Skip to main content

JVC ProHD Camcorder Great Documentary Tool

Mike Pellegatti
PHOENIX —After visiting the same location sites year after year to collect wildlife stock footage for clients of my company, I noticed that some areas of that forest were dying over time. I started documenting little bits of this, but had no intention of doing anything with it. As it turns out, warmer winters are allowing pine beetles to survive in higher numbers and, as a result, killing millions of acres of pine tree forests in the western United States and Canada.

Last fall, I heard about the 2011 International Forest Film Festival (IFFF), a collaboration between the United Nations Forum on Forests and the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival. As someone who has spent so much time documenting nature, I've always been environmentally conscious. I decided this was an important story to tell and embarked on a new documentary project.


With only a month to produce a completed product, I enlisted the help of my friend Lance Schelvan. Together, we developed a script and edited together video footage from my extensive stock footage catalog. We even included an interview with Dr. Jesse Logan, who had worked as a research entomologist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service's Interior West Bark Beetle Project. This project was produced primarily with footage shot with JVC's GY-HM700U ProHD camcorder.

Despite the very tight deadline, we submitted the project in time, with "Death of a Forest" being named as a finalist in the shorts category at the 2011 IFFF. Now, I hope to produce an hour-long documentary on the subject.

During my 20-year career, I've used a variety of cameras to shoot stock footage, including the JVC GY-HD200U that I used for some of the older footage in "Death of a Forest." These days, my camera of choice is the GY-HM700U. Unlike some of today's cameras, which are far too menu driven, my lightweight ProHD camera has easily accessible controls. Everything is where it needs to be; I don't have to hunt for anything. And due to its size, it's easy to stop along the trail and take shots. It's really built like a production camera should be.


My JVC camera has functioned well in a variety of extreme weather environments, from the –20 F. cold climates of the Rocky Mountains to the 112 degree desert heat of Arizona, and the humidity of Panama. As there's no tape mechanism to maintain, the GY-HM700U has also eliminated significant operational issues and maintenance costs. In addition, it's easy to work with SDHC media cards. Not only has this type of storage eliminated the dropouts associated with videotape, but the integration with the .MOV files and Final Cut Pro makes life a lot easier.

Mike Pellegatti has been a field producer and videographer for more than 20 years, shooting everything from interviews to adventure sports. He may be contacted at

For additional information, contact JVC at 800-582-5825 or visit