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Director Hall turns to AJ-HPX3000 for upcoming dark thriller

It is a dark and claustrophobic night for the heroine of the upcoming horror movie, Laid to Rest,” the terrifying story of a young girl who wakes up in a casket with a traumatic head injury and no memory of her identity.

This second directorial effort from renowned special effects artist Robert Hall was shot entirely with Panasonic AJ-HPX3000 native 1080p one-piece P2 HD camcorders. Anchor Bay Entertainment, a division of Starz Media, has picked up the film for release in February 2009.

Hall was introduced to P2 HD cameras when he shot a music video with the AG-HVX200 handheld. According to Hall, the tapeless workflow was far more appealing than the lab, telecine and transfer costs he experienced with his first feature, “Lightning Bug.”

His research led him to the HPX3000, which he chose based on the AVC-Intra codec, its full-raster cinema-quality images and support for a solid-state workflow. The production rented two HPX3000s and an AJ-HPM110 P2 Mobile recorder/player from Panavision in Hollywood, CA. The cameras were outfitted with Panavision Primo digital zoom lenses.

“Laid to Rest” was shot in AVC-Intra 100 at 1080p. Director of photography Scott Winig operated the A camera, with camera operator Laurence Avenet-Bradley on the second HPX3000. While the shooting style was largely run-and-gun, the cameras were positioned on dollies, sticks, baby sticks, cranes and Technocranes as well as used handheld. Zeiss Digi Primes were used for very wide-angle shots.

“I rated the camera at ASA 250 with adjustment for -3db, which essentially brought us down to an ASA of 200, matching up nicely with one of my favorite, much-used Kodak stocks, the 5217 200T,” Winig said.

The filmmakers were equipped with up to a dozen 16GB P2 cards on location. Hall would review video in the AJ-HPM110 P2 Mobile recorder and had two Macbook Pro laptops loaded with Final Cut Pro Studio 2 to begin the editing process on location.

Hall is currently working on a director’s cut of “Laid to Rest.” The movie will be color-corrected in a da Vinci system and output to film.

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