Ok, this is a couple of days old, but it’s required reading for anyone who wants to know what the HDV cameras are like in a real production environment – in this case prime-time TV drama. Showreel magazine has an article about DPs Rodney Charters and Taylor Wigton experimenting with some recent HDV cameras on the set of 24. Showreel’s articles are usually members-only, but this one is free.
24 is an ideal testing ground because it has an experienced staff, a solid production track record, and already uses a great deal of video for security camera and news footage. Also, a lot of the drama takes place on a single set with highly controllable lighting, which is good since these cameras tend to have very limited latitude. At the moment the show still uses 35mm film for the exteriors, but the DPs have been using the Sony Z1 and the JVC HD100 on the set for stage one of their tests. Stage two will involve the HVX200 P2 and the Canon XL H1. I’m looking forward to seeing what stage three will be…
Also included in these tests are the requisite acceories for these tiny cameras; matte boxes, fig rigs, and most importantly, adapters for the 35mm lenses already being used on the show. This is important for a several reasons, firstly so all the footage will match, and secondly so that the focus pullers are able to have total control over a high quality lens. 24 is generally a very free-form, action-packed, hand-held show, so rock solid remote focus options were a must.
Keep an eye out for articles on the next batch of cameras, and more info on the dailies, editing, and post processes involved.