Gonwest Video Productions in San Francisco has shot an upcoming Discovery Channel documentary on the overcrowding in the California prison system with the Panasonic AJ-HDX900 multiformat DVCPRO HD camcorder.
The prison documentary, anchored by veteran journalist Ted Koppel, was shot with two HDX900s (the second was rented) early in spring 2007 at the Solano State prison in Vacaville, CA. Bob Goldsborough served as director of photography, working with cameraman Duane Poquis.
Founded in 1987, Gonwest has provided network-quality camera crews to ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS and major cable network outlets. The main attraction to the HDX900 was its ability to shoot 1080i and 720p, which opened the company to a new category of clients, Goldsborough said.
“Breaking Point,” a two-hour special that will air on the Discovery Channel and Discovery HD Theater Oct. 7, is a production of The Koppel Group/Discovery, with Ted Koppel as managing editor and anchor. The documentary was shot in 720/24p with available lighting.
The two-week shoot included a week of preliminary work shooting housing and inmates and a second week spent shooting Koppel as he conducted interviews and on-camera tours of prison conditions.
The HDX900s were outfitted with Fujinon 13 x 4.5 and 18 x 7.6 HD lenses. Goldsborough had the Panasonic 17in BT-L1700W and 8.4in BT-LH900A LCD production monitors on set.