HDV camera conquers demanding jungle shooting conditions

When cameraman Jim Frater was tapped to shoot a couple of stories in Papua New Guinea, for the new “Postcards WA” travel show, he faced a few hard realities: a minimal budget, a small crew and keeping his kit, which besides his video equipment included two sets of dive gear and an underwater camera, under 286lbs to meet airline regulations.

The weight limitation eliminated the possibility of taking Digi Beta or SP, which Frater frequently uses, so he chose to use the JVC GY-HD101E HDV camera.

The GY-HD101E uses three 1/3in CCD image sensors, each featuring an array of 1280 x 720 pixels (about 1 mega pixel), with micro lenses. Eliminating the need for image scaling, its native resolution matches that of most HDTV displays. In addition, the GY-HD101E provides real-time playback in all major DTV formats, allowing easy conversion of recorded data to other formats.

Taking a wide-angle converter and a borrowed teleconverter for use with the 5.5mm lens that comes with the camera, Frater packed filters, matte box, cinesaddle, tripod, two dedos and a portable light, underwater housing with VX 1000, chargers and cables. Even with the audio gear, his kit was under the weight limitation.

A typical day on the shoot involved walking through the jungle knee deep in water looking for wonders, such as the Golden Bird of Paradise. Despite heavy downpours, high humidity and heat, the camera operated without a glitch.

Frater’s trek included weight-restricted helicopter rides, canoe treks and river crossings in chest-high water. Through it all, the JVC GY-HD101E met Frater’s needs for weight and performance.

For more information, visit http://pro.jvc.com/prof/main.jsp.