex than “true” 23.98p formats. It is a good idea to discuss the offline/online workflow with an experienced editor or post supervisor first.