Primary Pictures gets Varicam for TV documentaries

Primary Pictures, a full-service production company in Atlanta, Ga., recently purchased a Panasonic AJ-HDC27 VariCam HD Cinema camera. The unit has helped them realize various cost and operational efficiencies during production of a variety of documentary projects, including programming for The Discovery Channel and other outlets.

Rod Paul, Primary Pictures’s director/DP and a veteran of numerous regional and national commercials and international film projects, said he’s now using the AJ-HDC27 in place of his Super 16 (documentary) and 35mm (commercial) cameras.

Paul’s company specializes in documentaries, corporate films and large format films and has extensive experience in HD. He was the first director in North America to transfer Super 16mm film to HD, and also created a film production system for HD that National Geographic now uses as its standard.

The AJ-HDC27 has already been used to shoot slow-motion sequences for “The Roots of Racing,” an hour-long dirt track racing documentary that will air on The Discovery Channel in February 2003. (Primary shooting was done with his Panasonic AJ-D610WA DVCPRO25 camcorder.) He also used the VariCam to shoot episodes of “Winning Edge,” a series of 13 half-hour profiles of young athletes that is targeted for the PAX Network.

Next month, he will take the AJ-HDC27 to Ethiopia, where he will continue shooting “From the Apes,” a documentary on the evolution of the human species.

The 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 (4fps to 60fps in single-frame increments) for off-speed in-camera effects. The VariCam also features CineGamma software that permits Panasonic’s HD Cinema camera systems to more closely match popular film stocks.

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