The Full Release, Parts 1-6

Watch the full release in six parts on YouTube:
Recommend viewing in High-Definition.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Technical filming info from the DP

WOW, sounds like quite a few people are interested in this project. Below is some technical info I wrote up for one of the forums. Feel free to contact me if you have questions or anything else.

Most external footage was shot on the Panasonic HVX-200. I shot 720p in 30PN mode. We used two 16GB P2 cards, and downloaded them as we drove. I used an old Apple Powerbook as the card reader and dumped the cards to a small portable HDD for the day. At night I would dump the drive to out production 750GB drive. I also used a small little app called P2Formatter to reformat the cards in the computer so I wouldn't have to stop filming to do it in the camera.

Each car was fitted with a small miniDV camera for the driver shots. They were mounted to the windshield with 4 inch suction cups and mounting hardware from Manfrotto. The cameras used were a Canon ZR10 and two Canon ZR40s.

Lastly I fitted a fifth camera outside to various places as a throw away camera. It was a Sony HC85, that I had picked up for free and fixed it. Cracked Lens area and no audio. Perfect material for dusty outside stuff where I didn't want to hurt a camera.

Audio, I'm ashamed to say was not as well equipped, but should work out okay. I used a camera mounted shotgun mic, and a wireless lapel system would I could. The shotgun was an AT835 (mono version) and the lapel mic was a TR50 hooked into a Sennheiser g2 series wireless system.

All of the in-car audio was on-board camera mics, which worked surprising well.

Lighting was tough, as we were constantly on the go. I used a Litepanel mini LED setup on the HVX, and we used, I'm embarrassed to say, car windshield reflectors that go inside to protect your dash when you park your car as bounce for the daytime exterior shots.

I also brought along some open faced 500watt photo lights that I used to light a few of the talking scenes, when I was low on light. I ran those off of a 2000watt Vector Power Inverter that ran off of a spare Red Top Optima battery.

An Apple 1.25GHz Powerbook was used as the card reader and tape capture device. While a 2.4GHz MacBookPro was used for ingesting the HD footage from the .mxf files.

oh ya, and the most impressive and important tool of all was the camera vehicle. It had to haul ass and keep ahead of the BMW, ACR, and Fiat. I filmed a large part of the project out the back or a 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee. I strapped a small shitty plastic tripod down to the tie down points and used it as a camera mount.

When not going handheld (rare for a show like this) I had a cheap Bogen 501 head and sticks for camera support.

Lastly: Why the HVX-200 and not a cheaper HDV camera or more professional ENG style camera?
-no tape, no dropouts due to dust or G-forces and vibration
-HVX-200 is super durable, we were shooting where it was dusty and it performed like a champ
-pretty lightweight good for handheld stuff
-small enough to muscle around in a moving car unlike Sony's CineAlta line or other ENG style cameras.
-I had access to one
-Oh ya, did I mention NO TAPE!! (I hate tape, especially from dusty cameras mounted to cars with stiff suspension)

Anyways, I hope that covers the technical stuff for the most part. Feel free to ask questions, and I really appreciate all the interest in the project. A ton of fun, looking forward to doing more stuff like this.

-CJ Arnesen

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