Independent filmmaker Justin Weinstein is currently shooting his latest documentary "An Honest Liar," with the Panasonic AG-HPX250 P2 HD handheld with 10-bit, 4:2:2 independent-frame, full 1920 x 1080 resolution AVC-Intra recording. Along with fellow filmmaker Tyler Measom, Weinstein is tackling the intriguing story of James "The Amazing" Randi.
"An Honest Liar" chronicles the life of James Randi, a famous magician, escape artist, mentalist, writer and skeptic, which is what he’s perhaps best known for today. In recent years, Randi has become a legendary "debunker" of paranormal claims and pseudoscience.
Because the shooting for this project consists of following Randi all over the globe and at times interviewing him in unique locations, Weinstein knew he needed a camera with the automatic settings and flexibility to capture shots quickly and at times spontaneously, with imagery that still reflected the sophisticated cinematic look of a high-end professional HD camera.
Weinstein said, "I had used the AG-HVX200 P2 HD handheld to shoot both broadcast and feature documentaries, so I knew the P2 workflow and its capabilities." The timing was perfect when the
AG-HPX250, Panasonic’s first P2 HD handheld camcorder with 10-bit, 4:2:2 AVC-Intra recording was released. The camera had functionality for multiple shooting scenarios and met the additional feature requirements for "An Honest Liar".
"The fabulous 22x zoom lens on the HPX250 has given me great freedom shooting: I don’t have to carry and swap three different lenses with different focal lengths," said Weinstein. "But we also needed a camera with really gorgeous image capabilities that would hold up on a big screen for a theatrically released documentary. Once we learned about the HPX250 and its master-quality recording and exceptionally fast P2 workflow, we knew it would fit the bill."
Weinstein has traveled all over Europe, chronicling Randi’s everyday life and carrying with him the handheld HPX250. Thanks to the camera’s compact size (only 5 ½ pounds), Weinstein can capture candid footage at a moment’s notice.
Additional invaluable features Weinstein cites are genlock, timecode, HD-SDI and HDMI input/outputs for multi-camera operation, and the camcorder’s widescreen LCD monitor. The lens’ image stabilizer is also a big help while shooting with a handheld camcorder. The production team is recording "An Honest Liar" in AVC-Intra 100 with the HPX250.
Weinstein and Measom will continue traipsing the globe, documenting James Randi for the rest of this summer. The crew plans to wrap "An Honest Liar" in time to submit to the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.