NYC-Based Production House ‘the AV Department’ Brings in VariCam LT 4K Camcorder

Director/Director of Photography Michael Cogliantry was recently in search of a higher-end camera to handle the dramatic growth of his business, Manhattan-based production/creative agency, the AV Department. After months of renting acquisition gear more fully-featured that his own DSLRs, Cogliantry found “everything I’d been looking for spec-wise” in Panasonic’s VariCam LT 4K cinema camcorder.

varicam-lt-av-dept-2The AV Department specializes in providing premium digital, creative and motion content for a clientele that includes such global brands as Gillette, Toyota, Verizon and Wells Fargo. Since purchasing the VariCam LT earlier this year, Cogliantry has used it on more than a dozen commercial projects.

“Looking at the VariCam LT, I saw a camera that represented a big investment for my company, but I knew it would be all that I needed for 90% of my jobs and that I’d quickly realize a return-on-investment,” he says.

Previously, AV Department was using Sony A7s and the Canon C100 Mark IIs as its in-house cameras. “With these cameras I always needed to rely on an external recorder to get high enough color space and sharpness quality,” Cogliantry notes. “I’m thrilled to have been able to dump the recorders and various connectors, batteries and accessories in favor of in-camera 422 ProRes HD capture.”

“If there’s one consistent signature among all our projects, I’d say it’s putting people front and center, so the VariCam LT’s cinematic rendition of a gamut of skin tones was crucial,” Cogliantry says. “The camcorder has versatile and ample I/Os and, as an editor, I understood how flexible the LT footage would be in post.”

One early assignment with the VariCam LT was a 60-second television spot for Providence Health Plan. “We shot in a remote location on an Oregon mountainside, and needed a high-degree of confidence that our camera would be nimble and reliable—the LT performed flawlessly,” he said.

Cogliantry took the VariCam LT to South Dakota and Florida to shoot a 2 1/2-minute documentary-style profile of a young taekwondo Olympic champion for the United Services Automobile Association web site. “I don’t always have the luxury of a big lighting package or a gaffer, so being able to deploy the LT’s native ISO5000 low-light setting for a dawn sequence was a definite plus on the USAA project,” Cogliantry notes.

The AV Department has a recurring assignment to shoot features for the Women’s Health magazine web site, and utilized the VariCam LT to capture behind-the-scene (BTS) footage of cover model/actress Priyanka Chopra. “This was a high pressure situation where we had to work fast while sustaining ultimate beauty shots, especially of ‘star skin,’” Cogliantry recounted.

To view commercial assignments Cogliantry has shot with the VariCam LT:

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