Cinematographer Mark Gambol, principal of the Philadelphia-area’s MG-Pictures, Ltd full-service production company, owns a pair of AG-HPX250 P2 HD handheld camcorders, which he uses to shoot two nationally syndicated series for teens, Wild about Animals and Awesome Adventures.
The award-winning Awesome Adventures takes teens, ages 13 to 16, on incredible journeys all over the world. Hosted by Emmy Award-winning actress Mariette Hartley, Wild about Animals travels the globe to bring young viewers fascinating stories based in nature. Produced by Steve Rotfeld Productions, these twice-weekly series have been cleared in 29 of the top 30 markets (total clearance in 85%of the U.S.).
Gambol, who currently holds the Director of Photography credit on both series, is a veteran Panasonic shooter, and previous generations of P2 HD handhelds, the AG-HVX200 and AG-HPX170, long served as mainstays of his business. He purchased his first HPX250 at the end of last year, then the second in the spring to handle the television assignment. (Awesome Adventures is a two-camera production.)
“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.”