Bandito Films shoots ‘True Life’ episode with P2 HD camcorder

New York City-based production company Bandito Films is currently shooting an hour-long episode of MTV’s long-running documentary series “True Life” with Panasonic’s AG-HPX500 2/3in P2 HD shoulder-mount camcorder.

Bandito executive producer Josh Haygood, who previously shot several “True Life” episodes with Panasonic AG-DVX100 series mini-DV camcorders, said he had upgraded to an HD, solid-state workflow to increase production efficiencies and create an HD master.

The episode in production, “True Life: I’m Stuck At Home,” profiles people in their 20s who, for a variety of reasons, are forced to live at home with their parents. Since its initial episode in 1998, MTV's award-winning documentary series has told the real-life stories of young people and the unusual subcultures they inhabit.

Bandito purchased the HPX500 in New York City for the “True Life shoot, which commenced in November and will continue through early spring 2009. The episode is expected to enter into broadcast rotation in summer 2009.

Even though MTV currently airs “True Life” in standard definition, Haygood chose to shoot the episode in high definition so he could “walk away with an HD master for future broadcasts,” he said.

Haygood, who is shooting the episode in 720/24pN with four 32GB P2 cards loaded into the camcorder, selected the solid state format to streamline the production process. Using all the cards allows Haywood to have five hours of recording time, covering an entire day with minimal downtime when battery changes are needed. “We’re able to preserve the all-important verite moment and avoid any mental break between us and our subjects,” he said.

Haygood has equipped the HPX500 with a Fujinon 10x4.8 BEVM ENG lens. He is shooting handheld, with the exception of time-lapse shots. After a day’s shoot, footage is downloaded through a MacBook Pro onto two mirrored 500GB Lacie drives, with a pair of 250GB drives available for any overflow. Editing is being done with an Avid Media Composer.

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