Indigenous doco shot with Videocraft

19 February, 2010 by IF

Press release from Well Above

Recently Foxtel’s in house agency Area 51 commissioned and produced a general entertainment series comprising of varied portraits of Indigenous Australia. Under the working title ‘Framed’, the series will be screened as a 60-minute documentary and 5-minute breakaway stories which focus purely on each artist.


DOP on the project Tony Luu ACS explained, “The stories explore the life, history and achievements of the artists through interview, live performance and complimentary stylized footage. Filming of this series included shooting live performances multi-cam EFP style as well as more production oriented stylized sequences and overlay.”

When Luu was looking for the right equipment for the shoot he approached Videocraft. He said, “Nick Gleeson at Videocraft was very helpful in assisting us to put together a package to suit our creative, logistical and budgetary requirements. Initially we filmed on PDW 700 XDCAM camcorders because of their ability to shoot 25P, while remaining cost effective and robust. We wanted to shoot 50-frame slow motion effect and used the 700 in 50i for half resolution slow motion effect achieved in post production. After shooting the base of the series on PDW700 we completed a pickup story and discovered that Videocraft was one of the early adopters of the PDWF800, which offered the slow motion effect we desired without having to redub in post. I leapt at the opportunity to put the new camera through its paces.”

Luu discussed all the opportunities and functionality available to him with Gleeson who added, “Tony was very impressed with the Hypergamma modes available in the kit. The extended dynamic range allowed him to capture highlights that would normally be clipped in other systems, giving him much more natural rendition of the picture, and giving much more information for colouring in post.”

Luu agreed and was particularly keen on the quality of images he was capturing with the Videocraft kit. He said, “I loved being able to watch back 50P images in 25P for slow motion effect straight out of the camera. The media based system also meant that there was no need to download at the end of a long shoot day. Because we needed the versatility to shoot in both lightweight documentary style for the live performances as well as high production value stylized interviews and overlay, I decided to run the camera in two setups. For the concerts, of which we had little control, we used the camera mostly handheld with HD EFP zoom lenses. In production mode, we attached a P+S Technik Pro 35 Adaptor and superspeeds to give a softer, more textured filmic look.”

Most of the documentary was shot at the Dreaming Festival at Woodford in fog and often rain and the camera was faultless at all times according to Luu who added, “Occasionally, the performance lighting was so low that I turned on the slow shutter effect, for a stylized effect. The streaking motion blur rendered dance performances in an ethereal way. The kit performed incredibly well, with very reliable stability. The optical disc recording was very fast and easy to manage with very good run times.”

Videocraft’s Rental Manager Nick Gleeson said, “The PDW800 kit was a very versatile and cost effective solution for this project allowing for varying production types in the one body, with images of incredibly high production value. I’m delighted that we were able to help Tony achieve all of his requirements and that he got such excellent results.”

Tony Luu concluded, “Nick Gleeson and all at Videocraft are consummate professionals. Nothing is too much trouble and their knowledge, expertise, service and support of the highest standard.”