'American Chopper' rides into new season on HDX900

When the fourth season of the reality show "American Chopper" premiered on The Learning Channel last week, it became one of the first national series shot with Panasonic AJ-HDX900 2/3in multiformat DVCPRO HD camcorders.

Pilgrim Films & Television in Sherman Oaks, CA, purchased five HDX900 cameras to support production of the new season of "American Chopper." The show follows the various business and social activities of a colorful, sometimes volatile, father-son team who build some of the world's most creative custom motorcycles in their own shop.

Prior to this season, "American Chopper" was shot with Panasonic VariCams, but because the show is done in 30p, the Varicam "is more than we need, as we're not shooting with variable frame rates," said Craig Piligian, executive producer of the show. Like the VariCam, the HDX900 captures the full range of contrast needed and lets viewers see the detail and color of the bikes accurately, he added.

In post, the tapes are downconverted to mini-DV using the Panasonic AJ-HD1400 and the AJ-HD1200A DVCPRO HD decks for playback. The SD tapes are digitized into an Avid Unity, and shows are edited on Avid Media Composer Meridiens.

For more information, visit www.panasonic.com/broadcast and www.tlc.com/turbo.