Manhattan-based director of photography Manfred Reiff recently relied on Panasonic’s new AJ-HPX3000 native 1080p one-piece camcorder to shoot video profiles of the actresses Marion Cotillard and Natalie Portman.
The Screen Tests, so titled as a nod to Andy Warhol’s iconic 1960s celebrity interviews of the same name, are top draws at TMagazine, a new online style e-zine from “The New York Times.”
TMagazine’s Screen Tests, like Warhol’s, feature celebrities of the moment and represent an inquiry into personality versus resumes. DP Reiff, a prominent cinematographer specializing in high-end fashion and beauty work, shot the TMagazine interviews last fall at Industria and CineMagic Studios in New York City.
Reiff has shot extensively with Panasonic’s AG-HVX200 P2 HD camcorder and calls P2 “an extremely robust format.” In keeping with the importance of the visual aspect of the assignment, Reiff wanted to take “a painterly approach that would be transparent to the viewer,” and that’s what the HPX3000 delivered, he said.
The actresses were shot on a deliberately scaled-down set, illuminated by only one Briese light, emulating the umbrella-type strobe light quality used in fashion photography. Reiff shot 1080p DVCPRO HD with the HPX3000 loaded with five 16GB P2 cards, allowing up to 80 minutes of record time. The HPX3000 was equipped with a Fujinon E-series HAe12 x 9.5 (9.5-114) Super Cine Style telephoto zoom lens.
The profiles were edited on Avid and then conformed in Final Cut Pro; the deliverable to “The New York Times” was a full-resolution QuickTime file.
The production rented the AJ-HPX3000 from Abel Cine Tech in New York City.