Thin, Shot With Panasonic

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Provocative Film on Young Women with Anorexia to Premiere on HBO in Fall 2006- Panasonic AG-DVX100A Used as Second Camera for Production

Last Updated: January 19, 2006 6:54 pm GMT
(SECAUCUS, NJ - January 19, 2006) THIN, a gripping documentary about young women with eating disorders directed by internationally-renowned still photographer Lauren Greenfield and shot with Panasonic 24p cameras (the AJ-SDX900 DVCPRO50 camera backed up by the mini-DV AG-DVX100A), will screen in the Documentary Competition at the upcoming Sundance Film Festival, Jan. 19 – 29 in Park City, UT. THIN will screen seven times, from Jan. 20 – 27(see schedule below).

Produced by Greenfield, R.J. Cutler, Amanda Micheli (the Director of Photography) and Ted Skillman in concert with HBO Documentary Films, THIN will premiere on HBO in fall 2006.

In her critically acclaimed book Girl Culture, Greenfield, through intimate photographs and interviews, investigated girls’ relationships with their bodies and the ways the female body has become a template for the conflicting messages to girls in our contemporary culture. Now, in her provocative debut film, THIN, Greenfield turns her focus on one “body project” in particular: disordered eating.

In 1997, while on assignment for Time magazine, she began documenting the lives of patients at the Renfrew Center in Coconut Grove, Florida, a 40-bed residential facility for the treatment of women with eating disorders. Greenfield returned to Renfrew to take additional photographs, and was eventually given unprecedented access to film the patients’ daily lives over a period of six months. The resulting film, focusing on the struggles of four young women with anorexia, offers a unique window into the complicated and difficult process of treatment, the culture of rehab, and the experience of battling an eating disorder.

DP Amanda Micheli is herself an award-winning filmmaker with a solid background as both a director/producer and a cinematographer. She shot, directed and edited her first film, Just for the Ride, a documentary about cowgirls on the women’s Pro Rodeo circuit that won an Academy Award and International Documentary Association Award in student categories and premiered on the PBS series "POV" in 1996. Her second film as a director, Double Dare, premiered at Toronto and won the audience award for Best Documentary at both the AFI FEST in Los Angeles and the San Francisco International Film Festival. It was broadcast on the PBS series “Independent Lens” in 2005 and had a limited theatrical and a broad DVD release. Micheli's other DP credits include the Emmy®-Award and Sundance Film Festival-winning documentary My Flesh and Blood, and the premiere episode of Morgan Spurlock's new series, 30 Days.

“As soon as I came on the project, I was adamant that we use the SDX900,” Micheli recounted. “There had been some early shooting done in other 60i formats, and we had to make a very fast decision in the field whether to stick with 60i or drastically change course. Despite the natural fear of changing formats midstream, I already knew enough about the look of the SDX900 and the benefits of 24p to realize that it would be ideal for THIN. For the last two films I had shot in 60i, we had gone to extreme lengths and cost to convert to 24p in post-production, either purely for aesthetics or to prep for blowup to 35mm film. Simultaneously, some good friends of mine were testing the DVX100 for the feature NOVEMBER, so I was able to get feedback on that camera very early on. (Subsequently, Nancy Schreiber won the award for Best Cinematography at Sundance 2004 for NOVEMBER.) So I felt more than confident that the DVX100A was the perfect B-camera for this project.”

She continued, “We had no idea at the time if we would be lucky enough to blow up to 35mm, but I absolutely wanted to be able to provide a 24p master for that opportunity if it came up—which, in the end, it did! For all these reasons, the combination of the SDX900 and the DVX100A was the perfect fit within our budget.”

Noting the intimate, emotionally fraught nature of the shoot, Micheli said, “Almost all of THIN was shot handheld, ‘run n' gun’ with only existing light. I always prefer a shoulder-mounted camera for this kind of verité shooting, as long as I have enough physical room and ‘permission’ to use it. Because most of the film was shot on one location where we had full permission to shoot, there was no compelling reason to shoot the whole film on a small, DV camera. But the DVX100A was perfect for tight spaces like cars, situations outside the facility, or for Lauren to be able to shoot as a solo second camera when we were following two characters at once. I'd say most of the time, the SDX900 was our ‘A’ camera, but the DVX100A also allowed us a fairly simple-to-use, one-man band setup that enabled us to get scenes we otherwise would have missed--and that was invaluable. While I can see the difference when we intercut the two cameras, I'd bet that most viewers will never even notice!”

In terms of lenses and her equipment package, the DP said, “Because THIN was all handheld, I almost exclusively used a Fujinon 10 x 4.8 wide angle lens, and maybe once in a blue moon, I grabbed a tripod or a polarizing filter--otherwise it was just me and the SDX900.”

She added, “It wasn't a rarity for one shot to take me from a Tungsten office, down a dark fluorescent hallway, then out a doorway into full daylight. I was amazed at how well the camera was able to handle such a wide range of color and F-stops without bottoming out. It wasn't always a graceful transition, but somehow, no matter what situation I came upon, the SDX900 was able to keep up.”

According to Micheli, Kate Amend, ACE, a longtime AVID user, cut THIN on Final Cut Pro. Ultimately, the production was blown up to 35mm from a 24p master.

She concluded, “The SDX900 allowed me to have a broadcast-quality lens and the stability of a large camera without the exorbitant price tag of many of its competitors. The DVX100A allowed us the security of always having a backup for very little investment. Since we wrapped THIN, I’ve used the SDX900 for two other HBO/Cinemax projects in development and no other camera was even a close second choice.

“When I started making films, I had a trusty old Éclair ACL 16mm camera for years that was never outdated. These days, I can hardly keep up with video camera technology. Most of us are afraid to invest in any camera, for fear that it will be old news before we even get it out of the box. In the midst of this frantic marketplace, the SDX900 has been like my trusty steed in the field, and I feel a comfort with it that I hope will carry over into any new technologies that Panasonic pursues. I am eagerly awaiting the opportunity to test the new HVX200 P2 HD camera, and surely the landscape will change very quickly now that HD formats are becoming more compact and affordable.”

The Sundance screening times for THIN are:
  • Friday, January 20 at 1:00 PM, Screening Room Sundance

  • Friday, January 20 at 10:00PM, Holiday Village I – PRESS SCREENING

  • Saturday, January 21, 2:30PM, Prospector

  • Sunday, January 22, 3:45 PM, Broadway 5, SLC

  • Sunday, January 22, 9:30PM, Holiday IV

  • Wednesday, January 25, 12:15PM, Holiday III

  • Friday, January 27, 1:00 PM, Holiday IV
Panasonic’s AJ-SDX900 offers filmmakers the ultimate in acquisition flexibility, expressed in the operator-controllable selection of EFP-quality 4:2:2 sampled DVCPRO50 or classic 4:1:1 sampled DVCPRO recording, with support for native 16:9 wide-screen. The AJ-SDX900 combines in one camera the “look” and “feel” of electronic film, high-performance 525-line field production, and low-cost NTSC compatible news. It is also the first 50Mbps 4:2:2 sampled standard definition camcorder to offer 24 frames-per-second progressive scan (480/24p) acquisition, in addition to 30 frames-per-second progressive (480/30p) and 60-fields-per-second interlace scan (480/60i) capture.

The recently-introduced AG-DVX100B, one of the first professional camcorders to be RoHS-compliant (i.e. a product that is virtually free of lead, arsenic and other hazardous substances), is a unique Mini-DV 3-CCD camcorder with exclusive CineSwitch™ technology that supports 480i/60 (NTSC), cinema-style 480p/24fps and 480p/30fps image capture. Panasonic's AG-DVX100 series camcorders are the standard for affordable 24p acquisition and proven performers with hundreds of independent movies, TV programs, commercials, and documentaries to its credit. The DVX100B offers unmatched audio performance, extensive auto and manual controls, and a CineGamma curve that truly emulates the rich look of film.

About Panasonic Broadcast
Panasonic Broadcast & Television Systems Co. is a leading supplier of broadcast, professional video and presentation products and systems. Panasonic Broadcast is a unit company of Panasonic Corporation of North America. The company is the North American headquarters of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. (NYSE: MC) of Japan, and the hub of its U.S. marketing, sales, service and R&D operations For more information on Panasonic Broadcast products, access the company’s web site at http://www.panasonic.com/broadcast

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