Since the inception of "Saturday Night Live’s” SNL Digital Shorts during the 2005-2006 season, John Rosenblatt of Rosey Media has served as the director of photography for segments that have been crowd-pleasers and some of the most “viral” video shared on the Internet.
In February, the DP began shooting the shorts with Panasonic’s AJ-HPX3000 native 1080p one-piece P2 HD camcorders. According to Rosenblatt, the P2 workflow works well with the Final Cut Pro-based system the show uses to post.
Shorts are shot at 1080/24p, which produces a “cinelike look and feel” that Rosenblatt likes. Additionally, the HPX3000’s four channels of audio allow Rosenblatt to isolate each audio track.
Rosenblatt rents HPX3000 camera packages from Liman Video Rental (LVR) in New York City. LVR sets the cameras up with Anton/Bauer Dionic 90 batteries and P2 Stores or FireWire drives as needed.
Rosenblatt, who normally works with one or two cameras depending on what’s being shot, how much time he has and the style desired, gets involved after the show’s writers conclude their meeting at about 9 p.m. on Wednesday night. Coordination and shooting are done on Thursday and Friday with a deadline for edited, mixed and ready-for-air work by the 8 p.m. dress rehearsal Saturday night, he said.
When setting up a shot with the HPX3000, Rosenblatt likes to look on a monitor with the camera in preset white balance first before playing with the color matrix, he said. He prefers to “crush blacks a bit” but otherwise doesn’t adjust gamma much, Rosenblatt said.
“I normally use Fuji glass (such as the HAs18.7BRM18 HD lens) and always have a Fuji 13x4.5BERM wide angle, sometimes with a matte box if needed,” he said. Additionally, he uses the Panasonic BT-LH900E LCD HD monitor and a glass monitor, if possible. Rosenblatt shoots with 32GB P2 cards, which are normally changed out when they are about 25 minutes full.