Cinematographer Mark Gambol, principal of MG-Pictures in Lansdowne, PA, is shooting two nationally syndicated TV series with a pair of newly acquired Panasonic AG-HPX250 P2 HD handheld camcorders.
Gambol is using the 10-bit, 4:2:2, full 1920 x 1080 resolution camcorders with AVC-Intra recording to shoot “Wild about Animals” and “Awesome Adventures.”
Produced by Steve Rotfeld Productions in Bryn Mawr, PA, the longstanding educational/informational, twice-weekly series for teens have been cleared in 29 of the top 30 markets (total clearance in 85 percent of the United States), including the Fox O&O Station Group and major affiliates in other station groups, including Local TV, Tribune, Raycom Media, Cox and Media General.
The award-winning “Awesome Adventures” takes teens ages 13 to 16 on incredible journeys all over the world. Hosted by actress Mariette Hartley, “Wild about Animals” travels the globe to bring young viewers fascinating stories based in nature.
Gambol, who currently holds the director of photography credit on both series, is a veteran Panasonic shooter. Previous generations of P2 HD handhelds, including the AG-HVX200 and AG-HPX170, long served as mainstays of his business. He purchased his first HPX250 at the end of 2011 and the second in spring 2012 to handle the television assignment.
This is the first year “Awesome Adventures” is requiring its DP to travel and the first year the shows are airing in HD. According to Gambol, the small size and attractive price of the HPX250 supported the expanded production and transition to HD.
“When I wanted to replace my HVX200 and HPX170, I naturally gravitated to the HPX250 since I was already invested in P2 cards and the workflow,” he said. “Jam syncing the time codes for multicamera operation is quick and easy, and the HD-SDI out improves and facilitates monitoring.”
Gambol has already had the HPX250s on location in New Zealand, Australia, Maui, Alaska and multiple U.S cities. “I can’t overemphasize how user-friendly these cameras are,” he said. “They match so well, and are light and easy to travel with. I’ve worked with them while the teens — and I — have been bungee jumping, white water rafting, jet boating and shooting from a glider with the camera jammed right in front of my face. The HPX250 absolutely fits our run-and-gun criteria.”
Gambol is shooting both series in AVC-Intra 50, which he considers “the ideal trade-off between image quality and recording capacity.”