New reality series shoots with Panasonic VariCam

Panasonic’s AJ-HDC27 VariCam high-definition cameras have been selected to shoot The Casino, a new reality drama for FOX. The 13-episode series will offer a behind-the-scenes look at the renovation of the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino, in Las Vegas, after its new owners take control of the business and attempt to bring back it back to its past glory. The new show will be the first primetime network unscripted reality series to be shot in the 720p high-definition format.

Production for the 13-episode series, being produced by Mark Burnett Productions, will begin this Spring with up to 18 VariCam cameras and a wide variety of Fujinon HD telephoto and wide-angle ENG-style lenses. Most of the gear is being rented from Bexel Corp. in Burbank, Calif. It’s slated to air this summer.

In addition to the VariCams and Fujinon lenses, Bexel will equip The Casino project with a full complement of audio production equipment, field playback and down conversion equipment. The rental to Mark Burnett Productions is valued at more than $500,000.

Mark Burnett, president of Mark Burnett Productions, said, “The quality advantages of HD are significant, while the cost of capturing the series in HD is now only slightly higher than standard definition. High definition is definitely a viable means from a quality, cost and operational standpoint for us to produce programming.”

In addition to the VariCams, Panasonic’s TH-42PHD6Y 42-inch HD plasma displays and BT-LH900 9-inch HD monitors will play prominent roles in the production of the series.

Panasonic’s AJ-HDC27 VariCam replicates many of the key features of film-based image acquisition, including 24-frame progressive scan images, time lapse recording, and a wide range of variable frame rates (4-fps to 60-fps in single-frame increments) for “overcranked” and “undercranked” off-speed in-camera effects. The VariCam also features CineGamma software that enables users to closely match the latitude of film stocks.

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