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'The Electric Company' Revival Shot With Panasonic HD Camcorders

More than 20 years after it went off the air, "The Electric Company," the popular '70s show for kids who want to polish their reading skills, is coming back. The 2009 version of the literacy series, which recently initiated production in New York City, is being shot with Panasonic P2 HD cameras.

The primary cameras are AJ-HPX3000 native 1080p one-piece P2 HD camcorders, with AG-HPX500 shoulder-mount camcorders utilized for slow-motion effects. The weekly series, with 35 new 30-minute episodes targeted to the 6- to 9-year-old set, will debut next January on PBS KIDS. The new "The Electric Company" is a production of Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street. Bill Berner (pictured) is director of photography with Digital Imaging Technician Dave Satin.

The updated "The Electric Company" is a not-so-secret society with headquarters "somewhere in the big city" in a natural food diner. The four semi-superheroes who meet there have pledged to use their powers for good and can scramble, recall, project and animate words in astounding ways. Each episode features an 11 minute narrative, with songs, sketches and other inserts furthering the story line and enhancing its curricular goals.

Berner is shooting the series in AVC-Intra 100 1080/24pN. The HPX3000s are outfitted with Canon Cine Style 21X 7.5 and Fuji Cine Style 4.7X 13 lenses, Heden zoom motors, Micro Force zoom controllers, and Chroziel follow focus and matte boxes. The DIT has two BarTech BFD/M1 motor rigs that he uses to control the HPX3000s' iris settings wirelessly, and uses Panasonic AJ-RC10-G remote control units to control the cameras.

"The HPX3000s are producing stunning images and performing flawlessly," Berner said.

"The Electric Company" is being edited in Final Cut Pro in Apple's ProRes 422 Codec at 23.98 fps. The deliverable to PBS is 1080i/59.94 videotape. PBS will air the series in both HD and SD.