Public television producer-turned-cinematographer Michael Rossi has profiled iconoclasts and trailblazers since buying an AG-AF100 large imager HD cinema camcorder last year. In spring 2011, he was an embedded filmmaker for a recreation of the 1961 Freedom Ride, an iconic milestone in the Civil Rights Movement. The reenactment invited 40 college students to join original Freedom Riders in retracing their historic route from Washington, D.C. to New Orleans, LA. Rossi produced, shot and edited short pieces while on the road for PBS’ American Experience.
Currently, he is producing, directing and shooting a feature length documentary entitled The Master Palindromist, about Barry Duncan, a former book sales clerk whose command of palindromes (words or phrases that read the same forward or backward) encompasses creations of “mega” length, 1,000 or more characters.
The next big location shoot for Palindromist will take place at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament (March 16-18, Brooklyn, NY), where New York Times puzzle editor Will Shortz will host the 1st World Palindrome Championship in which a short list of the discipline’s most dazzling wordsmiths will challenge each other’s prowess in a timed contest.
“I purchased the AF100 specifically for the Freedom Rides, and it represented everything I’d been looking for in a camcorder for the previous 10 years,” Michael said. “Its lens flexibility frees me from optics limitations, the micro 4/3” sensor delivers a more cinematic image, and it has an all-in-one approach that incorporates professional audio and optimized video features like a waveform and vectorscope.”
“A camcorder’s heft might not be every filmmaker’s top concern, but the AF100’s light weight (under three pounds) is critical for my cinema verite, run-and-gun style,” he added. “I spent my early days in the industry learning on handheld camcorders, and when I’m working 10-hour days, I’m happy not to be saddled with rails and matte boxes.”
Michael typically outfits his camera with an Olympus Zuiko 14-35mm F2.0 super high grade lens. “The Zuiko excels in the low-light, intimate interview settings that dominate Palindromist,” he said. “I can close in on my subject and get beautiful camera operation.”
The filmmaker plans a heavy shooting schedule through the end of April, including multiple interviews with Duncan’s family and friends, as well as some pick-up work in the fall. He hopes to begin his edit (on Final Cut Pro) this summer.
Here are links to Michael’s AF100 projects:
Panasonic is currently accepting entries for the “Shoot it. Share it” video contest for AF100 users. For complete contest rules and to learn more about the “Shoot It. Share It” video contest, visit www.ShootItShareIt.com.