‘Anywhere, U.S.A’ Wins The Special Jury Prize For The Spirit Of Independent Cinema At The 2008 Sundance Film Festival

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Debut Feature Shot With Solid-State AG-HVX200 P2 HD Camcorder

Last Updated: February 29, 2008 4:13 pm GMT
(SECAUCUS, New Jersey--February 29, 2008) "Anywhere, U.S.A.", the film that takes a wildly look at American manners, prejudices and family dynamics, won the special jury prize for “the spirit of independent cinema” in the dramatic category at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

Filmmaker Anthony (Chusy) Haney-Jardine selected Panasonic’s solid-state AG-HVX200 P2 HD camcorder as his sole camera for this truly independent project.

Anywhere, U.S.A. is currently showing at the Cinequest Film Festival in San Jose, CA.

Anywhere, U.S.A., told in three segments that range from satirical to tragic, was directed and written by Haney-Jardine, who shares the screenwriting credit with his wife, producer Jennifer MacDonald. The director of photography was Patrick Rousseau, a veteran camera operator on such top television series as Mad Men, Carnivàle, Six Feet Under and Arrested Development.

Haney-Jardine’s background in commercial production had encompassed shooting with Panasonic’s AG-DVX100 series mini-DV 24p camcorders. “That camera really opened things up in terms of achieving a filmic aesthetic with video,” the director said. “The HVX200, with a similar form factor, again puts a cinematic texture within the reach of unproven filmmakers, along with the benefits of off-speed shooting, tapeless production and HD image quality.”

Haney-Jardine purchased two HVX200s for the production, one used solely for back-up. Anywhere, U.S.A was shot on location in Asheville, NC in “fits and bursts” throughout 2006 and 2007 to accommodate DP Rousseau’s busy schedule. Shooting took place during the extremes of winter (snow in the mountains) and summer (temperatures at 100°F.) The cast was comprised largely of local amateurs, with the notable exception of the filmmaker’s daughter, 10-year-old Perla Haney-Jardine, who appeared in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill: Vol. 2 and will be seen in Michael Winterbottom’s upcoming Genova, starring Colin Firth.

The director emphasized that, despite its independent film pedigree, Anywhere, U.S.A was shot classically, with tripod (Cartoni Focus Fluid Head System), formal lighting (HMIs and Kino Flos), a full complement of jibs (Glidecam Camcrane 200) and dollies. A Panasonic BT-LH1700W LCD monitor was used for on-set monitoring and shot framing.

“We had an untrained cast and, although we were scripted, we would often finish writing a scene while Patrick was setting up his shot,” Haney-Jardine said. “The HVX200 allowed me to work nimbly in these fluid situations, and because of its small size, the camera was unobtrusive and didn’t intimidate the actors. Also, the HVX200 is exceptionally rugged--we abused it.”

“One would expect an HD camera to respond well to underexposure but I was afraid of shooting exteriors, which we had a lot of,” said DP Rousseau. “I really wanted to use the sun as a backlight and it turned out
that the camera handled the hot backlight beautifully, keeping detail where I expected there to be none. I was really surprised!”

“The default color rendition was a little too saturated for the look of this movie, but we were able to dial it down easily in the menus,” he continued. “The ability to manipulate the look in the menus is an incredible feature. We were able to come up with a look that was perfect through the use of the film gamma settings and taking down the color saturation.”

“As with dynamic range, I was initially skeptical of the HVX200’s off-speed feature, but after shooting tests, I saw how beautiful it was and we used it several times in the film,” Rousseau said. “The variable frame rates are a great asset. I was also a little anxious about the tapeless P2 system, thinking that it would be too delicate for shooting in extreme weather conditions in the mountains of North Carolina, but this also performed flawlessly.”

Rousseau shot at 720p/24pN direct to P2 cards. “When one card became full, we would eject it and start ingesting to our AJ-PCS060G P2 Store,” Haney-Jardine said. “After ingesting, we would connect the P2 Store via USB to a laptop and use the import P2 feature within Final Cut Pro. Our back-up disk was always a 250GB OWC FW-800 external hard drive. We would repeat this process throughout the day, formatting cards after importing their contents.”

The director edited Anywhere, U.S.A. on Final Cut Pro v.5.1.4 operating on a PowerPC G5, with 7TB Apple Xserve RAID system and 250GB OWC FW-800 hard drives for backup. Final color correction will be done at post-production house Optimus (Chicago, IL).

“With the advent the HVX200, the only limitation to high-quality HD production is your imagination,” said Haney-Jardine. “The camera let me express myself freely and beautifully. There’s no excuse if you want to make a film—here’s the tool to do it.”

For more information about the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, visit http://www.sundance.org/festival.

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 http://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, access the company’s web site at http://www.panasonic.com/broadcast.

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