TBS sitcom shot with Panasonic P2 HD camcorders

A new Turner Broadcasting System sitcom, “Are We There Yet?” recently wrapped production of 10 episodes shot with Panasonic AJ-HPX3000 1080p P2 HD solid-state camcorders and Canon HD lenses. The show premieres on June 2.

The Panasonic P2 HD format was chosen for its easy post workflow and playback on-set, plus financial savings over originating the show on tape, said Bill Berner, the director of photography. The show wanted to work with 1920 x 1080, 10-bit 4:2:2 acquisition and reduced depth of field.

Four Panasonic HPX3000 cameras were chosen. The cameras and all support gear were rented from Video Equipment Rentals in New York. The cameras have 1920 x 1080 sensors, AVC-Intra codec, 14-bit DSP and compatibility with cine-style lenses. The show was shot AVC-Intra 100 1080/24pN with a 180 degree shutter at all times.

The production was located at the Connecticut Film Center in Stamford, a 24000sq-ft renovated warehouse, with an additional 15,000sq ft at the facility for production offices, post suites and dressing rooms.

The HPX3000s were mounted on Vinten pedestals and heads. Typical of multicam sitcoms that use pedestal-mounted cameras, the operators controlled all functions, including pulling their own focus, moving their pedestals for live dollies and zooming.

A cost analysis of the 10 initial episodes showed that the production saved significant amounts of money and time by using P2. The savings were in tape stock and deck rentals in post, plus the time factor that came in the faster-than-real-time ingests to edit and easy logging in the file-based system.