Stop Motion Animator Megalis Studio Shoots Pizza Pan Commercials With AG-HVX200 Solid-State P2 HD Camcorder


Last Updated: January 30, 2008 6:15 pm GMT
(SECAUCUS, New Jersey--January 30, 2008) Los Angeles-based creative group, Megalis Studio, producers of high-profile comedy and stop-motion animation, selected the Panasonic AG-HVX200 P2 HD handheld camcorder to capture an imaginative advertising campaign for Pizza Pan Restaurants. The series of stop-motion animated commercials feature talking food with an attitude, with characters including Pizza Pan Man, Lil’ Slice, Sammy Sub, Rocco Ribs and Tanya Tomato.

The Megalis Studio creative team, consisting of Director Tom Megalis, Production Designer Jenn Bastian and Artist Steve Bastian, has produced programming for Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, PBS, Discovery Channel and MTV as well as dozens of commercials. Pizza Pan Restaurants founder Fred Peters approached Megalis Studio looking for a unique advertising campaign to help increase his company’s national exposure.

Megalis recommended stop motion as a proven attention-getting technique and, after evaluating several cameras, selected the HVX200 for the campaign. “This 24p, high definition camera gives you that smooth romantic film look we all love, but is still small enough to fit on the miniature puppet sets. The HVX200 is a very user-friendly tool.”

Jenn Bastian and her brother, Steve, constructed the quirky yet edible looking stop motion puppets. Michael Pritt was hired as director of photography. The commercial spots blend the stop motion animation shots with live action footage of the food – pizza and ribs – and the owner Fred Peter.

“We were very impressed with the level of detail that the HVX200 captured in our miniature sets and characters,” said Jenn Bastian. “This was a big deciding factor in our choice to use this camera.”

For the animated puppet segments, Megalis said that the HVX200 was connected to a MacBook Pro equipped with iStopMotion, a frame-grabbing software for animators by Boinx, to capture the puppet animation. Like a live feed into the Mac, the HVX200 recorded via Firewire (IEEE 1394) HD content directly into iStopMotion [Pro HD], which captured the individual frames.

Megalis said, “Some animators use ‘still cameras’ and capture single images into a computer with iStopMotion. The software then has to take that single shot and import into the iStopMotion time line. With the HVX200, you can see your shot right away and there is no delay in capturing the image. As an animator, I prefer to work very quickly and the Panasonic HVX200 in combination with iStopMotion allows that to happen. And with the camera’s 24p capabilities, you can get a very film-like look.”

Megalis continued, “As soon as we shot a whole animated sequence, we would back it up by saving the sequence as a big QuickTime file and transferring it to a G-Tech G-Drive, also connected to the Mac. The main footage would then be imported directly into Final Cut Pro for editing.”

DP Pritt said, “The HVX200 sat great on the puppet sets, and when shooting the food in a real store location, which didn’t offer much space, we were able to get our shots and move out quickly.”

“I used the Redrock M2 (lens adapter), so that I could utilize my large selection of Nikon lenses. For the puppet animation section, Tom wanted to distort the characters a bit at times, making them more exaggerated, so we put on the Century Precision Optics 0.6x wide-angle adapter lens. It looked great and there was no image loss. For the live action shots, I wanted the food to fall off and look tasty and hot, so I primarily used longer primes,” Pritt added.

Megalis concluded, “The integration between our stop motion shots and the live action food segment was seamless in terms of look. I was so happy we could use just one camera for the entire campaign. The size of the HVX200 is perfect for animation purposes.”

Megalis said Pizza Pan Owner Fred Peters is thrilled with his new character-driven spots and is already talking to the studio about next year’s creative campaign.

The new Pizza Pan spots are currently running in Ohio, Colorado and Pennsylvania; the campaign will roll out nationally in the summer of 2008.

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About the 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 AG-HVX200, visit

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, access the company’s web site at


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