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‘Murderball’ takes shape with Panasonic AG-DVX100A

Panasonic’s AG-DVX100A captures images of “Murderball,” a new film about quadriplegic rugby players.

The new film “Murderball” chronicles the lives of highly competitive, quadriplegic rugby players as they overcome extraordinary obstacles to become world class athletes.

For virtually all of the two and a half years needed to shoot the movie, filmmakers Dana Adam Shapiro and Henry-Alex Rubin captured more than 200 hours of footage with the Panasonic AG-DVX100A MiniDV 3-CCD 24p camcorders.

The filmmakers used Rubin’s one-chip and three-chip interlace MiniDV cameras in Sweden with an eye towards ultimate 35mm transfer for theatrical distribution.

With a rock-bottom budget, Rubin and Shapiro’s producer, Jeff Mandel, turned to colleague Tony Tamberelli of Tamberelli Digital (New York, NY), who loaned them DVX100 equipment for a year and a half for free. More than halfway through shooting, thinkMTV Films invested in the project, and purchased a DVX100A (the DVX100 upgrade) for the production.

Much of the movie was a single-camera shoot, with Rubin shooting from a wheelchair in the camera’s advanced 24p mode. All of the games, however, involved two or three DVX100As, with Shapiro and David Rodriguez operating the additional units.

The filmmakers worked with editors Geoffrey Richman and Conor O’Neill to edit the film in Apple Final Cut Pro. Both editors had their own systems, as did Rubin, and the three of them worked for nearly six months to finish the 85-minute film.

For the tape-to-film transfer, the filmmakers first converted to DVCPRO HD and then did their film out from a Celco onto acetate negative. They printed on Kodak Premiere 2393 at Deluxe in Toronto.

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