CONSUMMATE OUTDOORS FILMMAKER GREG HEISTER SHOOTS FOX SPORTS NETâ€™S â€˜SEASONS ON THE FLYâ€™ WITH PANASONIC P2 HD CAMCORDERS
SECAUCUS, NJ (September 24, 2008) â€“ Fly-fishing enthusiasts will recognize Montanaâ€™s Smith and Missouri Rivers, and Alaskaâ€™s Stikine River, Bradfield Canal and Katmai National Park as premier destinations for their sport. Veteran outdoors filmmaker (and fly-fishing guide) Greg Heister has recently captured the beauty and drama of fishing these waters with Panasonicâ€™s AG-HPX500 P2 HD camcorder as he shoots the second season of Seasons on the Fly, an all-season, documentary-style show that airs on Fox Sports Net (FSN) Northwest.
With the HPX500 2/3â€? P2 HD shoulder-mount as his primary camera for the series, Heister is also using the HVX200 P2 HD handheld camcorder for underwater work. He is about to take delivery of the new
AG-HPX170 fully solid-state P2 HD handheld, which will likewise support production of the show.
Seasons on the Fly is produced by Heisterâ€™s company, Green Highlander Productions (Spokane, WA). He serves as writer, narrator and editor for the series, and during the first season shared hosting duties with Mark Few, head basketball coach at Gonzaga University. Heister has been producing award-winning outdoors television for more than 20 years, and has been honored with five regional Emmys won for a previous fly-fishing series and for his coverage of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. A life-long fisherman, he has been a fly-fishing guide in Montana, Idaho and Alaska.
Currently in production, season two of Seasons on the Fly, premiering this November, will comprise up to 20 30-minute episodes airing twice weekly on FSN Northwest. Show segments can be viewed on the showâ€™s website, www.seasonsonthefly.com, where Blu-Ray DVDs of episodes can be purchased. Heister characterizes the show, with its narrative style, extensive underwater work, and historical approach to the rivers, flies and fish, as a departure from traditional catch-and release television.
Heister was introduced to Panasonicâ€™s P2 format through his 10-year affiliation with the Iditarod, for which he has served as overseer of video operations for the past three years. The production works in association with Versus and the Discovery Channel.(For the past two years, the entire Iditarod, widely acknowledged as one of the most unique and arduous athletic tests of our time, has been recorded in high-definition with P2 HD camcorders.)
â€œI now own several Panasonic solid-state cameras, but I was a vocal skeptic when the idea of using P2 at the Iditarod was first introduced,â€? Heister said. â€œIn previous years, Iâ€™d seen every conceivable video format fail there. Youâ€™re working the cameras 24 hours a day, itâ€™s 50 below zero and you canâ€™t warm the gear up. Itâ€™s so cold that the snow blows around like sand. The Iditarod is the worst possible place to be testing gear.â€?
â€œLuckily, my objections were overruled and P2 became the raceâ€™s official recording format; in the two years since, I never saw a hiccup or a frozen camera,â€? he continued. â€œWhen it came to choosing equipment for Seasons on the Fly, I didnâ€™t think of anything but P2.â€?
â€œIncredible as it may sound, I consider the location work for Seasons consistently more challenging than the Iditarod, because water is worse than cold and snow,â€? Heister said. â€œSoutheastern Alaskaâ€™s Stikine River travels through a rainforest, where itâ€™s all about liquids and moisture that never dry out. When we were on the Smith River, we woke up one morning to four inches of snow, followed by torrential sleet and rain. I never encountered a single issue with the cameras with all that dampness.â€?
Heisterâ€™s crew consists of himself and one shooter traveling with the cameras, computer plus hard drive, tent and 1,000-watt generator. Heister purchased eight P2 cards (four 32GB and four 16GB), and outfitted the HPX500 with a Fujinon HA23x7.6BE HD lens.
â€œWe typically fish for the day, until dark, and come back to camp with four-five hours of footage,â€? Heister said. â€œThe cinematographer operates the HPX500, which follows me; I handle the underwater work, and occasionally do some top-side shooting with the HVX200. We shoot at 720pN and do a considerable amount of off-speed shooting. Ultimately, given the incredible image quality and high production values, it looks like we shoot with four top-side cameras versus one or two.â€?
In the camp, Heister fires up his generator, which powers his MacBook Pro. He offloads P2 footage direct from the HPX500 via IEEE 1394 (FireWire) to the laptop and stores it on a WeiBetech hard drive. Heister edits in HD on Final Cut Pro 6. As Seasons on the Fly currently airs in standard definition, Heisterâ€™s deliverable to FSN is on DVCPRO tape. â€œIn time, weâ€™ll air in HD and weâ€™re ready,â€? he noted.
â€œThe HPX500 is an awesome piece of machinery,â€? Heister said. â€œIt performs so well in low light, which is critical as we shoot exclusively with natural lighting. At eight pounds, itâ€™s highly portable, which really matters when weâ€™re hiking in waders four-five miles up a river. The HPX500 is a beautiful camera, and Iâ€™d recommend it to anyone.â€?
For more information about Heister and Green Highlander Productions, visit www.seasonsonthefly.com.
About the HPX500
The AG-HPX500 teams the full production-quality of 2/3â€? 3-CCDs, DVCPRO HD, 4:2:2 sampling and independent frame encoding with the versatility of interchangeable lenses and the creativity of variable frame rates. Offering the highly popular features of the incredibly successful AG-HVX200 P2 HD hand-held camcorder but with many new enhancements, the 8.2-pound HPX500 features progressive 2/3â€? 3-CCDs that provide a larger light receiving area resulting in increased resolution and sensitivity, superb low-light performance and wide dynamic range. The HPX500 records in 32 high definition and standard definition formats, including 1080i and 720p in production-proven, 100 Mbps DVCPRO HD. The HPX500 records on removable P2 solid-state memory cards in 1080/60i, 50i, 30p, 25p and 24p; in 720/60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, and 24p; and in DVCPRO50, DVCPRO and DV. For more information on the HPX500, visit www.panasonic.com/broadcast.
About Panasonic Broadcast
Panasonic Broadcast & Television Systems Co. is a leading supplier of broadcast and professional video products and systems. Panasonic Broadcast is a unit company of Panasonic Corporation of North
America. The company is the North American headquarters of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. (NYSE: MC) of Japan, and the hub of its U.S. marketing, sales, service and R&D operations. For more information on Panasonic Broadcast products, access the companyâ€™s web site at www.panasonic.com/broadcast.
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