The Panasonic S1H is a full-frame mirrorless camera aimed primarily at movie shooters. Thanks to its stellar video features, it has made it into the “big league.” It’s the first mirrorless camera to be certified by Netflix. In other words, it’s the only mirrorless camera Netflix allows to be used as a primary camera on productions. And since it’s on the same list with high-end movie cameras, it’s also the cheapest among them.
Netflix’s camera requirements and the list of certified cameras are available online. The webpage says that “90% of the total runtime of a final program should be captured on approved cameras.” The list includes models such as ARRI Alexa LF, Canon C700, and Panasonic VariCam 35, to name just a few. The $4,000 mirrorless camera found itself in a company of cinema cameras with five-figures prices, which is pretty impressive.
To find its place on Netflix’s list of certified gear, these are some of the requirements a camera must meet:
- Camera must have a true 4K UHD sensor (equal to or greater than 3840 photosites wide).
- Capture Format: RAW (Sony RAW, REDCODE, Arriraw etc.), COMPRESSED (XAVC, AVC-Intra, ProRes, or other I-Frame capable formats)
- Minimum of 16-bit Linear or 10-bit Log processing
- Minimum data-rate of Bitrate of 240 Mbps at 23.98 fps
- Capture Transfer Function: S-Log3, Log-C, V-Log, Log3G10, etc.
- Capture Color Space: S-Gamut3.cine, RED Wide Gamut RGB, Alexa Wide Gamut, etc.
- Files must maintain all metadata (i.e. Tape Name, Timecode, Frame Rate, ISO, WB, etc.).
- Black Balancing: If applicable, black balancing of camera sensors should be done daily, when the camera is at normal operating temperature. See specific black balancing instructions in the camera operating manual.
- Aspect ratios greater than 2.00:1 must be evaluated and discussed with Netflix for approval.
With its specs, the stills/video hybrid S1H meets the criteria above and finds itself in a selected company. While it’s not cheap with its $4,000 price tag, it’s definitely the cheapest on the list, ten and more times cheaper than other models. So, I guess that indie filmmakers and anyone shooting on a low budget will find this to be good news.
You can check out the full list of cameras here, as well as the entire list of camera requirements.