ORANGE, CALIF.—The first six seasons of "Cut Chop Rebuild," an automotive "how to" documentary series that we produce for Speed Channel, were shot using JVC GY-HD200 ProHD camcorders. For the seventh season, we upgraded to the JVC ProHD GY-HM700U for our main camera. And for our eighth season, which we began shooting in February, we've added a second GY-HM700U to serve as our "B" camera. As a result, we now have a completely tapeless workflow.
(L-R) Dan Woods, Daniel P. Coughlin, camera operator and Bill Reilly, Reilly Motorsports owner. CUTTING PRODUCTION TIME
The show is unscripted, and our crew tends to overshoot. It's not unusual for one day's shooting to provide nearly six hours of footage from each camera. In past seasons, a junior editor would spend hours and hours transferring tape-based footage into our Apple Final Cut Pro nonlinear editing system. However, with the switch to GY-HM700U's native file recording on SDHC memory cards, our workflow is much more efficient. The ability to download instead of digitizing footage speeds up production tremendously, with our post-production time dropping significantly.
To capture audio for the series, we use two wireless lavs, along with a boom mic, with all being fed to a mixer and then recorded along with video on the GY-HM700U. The camera's audio recording quality is so good that we don't need to bring along a separate DAT recorder on location. The ability to shoot in 720p and 1080i also allows us to deliver projects to Speed and other clients in a number of formats and styles, and the camera's interchangeable bayonet-mount lenses are also a great benefit.
When we're in the field, the GY-HM700U's professional look is almost as important as its performance. Clients never question our capabilities or professionalism when they see the GY-HM700U. When we have our cameras on our shoulders, we don't give the appearance that we're shooting a wedding video. And for a boutique company, that's pretty important.
Our JVCs don't have it easy, as shooting conditions are pretty extreme. As an example, we sometimed shut off air conditioning in the garages where much of our footage is recorded because the system noise level is too loud to allow good audio recording. As a result, it's pretty common for temperatures to exceed 100 degrees. Throughout our shooting, cameras are exposed to flying sparks, hammers, and welding torch flames. We sometimes even hang cameras from car windows to capture footage on freeways and city streets.
Our cameras can get into some really extreme conditions on set, but the GY-HM700U has performed wonderfully for us in every situation.
Dan Woods is founder of WAS Productions, and also serves as host and executive producer of" Chop Cut Rebuild." He may be contacted at email@example.com.
For additional information, contact JVC at 800-582-5825 or visit www.pro.jvc.com.