The Panasonic LUMIX S1H is not only the first mirrorless camera on Netflix's list of approved cameras, but it's also the most affordable.
Netflix is pretty particular when it comes to the ways in which their original content is captured. In fact, you might be familiar with their long (but somehow, not long enough) list of approved cameras that satisfy their strict resolution and capture requirements, including the format and the color space. And according to Netflix, all cameras need to have a "true 4K UHD sensor (equal to or greater than 3840 photosites wide)."
Well, that really only leaves very expensive top-tier cinema cameras as options for shooting Netflix Originals. Cameras like the ARRI Alexa, the Canon C-series (300 and above), Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K, the Sony Venice, and a host of RED shooters have met the stringent requirements thus far.
But Netflix recently added a camera to the list that sticks out like a sore thumb. The S1H.
The S1H: Indie Tested. Netflix Approved
The LUMIX S1H joints the VariCam and EVA1 (among others) as the Panasonic offerings approved to be used in the production of Netflix's original content, making it not only the first mirrorless camera on the list, but also the cheapest...by far.
This is pretty exciting news for those interested in utilizing the "6K legend", which manages to pack so many high-end features into a camera with a $4000 price point, including a 24.2-megapixel full-frame mirrorless MOS sensor, 6K/24p 3:2 recording, dual native ISO, 10-bit 60p 4K/C4K.14, 4:2:2 10-bit HDMI output, and Anamorphic 4:3 modes. It also features V-Log/V-Gamut, which is compatible with the popular colorimetry of the "VariCam Look." In fact, a filmmaker at the August Panasonic LUMIX event back called the S1H the "VariCam Micro" because "it’s a small camera that delivers everything a Varicam does."
What are the Netflix Capture Requirements?
Netflix has made the full list of approved cameras available online, as well as the S1H Camera Production Guide, but here are the individual capture requirements used to determine which cameras can be used, which are listed near the bottom of the page.
- 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.
- No looks or color corrections should be baked into the original camera files.
- Files must maintain all metadata (i.e. Tape Name, Timecode, Frame Rate, ISO, WB, etc.).
What Does This Mean for Indie Filmmakers?
Nothing, unless you're gearing up to shoot a Netflix Original, in which case, heck yeah, you can totally use a Panasonic S1H as much as you want without having to worry that you'll go over your 10% allotment of non-Netflix-approved video footage.
I guess I'm being a little reductive. It might actually mean...something to indie filmmakers. I mean, look at what just happened. A tiny, mirrorless camera made it to the "big leagues" and is schmoozing with Hollywood's most popular shooters. (Is the S1H just...completely starstruck by Alexa, or what?)
We got a hint of this when the S1H was released in August and we saw those impressive specs. Many indie filmmakers were excited, and now that a major film studio has added it to its roster of approved cameras, it gives us a little validation that we were right to get excited.
OK... I'm missing something here. Aside from the S1H being a full frame camera, what's the difference between it and a GH5?
October 29, 2019 at 1:39AM
The dynamic range is limited according to them. I call BS but whatever. VLOG and VLOG-L are different. It says Netflix Original not that your film can get picked up or licensed by Netflix.
October 29, 2019 at 5:16AM
Here is a brief list of S1H of unique S1H features...
- Shoots 6K / 4K / 1080p footage.
- 52 Shooting profiles. ( including ALL-I, h.264, h.265, LOG, HLG )
- Shoots in both FF or Super35 format. ( 4K DCI, 4K UHD, 1080p )
- It uses Varicam LOG and Varicam color space
( Varicam LOG is designed for up to 16 stops of dynamic range, where GH5 V-LOG L maxes out at 12 stops )
- Shoots all formats for all day without overheating, including Super35 4K 60p 10-bit recording. ( it's the first FF mirrorless camera to do this, and has a weather-sealed silent fan that kicks in when needed )
- 14 stops of dynamic range, where the GH5 has 12 stops of dynamic range.
The website Cinema5D has a list of cameras they have tested with the most dynamic range. First on the list is the ARRI ALEXA Mini, second on the list is the Panasonic S1H, third on the list is the Blackmagic Ursa Mini 4.6K G2, fourth on the list is the Sony A7S.
- External 6K RAW recording is being added in early 2020.
- IBIS is rated at 6.5 F-stops of stabilization, about one more stop than the GH5.
- Dual ISO sensor with native ISO 640 and native ISO 4000. It maintains almost the same dynamic range at ISO 4000 as it does at ISO 640, so the color and contrast is almost identical at both ISO settings.
- Low light performance is better than the GH5s, and on par with Sony's best FF low-light cameras. The S1H can produce a very clean image at ISO 25600, where the GH5 is only good to ISO 1600.
- Much better C-AF performance than the GH5
( take a look at this YT video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yMORHW1s3g )
- Time-code input through the "flash sync" socket.
- Weather-sealed FF camera that you can shoot in rain or snow.
You can shoot 2 hours of 6K 10-bit footage on one battery with the S1H.
October 31, 2019 at 3:26PM, Edited October 31, 4:24PM
This doesn't make any sense, considering Blackmagic has both Pocket 4K and now Pocket 6K, yet somehow they still aren't on that list, like wtf? They have way more robust codecs, unlike this hybrid weirdo which can't even record in 4:2:2 at 6K (only 4:2:0).
Not to mention cameras from Kinefinity, that are also missing from that list.
October 29, 2019 at 4:19AM
At 6K you're not going to see a major difference between 420 and 422. 4444 on the other hand...
October 29, 2019 at 8:01AM
Unless you're project has just been backed by Netflix (as an ORIGINAL) I would keep your pants on and just go out and shoot with your 5D or whatever you feel like. If you happen to shoot something very very good which does very very well at festivals and markets Netflix won't care if it's shot on your old Nokia. The hysteria surrounding Netflix approved cameras is kind of hysterical.
October 29, 2019 at 9:18AM
As usual, this list is when you're being contracted to produce a show, not just submitting something to be on Netflix. You can shoot with an IphoneX and get it on Netflix if they like it enough.
If what you're shooting WITH is more important than the subject matter, you're doing it ALL wrong=) Get the best gear you can afford, but the quality of just about any current camera allows for an excellent image assuming you know what you're doing. REMEMBER, barely anyone is watching in 4k in HDR. It's still all in highly compressed HD on average TVs in bright rooms with windows or mobile devices streaming in probably 480p or 720p. No one will know what you shot anything on or care one iota. And they're NOT pixel peeping or measuring your dynamic range!!!!! ;)
October 29, 2019 at 11:02AM
Netflix should first look at the quality of the stories instead of looking at the camera used..;Now I understand why most of the films on Netflix had no artistic or story value.
October 30, 2019 at 6:21AM
For Netflix to issue technical specs for contracted projects is not the same as Netflix saying that they care more about tech specs than creative qualities. It seems the filmmaking community is the group putting the cart before the horse, not the studio. Years ago, when you'd find out something like "the BBC requires a minimum bitrate of 50 mbps in video submitted to them" it didn't mean that all you had to do was buy/rent a camera that met that spec. Studios and networks are gonna have their minimum specs; always have, and it's probably less ironclad now than it was in the past, as reality TV, news, and pseudo-documentary style scripted features (Blair Witch, etc.) eroded the line between "amateur" and "professional" -- in certain contexts.
So, chill, people. Get a good-enough camera and lenses, light well, get clean sound, etc., but as always the story and compelling performances are what count. Nothing has changed.
November 4, 2019 at 10:34AM