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Michigan production services company increases quality, profits with new HD camcorder

Richard Hartwell, owner of Hartwell Digital Media in Petoskey, MI, is a one-man operation providing production services such as scripting, camera operation, lighting, sound, direction and editing to clients throughout Michigan's lower peninsula.

His recent purchase of a Panasonic AG-HPX250 P2 HD handheld with full 1920 x 1080 resolution AVC-Intra recording has elevated the quality of his work for local resorts, political campaigns as well as boat and auto dealerships.

According to Hartwell, his investment in the HPX250 saved him about $10,000 over other alternatives without sacrificing image quality, which has allowed him to offer his clients a fair rate while remaining profitable. "The savings have gone towards new lights and microphones," he added.

Hartwell had previously shot with the Panasonic AG-HVX200. His work with that camcorder garnered both Golden and Bronze Telly Awards. "The HPX250 represents a vast improvement over the previous generation, plus I'm already familiar with the P2 workflow and don't have to learn a new language," he said.

The HPX250 is especially well-suited to handle the changing dynamics of Hartwell's diverse location work. "I do a lot of shooting outdoors, and I might get my best shot as a cloud goes over the sun," he said. "Even without any lighting, I still get great images. Fundamentally, with the 10-bit AVC-Intra recording, the camcorder is capable of gorgeous image production; I can get such great shallow depth of field and soft back focus."

One of Hartwell's first projects with the HPX250 was a promotional video called "Barefoot TV," shot for Grand Traverse Resort and Spa. Other HPX250 projects in the works include a political ad for a House of Representatives campaign, as well as assignments for North Central Michigan College, Petoskey Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation, and recurring auto and boat commercials.