Upcoming TBS Sitcom, ‘Are We There Yet?’, Shot With Panasonic AJ-HPX3000 Master-Quality P2 HD Camcorders
News : Upcoming TBS Sitcom, ‘Are We There Yet?’, Shot With Panasonic AJ-HPX3000 Master-Quality P2 HD Camcorders|
Spin-off of Movie Comedy Starring Ice Cube Premieres June 2
Last Updated: May 7, 2010 4:57 pm GMT
(Secaucus, New Jersey--May 7, 2010) A new Turner Broadcasting System sitcom, "Are We There Yet?", based on the movie comedy hit of the same name, recently wrapped production of 10 episodes shot with Panasonic AJ-HPX3000 native 1080p one-piece P2 HD camcorders.|
A joint production of Revolution Pictures and Cube Vision (production company of producer/actor/rapper Ice Cube, who starred in the 2005 movie), Are We There Yet? will premiere on TBS Wednesday, June 2.
The Director of Photography was Bill Berner, who previously shot the 2009 version of PBS’s The Electric Company with the HPX3000s as primary cameras. The series is directed by Ali LeRoi. Beyond the initial 10 shows, there is an option for an additional 90 episodes.
Are We There Yet? stars Terry Crews and Essence Atkins as the recently-married Nick Kingston-Persons and Suzanne Kingston. Suzanne is a divorcee with two children, and Ice Cube, who portrayed Nick in the movie, makes frequent guest appearances as her brother, Terrence. The television series follows the adjustments all the characters must make in their lives and attitudes to have a successful blended family.
“P2 HD was chosen for its easy post workflow, easy playback on set, and financial savings over originating the show on tape,” said DP Berner. “The ability to playback without shuttling tape or having to worry about cueing up to fresh stock is a major advantage when working quickly, especially when recording in-camera without a tape operator. Working in P2 completely removes the worry about damaging masters, or inadvertently recording over existing footage.”
“As with The Electric Company, we wanted to work with 1920 x 1080, 10-bit 4:2:2 acquisition and reduced depth of field. In short, we wanted the highest quality of image we could possibly afford,” he said. “The HPX3000, with its spectacular pictures, 1920x1080 sensor, AVC-Intra codec, 14-bit DSP and compatibility with cine-style lenses made it an obvious and ideal choice.”
“Our four cameras and all of the support gear came from Video Equipment Rentals (New York, NY),” continued Berner, himself an HPX3000 owner. “My camera was on hand as a spare, and for occasional use when we needed to shoot something hand-held, shoot with a wide angle zoom, or had to use sticks because of space limitations instead of the pedestal-mounted cameras.”
Are We There Yet? was shot at the Connecticut Film Center (Stamford, CT), a 24,000 sq. ft. renovated warehouse, with an additional 15,000 sq. ft at the facility for production offices, post suites, dressing rooms etc.
“The show is basically a half-hour multi-camera sitcom,” Berner said. “However, in most cases, these types of shows are shot one per week with several days of cast rehearsals, one day of camera blocking with some pre-shoots, and finally a shooting day in front of a live audience. In our case we shot two or three episodes per week in three-four shooting days, a total of 14 days on camera for the 10 shows--it was a blistering pace.”
“We shot AVC-Intra 100 1080/24pN with a 180 degree shutter at all times. It's a beautiful codec, with a very subtle grey scale owing to the 10-bit depth,” the DP noted. “The dynamic range of the camera is about 11 stops, which is exceptional. Color rendition is very natural and subtle. Also, the noise level in the low-light areas is extremely low.”
Berner said that the HPX3000s were mounted on Vinten pedestals and heads. Typical of multi-cam sitcoms that use ped-mounted cameras, the operators controlled all functions, including pulling their own focus, moving their pedestals for live dollies, and zooming.
“A first in using pedestal-mounted cameras, we shot with Canon 7.5X21KLL Cine Style Zooms,” Berner added. “This required custom modifications to Vigit Stop Boxes to make it possible for the Canon Servo Focus controllers to run the Heden digital motors that were used on the lens for focus. Vigit Stop Boxes were also used with Heden motors to permit iris control by the DIT through the cameras’ AJ-RC10G remote control panels. Preston Microforce V+F2 zoom control handles with Heden motors were used to control zooms.”
“We were fortunate to have our post department on site, so we didn’t off load or back-up files on set,” Berner explained. “We had enough media on hand for a full day of recording, so at the end of the day all of the cards would go to post, be offloaded over night, and returned to us the next morning for re-use. We had five 32GB P2 cards for each HPX3000, and we typically used four loads per camera.”
“Our cost analysis has shown that we save significant amounts of money and time by using P2. The savings are in tape stock and deck rentals in post,” he said. “The time factor (which of course becomes money as well) is in the faster-than-real-time ingests to edit, and easy logging in the file based system. While we only shot 10 episodes on this run, there is that option for an additional 90, which should start shooting in the fall. At that point the savings in tape stock will not be significant, they will be enormous!”
Are We There Yet? is being cut on Avid Media Composer 4 systems on new quad-core Mac Pro towers.
For more information about Are We There Yet?, visit http://www.tbs.com/shows/arewethereyet.
About the AJ-HPX3000
With three 2/3” high-density 2.2-megapixel CCDs, the HPX3000 captures cinema-quality images in full-raster 1920 x 1080 resolution with 4:2:2 10-bit sampling, utilizing the powerful, new AVC-Intra codec. The HPX3000 offers intuitive film camera-like operation with advanced gamma settings, including Film-Rec mode (made popular by the VariCam). Designed for episodic television, filmmaking and commercial production where mastering quality is essential, the HPX3000 records in industry-standard DVCPRO HD at 1080 in 24p, 25p, 30p, 50i and 60i, and in AVC-Intra. AVC-Intra, the industry’s most advanced compression technology, provides high-quality 10-bit intra-frame encoding utilizing the Hi-10 and Hi-422 profiles of H.264 in two modes: AVC-Intra 100 for full-raster mastering video quality and AVC-Intra 50 Mbps for DVCPRO HD quality at half the bit rate, thereby doubling the record time on a P2 card. For added flexibility, the HPX3000 can also produce standard definition recordings in DVCPRO50, and is 60/50-Hz switchable for worldwide use. For more information on the HPX3000, visit http://www.panasonic.com/P2HD.
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