The Tribeca Film Center in lower Manhattan recently played host to a rare HDV-to-filmout demonstration screening showing 720p/30 footage shot on JVC’s latest ProHD camera that had been conformed to 720p/23.98 during the editing process, up-rezed to 1080p and mastered to a film print.
Director Andrew Young, of Archipelago Films, on assignment in Madagascar for The Bronx Zoo and National Geographic Television, followed a team of the zoo’s scientist into a remote section of the island with JVC’s GY-HD100U camcorder – a decision, he explained, that grew directly out of his need for “ENG-style, macro and long-lens shooting features” at a MiniDV price. “One of my assignments was for an NTSC deliverable, the other was for large-screen digital projection,” he told the audience of fellow filmmakers. “I needed a camera that worked the way I was used to working – I wanted it to sit on my shoulder and I didn’t want to have to fiddle with an electronic lens ring that never stops. The fact that it recorded at greater pixel dimensions than SD was also plus.” Young bought his camera and kit from New York’s Abel CineTech, and “guerilla-glued” his own 35mm lens to it (P+S Technik’s new Mini 35 converter wasn’t yet available).
Although Young didn’t choose the camera, HDV format and 30p frame rate “with the intention of ever doing a filmout,” he realized that other filmmakers would benefit from seeing that it could be done. But he admitted that when he and his colleagues at DuArt Film and Video (Young is also DuArt’s vice president of special projects) set out to navigate the way from HDV through DI and out to film, they weren’t sure where it would lead them. “We didn’t have a workflow and we didn’t know how to handle the footage, but we figured it out on the fly,” added Maurice Schechter, DuArt’s chief engineer. Though the resulting film print showed some minor feathering and aliasing (Young and Schechter pointed this out to the audience), the compelling footage-which, in addition to the camera, survived multiple spills in whitewater rapids and endless days of rain-was remarkably clean. Young’s previous credits include the Academy-Award nominated documentary, Children of Fate, and the PBS The Living Edens special “Madagascar: A World Apart.”
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