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DP Fischer shoots ‘Postales’ with Panasonic AG-HPX500

“Postales”(Postcards), written and directed by Josh Hyde, was chosen to participate last month in the Independent Feature Project’s 2009 Narrative Independent Filmmaker Lab in New York City.

The feature, shot with Panasonic’s AG-HPX500 2/3in P2 HD shoulder-mount camcorder, was one of 10 narrative rough cuts singled out by the IFP because of its artistic vision and outstanding promise. The director of photography was Dan Fischer.

“Postales” is a cross-cultural love story shot in the streets of Cusco, Peru. Pablo, a postcard-selling street kid, meets a young America tourist and, curious, follows her back to her hotel, setting off a chain of events that culminates with a stolen wallet, young love and a family losing its home.

The earlier short version of the movie, entitled “Chicle,” was one of 17 student shorts selected to screen at the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival, and went on to win prizes at the Hamptons, Black Mariah and Chicago International Film Festivals, as well as to screen at the Berlin International Film Festival.

According to Fischer, who owns the camera used for the shoot, the HPX500 was a good fit for the movie. With virtually no production support, the movie required “a fast, efficient team and gear,” he said. In particular, Fischer said, he appreciated by the ease of workflow and immediate results available with the solid-state camera.

To shoot “Postales,” Fischer took advantage of the dynamic range of the HPX500. Slightly underexposing scenes, which Fischer knew could be pulled up in post, allowed him to keep his blacks solid and bring out the detail he desired in his highlights, he said.

On the “Postales” shoot, the HPX500 was equipped with 2/3in Canon HD prime lenses and a Fujinon HD zoom lens, matte box, follow focus and a Panasonic BT-Lh80WU 7.9in widescreen multiformat color electronic viewfinder and production monitor. The production was shot at 1080 24pa onto four 16GB P2 cards. Final Cut Studio 2 was used to edit.