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Producers shoot 'American Test Kitchen Live' with AG-HVX200 camcorders

"America's Test Kitchen," one of the most-watched cooking shows on public television, has spun off a one-hour special, "America's Test Kitchen: Live," shot with Panasonic AG-HVX200 DVCPRO HD P2 camcorders.

The new show debuted March 4 on WGBH in Boston during a station fund drive, and subsequently will be offered as a pledge special to all PBS member stations. The special will also be part of a three-DVD "America's Test Kitchen" boxed set used as an incentive for donors to meet an established pledge level.

Currently in its seventh season, "America's Test Kitchen" is shot with Panasonic AJ-SDX900 DVCPRO50 camcorders in the magazine's test kitchen outside Boston. The live edition follows the format of a typical episode.

Director/supervising editor Herb Sevush and director of photography Jan Maliszewski, who have been with the show since its inception, chose to shoot the pledge special with the HVX200s for several reasons.

The pair had shot a cooking show pilot with the camera, and DP Maliszewski had recently purchased an HVX200 to complement his Panasonic AJ-HDC27 VariCam variable-frame rate HD camcorder. The one-day shoot involved cost-constraints, flexibility issues and time pressures to produce a rough cut, so the production team devised a plan for a tapeless shoot with five HVX200s recording straight to Focus Enhancement's Firestore FS-100 Portable Direct To Edit (DTE) recorders.

Maliszewski determined that one Firestore per HVX200 would be sufficient for the projected 3.5-hour shoot. The DP shot in DVCPRO50 to take advantage of the longer record time.

The HVX200 records in 1080i and 720p in 100Mb/s DVCPRO HD quality with the ability to capture images in 21 record modes.

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