VariCam delivers ‘Beyond the Break’

The plight of the four-person WaveSync pro surfing team on “Beyond the Break,” a half-hour drama airing on teen network The N, has been shot on location in Hawaii for two seasons with four Panasonic AJ-HDC27 VariCam HD Cinema cameras. The second season of the show will premiere in 2007.

The show is shot in HD because of “the expanded latitude” it provides when shooting and its flexibility in post, according to Bob Hayes, director of photography.

Hayes, who pushed to use the VariCam, is a veteran TV cinematographer, having shot four previous series, “PS I Luv You,” “Sweating Bullets,” “One West Waikiki” and “Pacific Blue.” With the exception of underwater surfing footage shot on 16mm film, all footage for “Beyond the Break” was shot with the VariCams.

The production crew used two VariCams on almost every first unit shot, Hayes said. Another VariCam was set aside for the second unit and a separate camera body was available as a back-up, he added.

Hayes made considerable use of the VariCam’s off-speed shooting capabilities. The VariCam let him shoot with the slow shutter and also shoot slow motion up to 60fps without any computer manipulation.

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