Cinematographer Mark Gambol, principal of MG-Pictures, Ltd (Lansdowne/Philadelphia PA) full-service production company, has purchased two Panasonic AG-HPX250 P2 HD handheld camcorders with 10-bit, 4:2:2 ,full 1920 x 1080 resolution AVC-Intra recording to shoot two nationally syndicated series for teens, Wild about Animals and Awesome Adventures.
"When I wanted to replace my HVX200 and HPX170, I naturally gravitated to the HPX250 since I was already invested in P2 cards and the workflow," he said. "Ergonomically, the HPX250 is hands down the best balanced handheld in its range, with the considerable benefits of longer (22x) lensing, a full-resolution HD sensor, and the AVC-Intra codec. Jam syncing the time codes for multi-camera operation is quick and easy, and the HD-SDI out improves and facilitates monitoring."
Gambol has already had the HPX250s on location in New Zealand, Maui, Alaska, multiple cities in the U.S., and is currently in Australia with Awesome Adventures. "I can’t overemphasize how user-friendly these cameras are," he said. "They match so well, and are light and easy to travel with. I’ve worked with them while the teens—and I—have been bungee jumping, white water rafting, jet boating and shooting from a glider with the camera jammed right in front of my face: the HPX250 absolutely fits our run-and-gun criteria."
"The camcorder is affordable enough that I can take chances with it," he added. "The images are looking great. What’s more, we pick up our second cameraman in each location, and it’s been real easy to train these shooters on the camera if they haven’t used it before."
Gambol is shooting Awesome Adventures and Wild about Animals in AVC-Intra 50, which he considers "the ideal trade-off between image quality and recording capacity." He is shooting several long and short-form documentaries while also working on marketing pieces for non-profits such as Delaware Valley College, Maccabi, U.S.A., and the Association of Fundraising Professionals. For these assignments he shoots AVC-Intra 100, with the HPX250 outfitted with the Letus35 Ultimate 35mm adapter for the "popular effect of shallow depth of focus but with the high-quality Panasonic codec."
The DP has teamed the HPX250 as a B camera with Panasonic’s AJ-HPX3100 2/3" P2 HD shoulder-mount for documentary assignments. "Panasonic has a good overall system, with all the cameras integrating very well," he said.