RTM Productions Goes Under the Hood with VariCam LT 4K Cinema Camcorders
RTM Productions (Franklin, TN), creators of PowerNation, the country’s most-watched automotive how-to TV programming, is producing its 2017 season of popular tech shows with recently acquired Panasonic gear, including six VariCam LT 4K cinema camcorders, three AG-DVX200 4K handhelds and 10 BT-4LH310 4K production monitors. 

Most weekends, auto enthusiasts can literally get their fix by watching the two-hour PowerNation TV block of four shows--Detroit Muscle, Engine Power, Truck Tech, Xtreme Off Road —on the CBS Sports Network, NBC Sports Network, and Spike cable networks, as well as on most of the 60+ broadcast stations owned by RTM Productions’ parent company, Raycom Media. 

RTM Productions’ company president Matthew Hawkins said, “There were only a handful of cameras that met our criteria of having a large sensor, HDR, VFR, simultaneous recording options and 4K output. With its stand-out asset of dual native 800/5000 ISOs as well as all these features, the VariCam LT led the way.” 

RTM Productions shoots 92 episodes (23 of each show) each year. The facility house six separate production studios, one assigned to each of the block shows, the fifth to “PowerNation Interstitials and PowerNation Daily.” The PowerNation interstitials run throughout the block featuring unique vehicles and interviews with automotive industry leaders and trendsetters. PowerNation Daily runs online and has the latest auto industry news. The sixth studio is dedicated to 
PowerNation Garage, a new show that is distributed digitally and can be found online at PowerNationTV.com 

Seventy percent of the programming is shot in these studios, with a minimum of one VariCam LT assigned to each studio (the exception being PowerNation Garage, which is shot exclusively with DVX200 handhelds). Hawkins said the VariCam LTs, outfitted with Fujinon 20-120mm Cabrio PL lenses, are utilized 70 % handheld, 20% on tripods, and 10% on jibs. “Pay-off” segments, showing the results of in-studio fabrications, are shot outdoors on race tracks, drag strips, at off-road events and so on. 

“The VariCam LT’s dual ISOs make perfect sense for us, as we shoot indoors in gritty, low-lit studios and outside in bright sunlight,” said Mark Inglis, Creative Director for RTM. “The camcorder’s low-light sensitivity blew us away.” 

“We use the ISO5000 setting every day, but often dial back to ISO2000, where we can still light normally but achieve greater depth of field,” he added. 

“The importance of VariCam LT’s HDR capability can’t be overstated,” said Randy Byrne, Post Production Director for RTM. “So many of our shots are up under cars, angles that aren’t easily lit, and we never saw great contrast shooting in HD. Now, with the expanded color space, we’re seeing detail and variations in the blacks.” 

Shows are captured in AVC-Intra 4K 4:2:2, with a simultaneous record of high-resolution HD proxies. Each studio has a workstation where the directors edit a rough cut. Master files are backed up to servers and LTO. “The proxies help us navigate the thumbnails for the final edit,” Byrne noted. RTM Productions’ NLE platform is Adobe Premiere Pro. 

While acquisition and editing is 4K based, PowerNation shows are delivered in 1080i. “We’re ready to deliver in 4K, and we’re preserving our 4K masters for residual use,” Hawkins said. 

“The Panasonic camcorders have stepped up our game,” he continued. “Shooting and lighting are easier, and we’re delivering an improved end product, with a greater level of detail that our enthusiast audience craves.” 

For more information about RTM Productions and PowerNation, visit www.powernationtv.com. 

About the VariCam LT: 
The VariCam LT camcorder inherits the same super 35mm sensor and superb imaging capabilities that distinguish the award-winning VariCam 35, but with significant reductions in size, weight and price. Incorporating this identical imaging “DNA” in a more compact rendition, the VariCam LT delivers 14+ stops of dynamic range with V-Log, and the esteemed cinematic VariCam image quality and color science, as well as the VariCam 35's breakout innovation, dual native ISOs of 800/5000. Weighing just under six pounds and having superior capability to similar sized cameras, the VariCam LT is the ideal camera for handheld, Steadicam, jib, crane, drone, gimbal and overall cinema verité work. 

About the AG-DVX200: 
The DVX200 is the first in a new generation of large sensor, multi-format professional camcorders capable of capturing 4K/UHD, HD and SD, including cinematic DCI 4K 4096x2160. The camcorder is optimized for 4K/HD production, with stunning bokeh effects and a V-Log L curve (measured at 12 stops) emulating the natural greyscale rendition of the VariCam 35. The DVX200 incorporates a newly-developed 4/3” large-format MOS sensor with high sensitivity of 

F11, and offers variable frame rate recording from 2fps to 120fps in 1080p mode, enhancing the camcorder’s utility in sports and VFX production. The handheld 4K camcorder offers an array of professional features including a newly designed Leica Dicomar 4K F2.8~F4.5 zoom lens (4K/24p: 29.5 mm ~ 384.9 mm, HD: 28 mm ~ 365.3mm, 35 mm equivalent) with shallow depth-of-field, time-code in/out, 3G HD-SDI and HDMI 2.0 (4K) video outs (4:2:2 10-bit video), dual XLR audio inputs and 10 programmable user buttons. 

For more information about Panasonic VariCam cinema and high-speed cameras, visit us.panasonic.com/varicam. For more information about other Panasonic professional video products, visit www.panasonic.com/broadcast or contact Panasonic at 877-803-8492. 

About Panasonic Broadcast, Cinema and Professional Video Systems: 
Panasonic offers leading products to acquire, transmit and view high-quality video, over both video and IP networks. Professional products include VariCam cinema cameras, P2 HD camcorders, 4K and HD handheld cameras, Pan/Tilt/Zoom cameras, studio and box cameras, switchers and monitors. These products serve customers in cinema, broadcast, professional sports, higher education, enterprise and other markets. 

About Panasonic Corporation of North America 
Newark, NJ-based Panasonic Corporation of North America is a leading technology partner and integrator to businesses, government agencies and consumers across the region. The company is the principal North American subsidiary of Osaka, Japan-based Panasonic Corporation and the hub of Panasonic’s U.S. branding, marketing, sales, service and R&D operations. Panasonic was featured in Fortune Magazine’s 2016 ranking of 50 companies that are changing the world and doing well by doing good. Specifically cited were its smart and sustainable technologies, including its contributions to smart cities and the electric vehicle revolution. 

Learn more about Panasonic at www.us.panasonic.com.