MagicWig Productions Teams Panasonic AJ-HDX900 HD Camera With AG-HVX200 P2 HD Camcorder For "So Right, So Smart" Documentary On The Business Of "Going Green"

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Last Updated: October 17, 2007 8:54 pm GMT
(SECAUCUS, NJ -- October 17, 2007) Director/Director of Photography Justin Maine of Schenectady, NY-based MagicWig Productions, Inc. couples Panasonic's multi-format AJ-HDX900 DVCPRO HD camcorder and the AG-HVX200 P2 HD handheld camcorder for the production of So Right, So Smart (working title), an independent documentary on the growing momentum of the corporate world's focus on environmental sustainability.


Founded five years ago by production veterans Maine, Guy Noerr and Don Fisher, MagicWig's assignments include industrial videos and events for numerous large corporations and notable business leaders. The production company has worked exclusively with Panasonic cameras since the purchase of a 24p/30p/60i 3-CCD DVCPRO50 camcorder and two AG-DVX100A mini-DV 3-CCD 24p camcorder in 2004. Earlier this year, MagicWig decided to upgrade to the HDX900 and HVX200 as part of its progression to become a "full-fledged HD production and post house."

So Right, So Smart was conceptualized by Guy Noerr, the film's executive producer. An avid environmentalist, Guy has always been inspired by one of MagicWig's clients, Interface Inc., whose founder, Ray Anderson, is determined to make his international modular flooring manufacturer the first zero environmental footprint company.

The documentary illustrates how companies such as Interface are incorporating "green" strategies into their business models and features interviews with senior executives of such high-profile brands as Stonyfield Farm, Ben & Jerry's, Herman Miller, Patagonia and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. Environmental stars David Suzuki, Paul Hawken, Janine Benyus and Steven Page of Barenaked Ladies are also interview subjects. Actress Darryl Hannah, likewise an advocate of sustainable living and renewable energy, narrates the piece.

The scope of production for So Right, So Smart was "broad, but on a small scale," according to Maine. "We traveled all around the country over several months, gathering footage from the best minds in the business and environmental world, with a crew that varied in size from three to five people," he said. "Our goal was to use no stock footage and shoot entirely in HD--on a budget."

"That's where the HDX900 and HVX200 came in handy," said Maine. "We were able to buy two HD cameras for less money than one HD camera would have cost not long ago. It proved to be a highly cost-effective way to have the two HD cameras on a shoot, especially since most of the interview locations were less than production-ready."

"At times, the shoots would be logistical nightmares," he continued. "We were a small documentary crew interviewing prominent figures. We didn't have time to do complex rigs. I would set up both cameras near each other and operate them both, reframing one then the other, giving us greater flexibility for the edit. The cameras matched beautifully."

"The HDX900 had amazing picture clarity and color reproduction, affording us instant, high-end production value without breaking the budget," Maine said.

"One of the best things about the HDX900 is its dynamic range," Maine noted. "It has great built-in settings, but you also have the ability to customize the settings to address varying lighting situations. The HDX900 reproduces life-like colors that pop off the screen without bleeding and delivers a coveted, film-like look."

"We could change from shooting 1080/24p to 720p within seconds, which achieved the same overall look but with increased ability to reframe and manipulate in post," added Maine.

For most of the production, the crew used the HDX900 as the main camera for interviews and overall B-roll, with the HVX200 positioned as the secondary camera.

"We were able to put the HVX200 in places where you just can't fit a full-size camera," said Maine. "We did a few shots interviewing people in cars while they were driving, for example, and put the HVX200 right in the passenger's seat for terrific dynamic shots."

"I liked the fact that with the HVX200 we had off-speed shooting capabilities as well as the option to use high gain settings to give us a grainy 16mm look," he added. "Also, unlike HDV, the HVX200 records images at a full 100Mbps and uses uncompressed 16-bit sound."

The team shot most of the interviews in DVCPRO HD 720p/24p with B-roll content captured in 1080/24p. "All of the HDX900 footage was transferred via IEEE 1394 with Panasonic's AJ-HD1400 DVCPRO HD VTR and then stored on a 10-terabyte RAID system," said Maine.

"With the HVX200, we shot both 720p and 1080/24p, recording directly to a FireStore FS-100," Maine said. "Each day of the shoot, we captured close to 100GB of material. Every night, we transferred the footage to a LaCie FireWire external hard drive and re-formatted the FireStore for shooting the next day."

So Right, So Smart, directed by Maine, with Guy Noerr serving as Executive Producer, and Leanne Robinson as co-producer/writer, is being edited by Michael Swantek in 720p/24p in Final Cut Pro Studio 2, on site at MagicWig Productions. Post production is expected to be completed by December 2007. So Right, So Smart is aimed for theatrical release. Maine said they plan to pursue 2008 film festival opportunities, and possibly broadcast distribution.

For more information about MagicWig, visit www.magicwig.com.

About the AJ-HDX900
An indispensable, cost-effective tool for global content creators, the AJ-HDX900 DVCPRO HD camcorder supports 1080 59.94i/50i/29.97p/25p/23.98p/23.98pA and 720 59.94p/50p/29.97p/25p/23.98p recording. The HDX900 features a native 16:9, 2/3" HD, 1-million pixel 3-CCD system that assures stunning images and produces a high sensitivity of F10 (at 2000 lux) and outstanding low-light shooting down to 0.032 lux (at+62 dB gain). It is equipped with 14-bit A/D DSP circuits that provide optimum picture quality, color reproduction and luminance gradation. The HDX900 offers superior 4:2:2 color sampling and independent frame compression. The well-balanced camcorder offers impressive built-in, image-enhancing features including three Cine-like gamma modes to replicate the look and feel of film, and is compatible with a wide range 2/3" quality lenses and accessories.

About the AG-HVX200
The ultra-versatile HVX200 records in 1080i and 720p in production-proven 100 Mbps DVCPRO HD quality, with the ability to capture images in 21 record modes. The DVCPRO HD format offers users cost-effective, intra-frame compression, where each frame stands on its own for editing, and its full 4:2:2 color sampling allows the image to hold up under color correction. The camera records video on a P2 card as IT-friendly MXF files in 1080/60i, 30p and 24p; in 720/60p, 30p and 24p; in 50Mbps DVCPRO50 and in 25Mbps DVCPRO or DV. The HVX200 can capture fast or slow action in 720p at various frame rates--the first time this function is available in a hand-held camera. The shooting frame rate in 720p native mode can be set for any of 11 steps between 12fps and 60fps including 24fps and 30fps. For more information on the HVX200, visit www.panasonic.com/hvx200.


About Panasonic Broadcast
Panasonic Broadcast & Television Systems Co. is a leading supplier of broadcast and professional video 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, visit http://www.panasonic.com/broadcast

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