WINDOWSEAT Pictures shoots Vans Triple Crown of Surfing with P2 HD camcorders

WINDOWSEAT Pictures, in El Segundo, CA, recently shot four one-hour programs documenting the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing with several Panasonic P2 HD solid-state camcorders. The shows will air on FOX Cable Networks’ Fuel TV and subsequently on VOOM’s RUSH HD network.

Shot with AG-HPX170 and AG-HVX200 handhelds and the AG-HPX500 shoulder-mount P2 HD camcorders, the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing is a Hawaiian specialty series of professional surfing events staged on the North Shore of Oahu, a coastline world-famous in surfing circles for its clockwork winter swells that reach 50ft in height.

Last fall, WINDOWSEAT purchased two HPX170s specifically for the seven-week Vans Triple Crown shoot. “With no tape drive, the HPX170 is significantly lighter [than the production company’s HVX200s], an obvious plus for our type of work,” said WINDOWSEAT executive producer Moz Mirbaba.

WINDOWSEAT took seven P2 HD camcorders on the Vans Triple Crown assignment: four HVX200s, two HPX170s and an HPX500, which was rented from EVS in Glendale, CA. The HPX170s were the main interview cameras, and the HVX200s outfitted with Century Optics doublers were the chief “surfing” cameras, with shooters on jet skis operated by the Hawaiian Water Patrol capturing footage of the competitors as well as free surfers. The HPX500 was used as the contest camera to shoot the master shots (sunsets, huge waves) with long lenses that could see a quarter of a mile out into the ocean.

WINDOWSEAT outfitted the HPX170s with the new Redrock M2 cinema lens adapter for 35mm lenses, said Matt Devino, the production company’s lead editor on the Triple Crown shoot.

WINDOWSEAT had 30 32GB P2 cards on location in Hawaii. The company elected to recycle cards out one at a time as soon as they were at capacity. Each camera was assigned to a PowerBook G4, each of which had two FireWire drives attached to provide double backup of footage.

QuickTime files were stored on one of the backup drives; the second drive in each pair was sent to Los Angeles, where it was backed up on WINDOWSEAT’s server for triple safety.

WINDOWSEAT set up two Mac Pro eight-core workstations on the island and ran five eight-core machines back at its Los Angeles office, all tied into a SAN server. Color correction and the final master layoffs are being handled at an outside post facility. Material is archived on mirrored SATA drives stored on- and off-site.