‘Fireproof’ puts cameras, filmmakers to the test

The newly released film “Fireproof,” an action-packed love story produced by Sherwood Pictures in Albany, GA, about fighting fires and marital demons, was shot with Panasonic’s AJ-HDC27H VariCam HD Cinema camera.

“Fireproof” stars Kirk Cameron as Captain Caleb Holt, a firefighter trapped in a failing marriage. Challenged by his father, Holt and his wife begin a 40-day experiment known as "The Love Dare" in an attempt to save their marriage. The movie was shot on location in Albany, GA, over six weeks in late 2007.

With distribution in place in advance, the “Fireproof” filmmakers were guaranteed a film-out; therefore, writer/director Alex Kendrick and director of photography Bob Scott took full advantage of the VariCam’s imaging capacity and recorded (via an HD-SDI feed from the camera) directly to an on-set Mac using Final Cut Pro and Blackmagic’s DeckLink HD video card. The video stream was encoded using Apple’s ProRes 422 at a data rate of 220Mb/s. Scott also recorded to DVCPRO HD tapes for backup.

“Fireproof” was predominantly shot with one camera, and Scott outfitted the camera with a Pro 35 lens adapter and Zeiss super-speed lenses. “We wanted to emulate a film look as much as possible,” Scott said, “and those accessories gave us the same characteristics as 35mm from the lens standpoint, with a shallow depth of field and filmlike grain.” The DP used two AG-HVX200 P2 HD camcorders for some extreme action shots, including shooting out of a fireproof box in the middle of a fire.

The picture required Scott to shoot scenes with intense smoke and humidity, but despite the challenging conditions, the VariCam HD camera “stood up very well to punishing sequences,” he said.

The movie was edited in-house at Sherwood Pictures with Apple Final Cut Pro. The color correction and film-out were done at PostWorks in New York City.

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