Gonwest Taps Panasonic HD Cameras to Shoot Discovery Channel Documentary

Gonwest Video Productions used Panasonic's AJ-HDX900 (opens in new tab) multiformat DVCPRO HD camcorder to shoot the Discovery Channel's prison documentary "Breaking Point," anchored by Ted Koppel.

"The main selling point of the HDX900 was its ability to shoot 1080i as well as 720p-that capability has opened the door to a whole new category of clientele," said Gonwest founder Bob Goldsborough, an Emmy award-winning director of photography.

The two-hour documentary will air on Oct. 7 at 9 p.m. ET. It was shot with two HDX900s over two weeks early this spring at Solano State prison in Vacaville, Calif.

"The producers were going for a cinematic look, so we shot 720/24p," said Goldsborough. "On the other hand, they wanted a certain informality, which meant we worked almost exclusively with available lighting. Hence, we were able to take advantage of the HDX900's extraordinary light handling abilities."

The HDX900s used Fujinon 13 x 4.5 and 18 x 7.6 HD lenses. Panasonic 17-inch (BT-L1700W) and 8.4-inch (BT-LH900A) LCD production monitors were on-set, the latter equipped with an Anton Bauer battery. In post, HDX900 material was injected into an Avid Media Composer Adrenaline at DVCPRO50 resolution using an AJ-HD1700 DVCPRO HD VTR.