A Small Act,’ Shot With AG-HVX200 P2 HD Handheld, Screens In U.S. Documentary Competition At 2010 Sundance Film Festival

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Last Updated: January 27, 2010 5:55 pm GMT
(Secaucus, New Jersey--January 27, 2010) "A Small Act", premiering in U.S. Documentary Competition at Sundance 2010, tells the inspirational story of an impoverished boy in Kenya, Chris Mburu, whose life was dramatically changed when an anonymous Swedish woman sponsored his primary education.

Shot in the town of Västerås, Sweden; in Geneva, Switzerland; and in the lush landscape of Kenya's central highlands with Panasonic’s AG-HVX200 P2 HD handheld camcorder, A Small Act screens at the festival through January 30, and, prior to Sundance was picked up by HBO Documentary Films to air next summer.

The on-location production team for A Small Act consisted of Director/Producer Jennifer Arnold and Director of Photography/Producer Patti Lee, who subsequently shot the BET television series Somebodies with AJ-HPX3000 P2 HD camcorders.

A Small Act tells the story of the adult Chris Mburu, now a Harvard-educated human-rights lawyer, who hopes to replicate the generosity he once received by founding his own scholarship fund to aid a new generation of Kenyans. The challenges Mburu faces instituting his new program seem at times insurmountable but lead him down the path to discovery. Who is Hilde Back, the person who signed the checks that gave him a chance to succeed? With clarity and grace, the documentary bears cinematic witness to the lasting ramifications of a small gesture of human kindness.

DP Lee explained that when she evaluated cameras for the three-month, multi-country 2007 shoot, she sized up the HVX200 as the best choice in terms of quality, portability and cost-effectiveness, and purchased the P2 HD handheld for the single-camera shoot.

“At the time, tapeless production was not that common and, believe me, we had no easy access to electricity in Kenya, but to achieve the quality the HVX200 afforded, we would have needed a much bigger camera,” Lee said. “The camcorder fit within our budget, and critically, was lightweight and unobtrusive. We spent considerable time shooting in a poor, simple setting in Kenya, often involving children, and the last thing we needed was a big camera as a distraction.”

Lee explained that in their travels from Sweden to Switzerland to Kenya, she and Arnold traveled with two rolling backpacks, one for the camera and the second for sound gear and hard drives, carried onto planes. “The airlines lost our checked luggage on every leg of our trip, but that never stopped us from shooting,” she said.

The filmmakers shot 720/24pN, and set up workstations on location to offload interviews onto a PowerBook G4 and backed them up on a buss-powered FireWire field drives. They finished with more than 200 hours of footage that was edited into the 85-minute final piece on Final Cut Pro. The editors were Carl Pfirman and Tyler Hubby. Colorist Andy Lichstein performed the color correct on a Baselight system at Chainsaw Edit (Hollywood, CA).

For more information about A Small Act, visit http://www.asmallact.com. For more information about the Sundance Film Festival, visit http://www.festival.sundance.org.

About the AG-HVX200A
The AG-HVX200A 1/3” 3-CCD handheld P2 HD/DV camcorder (successor to the HVX200) features improved progressive 3-CCD imagers, a DSP that increases sensitivity while lowering noise and smear, and a new 13X zoom lens. The ultra-versatile HVX200A records in 1080i and 720p in production-proven 100 Mbps DVCPRO HD quality, with the ability to capture images in 21 record modes. For more information on the HVX200A, visit http://www.panasonic.com/P2HD.

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 of Panasonic Corporation of North America. The company is the principal North American subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation (NYSE: PC) and the hub of Panasonic’s U.S. branding, marketing, sales, service and R&D operations. For more information on Panasonic Broadcast products, visit http://www.panasonic.com/broadcast.

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