TV Worldwide, a Web-based global TV network in Chantilly, VA, used two JVC GY-HD200 ProHD camcorders to shoot six 30-second PSAs in cooperation with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. The PSA campaign, which can be viewed at TV Worldwide’s veteran’s affairs Web channel, was recently awarded a 2009 Telly Award.
The PSAs, which have been running on local TV, cable and Internet channels since May, raise awareness and solicit funds for the construction of The Education Center at The Wall. The new information center, to be built under the National Mall between the Vietnam Veterans and Lincoln Memorials in Washington, D.C., will provide an in-depth look at the Vietnam War and honor the soldiers who fought and died in the conflict.
“We chose to shoot with JVC GY-HD200 camcorders because of their superior picture quality and outstanding performance in difficult lighting and weather conditions,” said Dave Gardy, Worldwide TV’s chairman and CEO. “For critical shots of actor Tom Selleck walking along the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, this camcorder performed extremely well despite extreme cold and snow, as well as fluctuations in lighting levels.”
Besides location shooting at wall, additional segments were shot in Alexandria, VA, at the office of former U.S. Secretary of State and retired four-star Army Gen. Colin Powell. In addition to Selleck, who is national spokesman for The Education Center, and Powell, the fundraising campaign’s honorary chairman, the PSAs also feature impassioned pleas for donations by retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey, chairman of the Advisory Board for the Center; Gold Star Mother Ann Sherman; and Jan Scruggs, Vietnam veteran and founder of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
“The biggest production challenge we faced was a very tight shooting schedule. In fact, all six PSAs had to be shot on Feb. 3, the only day the generals and Selleck could get together. That left no room for error,” said Pete B. Josendale, vice president of production for TV Worldwide. “Despite lighting, weather and logistical challenges, these camcorders performed exceptionally well.”
At wall, one camcorder was mounted on a Steadicam rig that trucked along to shoot Selleck’s walk alongside the wall, where he stopped to point to one of the 58,000 names of the fallen etched on its black granite surface.
“While this camcorder is compact and lightweight, it has a full camera body, and that proved to be a tremendous asset because we did not have any weighting issues when setting up the Steadicam. The rig stayed steady and balanced,” Josendale said. “While the Steadicam has a built-in monitor for the operator, the camcorder’s flip-out viewfinder made life easier for our assistant cameraman.”
For the production in Powell’s office, a second camcorder was mounted on a tripod and used in conjunction with a prompter, fabric backdrop and ARRI lighting. Gardy said TV Worldwide has always used JVC cameras to produce programs for its veteran’s affairs Web channel, including live webcasts of Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies. While TV Worldwide usually shoots native 720p HD with the JVC GY-HD200s, they shot this PSA campaign in SD to satisfy the technical requirements of a broad spectrum of media outlets.
“We consider our 200s to be our workhorse cameras,” Josendale said. “Their picture quality holds up better than any other cameras we’ve tried, especially when downconverted or compressed for Internet distribution.”