Panasonic Varicam User Martin Dohrn Awarded for Natural History Films at Wildscreen 2008


Last Updated: November 21, 2008 4:15 pm GMT
(Wiesbaden, Germany--November 21, 2008) Panasonic PBITS Professional & Broadcast IT Systems has announced that renowned natural history filmmaker and Panasonic Varicam user Martin Dohrn was the recipient of two awards at the annual Wildscreen Festival held in Bristol, United Kingdom.

Dohrn's "Smalltalk Diaries", a co-production between Dohrn's company Ammonite and the BBC, won the Best Series award, and his "Predators" won the Parthenon Entertainment Award for Innovation.

Wildscreen is the world's largest international wildlife and environmental film festival, featuring screenings, seminars, and film competitions, and this year Panasonic used the occasion to introduce its new range of P2 tapeless Varicam products to the natural history community.

Shooting with Panasonic Varicam, Dohrn used the cameras' unique variable frame rate features to expand the storyteller's lexicon as he set out to explain the miniature world of insect predation to younger viewers. The judges gave the Innovation award for Dohrn's imaginative deployment of camera techniques and the use of his own custom-built lenses, specially designed for shooting very small creatures.

"As a longtime Varicam user, I have come to rely on the versatility and creative features they offer," says Dohrn. "In the past I've worked with Varicam tape-based cameras, taking a tape deck to the shoot and digitising each day. The new P2 range of tapeless Varicams is going to make shooting so much easier and more efficient, especially for wildlife work. With no need to change tapes and 10 hours of shooting time on the camera, there's much less chance of missing a crucial shot, and with the solid-state recording, you get exactly what you shoot, with instant in-camera replay of effects like slow-motion. It means you can decide immediately whether or not you have the shots you need."

The Wildscreen Festival included a panel discussion of IT-based production in natural history filmmaking, with contributions from eminent directors and cameramen including Mark Linfield (Great Ape Productions/BBC), Marc Baleiza (Support Partners/BBC Bristol), Martin Dohrn (Ammonite), George Panayiotou (Films at 59), Alastair Fothergill (Great Ape Productions/BBC) and Richard Mills (On Sight).

Panasonic also sponsored a film-making contest during the festival, with entrants shooting and editing a short film over two days using the new P2 AG-HPX171 cameras. The entries will be featured on Panasonic's website.

The 1st prize awarded to the best production from the festival was £10,000 worth of production support from On Sight for making a natural history programme.

"Wildscreen 2008 was another extremely successful event for us, and a great opportunity for Panasonic to get together with the natural history community, an area in production that has always embraced the concept of Varicam and which is very enthusiastic about the new cameras," says Marc Irwin, UK Marketing Manager for PBITS. "During the panel event we heard from many prominent film-makers and each gave a different take on the benefits of P2 cameras and IT-based production. Ten-bit recording, streamlined workflows, creativity, greater resolution, and instant review of shots when shooting effects like slow-motion were all cited as important advantages by natural-history filmmakers. One summed it up by saying that he thought the benefits were so great that within two or three years all cameras would be tapeless."

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