Camera kits

You can be sure of...P2

You can be sure of...P2

Nothing tests a camera more than taking it round the world and operating it in different environments, as DoP Richard Mitchell from Monkey Science found on a recent job for Dutch oil giant Shell.

The series of four short films followed journeys undertaken by car drivers in four different countries – Hong Kong, Malaysia, Italy and Sweden – and as a result Mitchell had the HPX-500 and Canon Prime lenses he hired from VMI at work in anything from the 35°C and 100% humidity of Malaysia to the -10°C cold of Sweden.

“It’s performance in different climates was very robust. I had no problems with any of the kit,” he says.

The job was a demanding one, a month-long shoot with a very quick turnaround, leading to a schedule that only allowed one day’s recce before a three-day shoot and lots of land to cover in the meantime. “The Digi Primes were brilliantly quick, which was very useful when it came to shooting car interiors, and they were lightweight too. That was useful as there was lots of occasions where we had to strap the camera onto improvised tracking vehicles.”

Mitchell initially hired the HPX-500 because of its attractive price, but was impressed by the way it performed on the job. The shoot called for many big, cinematic shots of the countries involved (“It was a bit of a landscape-fest,” he says) and while initially aimed squarely at the web, Shell is now looking at bundling the films up for a cinema release as well.

He is also a fan of working with P2, editing the material as he travelled on Final Cut Pro on a laptop and backing up cards using the P2 Field Recorder. “Some people have been unhappy moving onto digital media, but for me it adds security,” he says. “I like the fact that you can easily create multiple masters. I had two for this project, one that was couriered back from every location we visited and one that I carried with me. That’s much better than carrying a single master around on tape everywhere you go.”

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