'Martin Lawrence Presents' shoots new season with P2 HD Varicams

"Martin Lawrence Presents 1st Amendment Stand-Up," executive produced by actor/comedian Martin Lawrence, on the Starz network recently captured content for its new season from a series of live comedy concerts documented with 10 AJ-HPX3700 P2 HD VariCams.

Ten concerts featuring more than 30 comics were presented over four days in May at the historic Chicago Theatre. The comprehensive live production was handled by Rush Hour Productions in Hollywood, CA, and equipment was supplied by Camera Support in Burbank.

Production gear also included Panasonic's AV-HS400A multiformat HD/SD live switcher and AJ-HPM200 P2 Mobile recorder/player. Rush Hour's Michael Bohusz was executive producer/director/editor for the assignment, and Camera Support president Gary Taillon served as technical supervisor.

Beyond a legendary space, the Chicago Theatre presents inherent large-scale production challenges. The 3600 seat auditorium is seven stories high, more than one half of a city block wide and nearly as long. Taillon explained that the size of the venue warranted having the 10 HPX3700s. One camcorder was used on stage, three were deployed handheld, and three were on jibs. Rounding out the camera lineup were two center cameras with Canon 42x HD lenses on tripods and one roving camera.

According to Taillon, image quality and the speed of the P2 workflow were the underlying reasons for selecting the HPX3700 cameras. "Rush Hour wanted to be editing the week after the concerts, and when you consider that we shot about 100 hours of footage, the fact that there was no digitizing saved us about 200 hours," he said.

The comedy concerts were recorded in 1080. Episodes were edited at Rush Hour Productions on Avid; Deluxe in Hollywood, CA, is handling the finish. Material will be delivered to Starz in 1080p.