DP Mark Smith documents search for Amelia Earhart with new shoulder-mount HD camcorder

Peabody Award-winning DP Mark Smith recently purchased Panasonic's new AG-HPX370 P2 HD shoulder-mount camcorder to use as the primary camera on his third voyage to the remote South Pacific island of Nikumaroro to document the Amelia Earhart Expeditions' archeological research.

His equipment pack also includes an AG-HPX170 P2 HD handheld as his B camera, an AG-HPG20 P2 portable HD recorder/player, an AG-HPG10 P2 gear viewer/recorder and an AJ-PCD2 P2 solid-state memory card drive.

Smith is part of a 16-member team that departed May 18 and is traveling under the aegis of The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), an organization that contends the famed aviator Earhart landed and ultimately died on Gardner Island, which is now known as Nikumaroro. Smith previously journeyed with the group in 2001 and 2007, and on the latter tour used the AG-HVX200 as his primary camera.

TIGHAR and Smith's company, o7 Films, are currently negotiating a feature-length documentary profiling the expeditions' compelling findings. A major satellite/cable channel is expected to air it late this year.

"I will be shooting in AVC-Intra because of its superb image quality for the present and future," Smith said. "I have been dealing with tons of legacy footage that is a part of the Earhart project's archive. Consequently, getting the highest quality original material tops my list of priorities."

The mandate of the 2007 16-day Nikumaroro expedition was to seek clues to Earhart's presence there. Persuasive circumstantial evidence was uncovered at the "Seven Site," the castaways' campsite that TIGHAR began excavating in 2001.

Smith will shoot in AVC-Intra 100 at 1080/30pN on the HPX370 and in DVCPRO HD 1080/30p on the HPX170. He will use the P2 Portable's HD-SDI input to record AVC-Intra 100 1080/60i from the remotely operated underwater camera. He will use the HPG20 and HPG10 as card readers with the PCD2 as back-up. Smith is traveling with hard drives with 16TB of storage and will routinely offload footage to a CalDigit VR mini bus-powered, two-drive RAID system.