Posts Tagged ‘Panasonic HVX-200’

New Video – The Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham

Monday, February 1st, 2010

Last Wednesday (1/27/10) we debuted a new video that was produced for the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham (RPCGB). The RPCGB is a community development organization that represents six counties and 84 municipalities in central Alabama. By leveraging state and federal funds, the RPCGB provides various services to its member governments that help facilitate growth and development. These programs are incredibly far-reaching, so they approached us and asked us to create a 4-minute video that would give viewers a basic introduction to the organization and the services it offers. We shot the video with the Panasonic HVX-200A at 720p/24p.

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The Need for Speed

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

One of the things I enjoy most about working in video production is the variety. Every job is unique. One of the most recent jobs we worked on was for a producer based in Charlotte, NC. His client, a marketing firm from Milwaukee, handles a lot of work for Microsoft. Recently, a new video game was created for the XBox 360; a racing game called “Need for Speed: Shift.” To promote the launch of the game, Microsoft and their marketing team scheduled a demo with legendary race car driver Hurley Haywood. They needed a local production crew to come out to the Barber Motorsports Park to document the event.

We spent two days on location, shooting footage of the Porche vehicles on the race track and on the Barber test courses. We covered the action with two Panasonic HVX-200 cameras, shooting 1080i HD video to P2 cards. We had cameras placed at low angles next to the track, inside the vehicles, and up in scissor lifts. For the actual game demonstration, we pre-lit a Porche driving school classroom where we could get footage of Haywood as he raced other drivers on XBox Live. To conclude the shoot, we shot a sit-down interview with Haywood as he gave us his impressions of the game. The people at the Barber Motorsports Park were great. They were very accommodating and hospitable. At the end of the shoot, they even allowed us to select an item from their gift shop. It was certainly a fun and unique experience and I had the opportunity to work with some wonderful people.

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Checking Continuity a Breeze When Using P2

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

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In film production continuity is incredibly important. In short, continuity refers to the consistency of actors, props, plot points, locations, events, etc. seen by the viewer. Filmmakers must make sure that if an actor opens a door with his or her left hand on one shot, he/she must do it the same way in subsequent takes. There are people on set whose job is to watch out for these visual errors. It can be very difficult to keep track of all the details within a particular shot, but careful consideration of continuity will make the film seamless.

Last weekend while shooting a scene for my upcoming short film “If Only,” we ran into a situation that demanded we pay careful attention to the light falling onto the set. That particular day we began filming around 6pm while it was still daylight. It was an interior scene staged against a large window. I wanted the scene to take place in the late afternoon, but I knew that we would never get the coverage we needed before sunset. It was up to our cinematographer to match the lighting in subsequent close-ups with the daylight we saw in the establishing shots.

Fortunately, we were shooting 720p/24p on a Panasonic HVX-200a. All of our footage was on our P2 cards. The beauty of P2 is that every take it itemized as a separate file. Therefore, users have the ability to go back to any take without the need for rewinding tape. Rewinding tape to review footage can be risky due to possible time code breaks and the potential for recording over important footage. However, with P2, my cinematographer and I were able to review our wide shots from earlier in the day, examine the way the light was falling onto our actors, then match the close-ups accordingly. I think the results were excellent. This is another reason why I am a big fan of solid-state recording.

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Production Tip: Shooting Under Flourescents

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Shooting under flourescent lights while on location can be a nightmare. First, the light emitted by the bulbs creates a very flat, even, and uninteresting scene. Second, each flourescent bulb gives off light at a different frequency, which can play nasty tricks on your camera’s CCD. For those of you who have been forced to shoot under flourescents, you may have noticed that the color of your footage will gradually shift from a cooler tone to a warmer tone, then back again. Ideally, it would be best to turn off all flourescents while on location and set up your own lights to ensure maximum control over the lighting situation. However, this isn’t always an option – especially if your shoot is more run-and-gun. So, how can you best control the lighting when using your own light kit isn’t always an option?

  1. The very first thing you want to do is set a MANUAL white balance. Don’t leave control of the color in the hands of the camera’s auto white balance function. This could make things worse and the color shift could become even more noticeable.
  2. Try using a minus green card for your white balance. Flourescent lights will add a green tint to your scene. White balancing off of a minus green card will negate that tint and give your scene a more natural look. However, I’ve noticed that some green cards when used with certain cameras will make the scene look a little too rosy. you may have to experiment here.
  3. Adjust the camera’s shutter speed to 1/120. Usually, this will sync up the camera’s shutter with the rate at which the flourescent bulbs give off light, preventing the scene from color shifting. In my experiences, this has worked well with the Canon XL-1s, Canon XL2, Panasonic DVX-100, and Panasonic HVX-200.

Those are a few tips for correcting in-camera. If you ARE able to use your own lights, here are a coupe of additional suggestions:

  1. If you are able to use your own lights, but are unable to turn off the overhead flourescents, be sure to add green gel to your lights to compensate for the green tint emitted by the flourescent bulbs. Then, after adding the gel, get a manual white balance.
  2. Invest in a Kino-Flo light bank. the flourescent bulbs in a Kino kit emit light at a constant color temperature, so you don’t have to worry about fluctuations in the color of your scene.

Following these suggestions will certainly help compensate for an unpleasant lighting situation. I would also suggest that you visit the forums at Cinematography.com for tons of useful information on camera techniques.

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