“Sarah Landon and the Paranormal Hour,” a big-screen ghost story shot with Panasonic’s AG-HVX200 P2 HD camcorder, opened nationwide in theaters Oct. 19 in time for Halloween fun and spookiness.
In this first in a series of Sarah Landon mysteries, the 17-year-old heroine is in over her head. Staying far away from home with her late friend’s grandmother, Sarah realizes she’s sleeping in a haunted guest house and that she’s just uncovered a small town's dark secret.
Director of photography Andrew Kuepper, whose resume includes camerawork on many primetime TV shows and commercial spots, chose to outfit the HVX200 with Redrock Microsystems’ M2 cinema lens adapter. The M2 allows 35mm lenses to be used with HD video cameras such as the HVX200 to create the depth of field, angle of view and focus characteristic of high-end film productions.
According to Kuepper, the dynamic range and color rendition the HVX200 were “surprisingly close” to what he was accustomed to in film. The film was shot in Cine-D curve. Kuepper added +1 to the chroma, but otherwise “shot the entire feature almost stock,” he said.
“Sarah Landon” director Lisa Comrie explained that this was a scaled-up production, with full lighting and grip packages, comprising a five-ton grip truck package and a five-ton electric truck package with 500amp generator. The crew used 20K tungsten lights to light up the night in concert with 5K and 2K open-face and Fresnel lights. Daylight exteriors were lit with 12K, 4K, 2.5K and 1200W HMIs by LTM. A Chameleon hydraulic dolly package was used on tracks for moving shots along with a Steadicam operated by Mario Ortiz of Cinema Verde Productions, supplier of the production packages.