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“Sweet William” shot with Panasonic VariCam, edited on desktop in HD

Producers on the set of "Sweet William" edit the film using Panasonic and Apple's implementation of IEEE 1394 FireWire with 100Mb/s DV-HD.

“Sweet William,” a film about a young man’s journey to understand his past, was shot on location in Louisville, KY, last summer with Panasonic’s AJ-HDC27 VariCam HD Cinema camera.

The film is one of the first feature-length projects to take advantage of the desktop HD editing capabilities made possible by the Panasonic/Apple implementation of IEEE 1394 FireWire with 100Mb/s DV-HD - the native video compression of Panasonic DVCPRO HD recording systems.

The feature was shot last summer with Churchill Downs, the University of Louisville and local bars as backdrops. Produced by Josh Liveright, the film was directed by J. Miller Tobin and edited by Mitch Stanley. Veteran cinematographer Michael Caporale served as director of photography.

With Panasonic’s new, compact AJ-HD1200A DVCPRO HD VTR, 24fps or 60fps progressive scan material shot on a VariCam can be transferred via the VTR’s IEEE 1394 interface directly into Apple’s Final Cut Pro HD without generation loss.

Once transferred, the material is available for real-time editing operations. All footage maintains its camera-original quality, because the IEEE 1394 FireWire interface transfers the native DV-HD high-definition files, as originally recorded on tape in the VTR or Varicam, directly to the Power Mac G4 or Power Mac G5 host computer's internal hard drive. At that point, users can edit camera-original quality HD content on their desktop.

The AJ-HD1200A deck was used on the set to clone tapes, which were then sent back to the studio in Los Angeles, where they used a rented AJ-HD1200A deck to load video.

"With high definition editing on Final Cut Pro HD, the offline and online process essentially becomes one," Stanley said. "We 'offlined' on FCP at full HD resolution (720p24)--so, in that regard it's difficult to call it 'offlining.' We are seeing the images in full HD quality."

Stanley (who worked on an Apple G4 1.25 dual Power Mac) continued, "There is no 'online' edit session with this process. We do not have to go to an online linear tape room and pay for an expensive tape-to-tape HD conform. We simply take a hard drive with the final exported assembly from FCP and bring it to a facility for color correction and digital intermediate before going to 35mm film and distribution."

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