“Horace and Pete,” a 2016 web series created, written, and directed by Louis C.K., was shot by Director of Photography Paul Koestner with Panasonic VariCam 35 4K cinema camera/recorders. The series, described by its creator as a tragedy versus a comedy, focuses on Horace (C.K.) and Pete (Steve Buscemi), the owners of Horace and Pete's, a run-down Brooklyn bar.
The first episode (the New York Times called it “mournful and unshakeable”) was released on January 30 on C.K.'s website without any prior announcements. New episodes premiered weekly until the tenth and final episode was released. Recurring guest actors included Edie Falco, Alan Alda, Jessica Lange, Steven Wright and Laurie Metcalf.
A distinctive feature of the series was frequent references to highly topical current events during bar-room discussions. This was made possible by the very short time frames between the produc-tion and release of the episodes (less than a week), also a compelling reason that the VariCam 35s were chosen for the show, according to post-production technical advisor Troy Thompson, colorist at Running Man (New York, NY) and longtime C.K. collaborator.
“Louis is very forward-thinking in terms of technology, and it was more or less a given that we’d shoot 4K,” Thompson said, “but there wasn’t a enough time for a full 4K workflow: each week we had less than two days to edit and deliver an episode ranging from 30 to 60+ minutes in six differ-ent formats for various streaming and mobile platforms.”
The solution was to utilize the VariCam 35’s multi-format recording, and simultaneously shoot a 4K master on the main recorder and AVC-Intra 4:2:2 HD in the sub-recorder. “Essentially, my job was to test and verify the workflow, and ensure that we could fulfill both dictates (4K and HD) with one camera,” he said.
“The VariCam 35, with its remarkable color science, has come a long way and surpassed other workflows since the first time I worked with it,” Thompson continued (he was colorist and technical advisor on Amy Schumer’s 2015 HBO comedy special, also shot with VariCam 35s). “Thelive multi-camera workflow was seamless with Avid; we were able to work with great time-efficiencies to rewrap, edit and finish the deliverables for weekly release.
“The transition from the HD proxies to 4K was likewise seamless: we would reconnect the HD EDLs in the Nucoda color grading system and conform back to 4K prior to archiving.”
In a published interview about the series, C.K. praised his DP’s “great eye, which gave the show such a lovely and original look.” Koestner, another longtime collaborator (“Louie,” “Deadbeat”), said that this production relied on Thompson’s championing of the VariCam 35’s color rendition and fast turnaround.
Koestner explained that “Horace and Pete” was shot on two primary sets (bar and apartment), with several pick-up sets. Three VariCam 35s, outfitted with Angenieux zooms, were utilized in studio configuration with Vinten pan-and-tilt heads. A fourth VariCam 35 was used on a Jimmy Jib.
“The cameras matched quite well, and the color looked really good without a lot of post time,” Koestner noted.
For more information about Louis C.K. and “Horace and Pete,” visit www.louisck.net.
About the VariCam 35
Panasonic’s VariCam 35 camera/recorder is an unparalleled tool for high-end filmmaking, com-mercials and episodic production as well as live 4K events. The camera provides superb image handling in multiple formats ranging from pristine 4K RAW to more practical AVC codecs for 4K, UHD, 2K, HD and HD ProRes capture. Several assets set the VariCam 35 apart from other high-end cinematography cameras, including dual native ISOs of 800 and 5000, allowing DPs to realize incredible image quality in extremely low light situations; its ability to record three simultaneous video formats (4K + 2K + Proxy, or UHD + HD + Proxy); an optional high-speed 4K uncom-pressed RAW recorder (CODEX) that will capture uncompressed 4K VariCam RAW (V-RAW) at up to 120fps; internal AVC-Intra 4K / 2K / HD recording to 120fps; support for an ACES workflow for full fidelity mastering of original source material; and in-camera Color-Grading via CDLs / 3D LUTs. For more information about Panasonic cinema camera products, visit us.panasonic.com/varicam, or contact Panasonic at 877-803-8492.
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