Embedded filmmaker to shoot Force Recon documentary in HD

Equipped with three Panasonic AG-HVX200 DVCPRO HD solid-state camcorders, filmmaker Marc Singer recently departed for a tour of duty in Iraq with the Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance Platoon to film an upcoming documentary.

The Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance Platoon (Force Recon) is a special-purpose unit recognized as the special forces of the Marine Corps. Force Recon performs highly specialized, small scale, high-risk operations and undergoes intensive training exceeding that of regular infantry Marines. The unit is independent, works in small teams and works well behind enemy lines.

Singer has lived and trained with the Marine Force Recon platoon at bases on the East Coast since late last year and began shooting with the HVX200 as soon as the camera became available.

Shooting the documentary with film in the war zone would be problematic. Re-supplying film stock under treacherous conditions would be impossible. Additionally, Singer must carry everything he needs. He needed a lightweight camera that is in Singer’s words “easy to sustain.”

The HVX200 combines multiple HD and SD formats, multiple recording modes and variable frame rates and the benefits of P2 solid-state memory recording. The rugged, compact DVCPRO HD P2 camcorder offers production-quality HD with independent intra-frame encoding, 4:2:2 color sampling.

Even before traveling to the war zone, the filmmaker encountered extreme shooting conditions with the HVX200. Once during a pre-deployment exercise the team was on a building raid that required blowing up the entrance. Close to the action, Singer shot the blast. With conventional cameras, the blast causes the picture to break up. “I could feel the wave going through the HVX200, but the picture was not affected in the slightest,” he said.

Singer is traveling with 13 P2 cards (two 8GB cards, the remainder 4 GB cards). He shoots in either 1080i or 720pn depending on what he is shooting and how much time he has to make card switches. Shooting in 720pn affords him the option to use slow motion, which he does frequently. Singer is also equipped with two P2 Stores that he uses for offloading cards in the field. If the platoon is out on a mission for an extended time, he packs a laptop and several small mini G-RAID drives to offload footage as well.

(During breaks from combat-zone filming, Singer is chronicling his experiences, including his work with the HVX200, in his blog at www.marcsinger.info.)

For more information, visit www.panasonic.com/hvx200.