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TeleNext Media expands outdoor shoots for soap opera with AG-HVX200

Until very recently, the troubles about to beset the Hughes and Snyders of Midwest soap opera mecca Oakdale were largely confined to the indoors.

TeleNext Media in New York City, longtime production company for the daytime drama “As the World Turns,” limited exterior work to once or twice a year because of logistics and expense.

However, last year TeleNext Media purchased three Panasonic AG-HVX200 P2 HD handheld camcorders, which now make it easier and more affordable for producers to expand the time it spent shooting outside the studio.

A typical workday may now encompass up to five locations, with two camera operators shooting throughout the New York metropolitan area, said Kelsey Hunt, TeleNext Media digital producer. The hills and dales of Staten Island, Long Island and New Jersey stand in for Oakdale’s suburban environs, while Brooklyn is a credible substitute for Chicago, the big city closest to the fictional Oakdale.

Hunt supervises all digital production for the show, which includes creation of its Web site and other online content in addition to the digitally shot location work. She became familiar with Panasonic digital cameras during the production of an online soap opera series and a reality show spin-off of “As the World Turns.”

One of the camera’s most useful features for the exterior shoots is its light handling capability, she said. “We work strictly with available light. We don’t see a lot of grain when the gain is on, and the color saturation is excellent,” Hunt said.

Seventeen people, including two shooters, a tech manager, a boom operator and an audio mixer, make up the “As the World Turns” exterior crews. The production uses numerous 32GB P2 cards and erases the cards after a one-hour episode is put together. The exterior shots are assembled in Final Cut Pro, and those scenes are laid into the master show edit.