DP Zac Halberd
DP Zac Halberd Shoots ‘Season On The Edge,’ Travel Adventure Fishing Show, With AG-AF100 Camcorders
Series with Creator/Host Ken Baldwin Airs on NBC Sports Channel
New York City-based Director of Photography Zac Halberd recently shot the premiere season of Season on the Edge with Panasonic AG-AF100 large imager HD cinema cameras. The travel adventure fishing show is currently airing on the NBC Sports Channel.
The series is the creation of director/host Ken Baldwin and producer Brett Gordon; Baldwin is a veteran fisherman who guides and photographs for the Rainbow Bay Resort, a fly-in, full-service hunting and fishing lodge in Bristol Bay, Alaska. "Season on the Edge is an adventure program shot cinematically that incorporates local characters, food, music and wildlife," said Halberd. "We don't just take the audience fishing, we take them on the regional tour with us, trying to capture the world around us for total immersion. In short, this ain't bubba on a bass boat."
Since signing on with the series, Halberd shot the hunt for redfish in New Orleans, snook in the Everglades, peacock bass in the Amazon, rainbow trout in Alaska and largemouth bass in Mexico. The DP, also shooting a documentary-in-progress about New York's Hudson River with the AF100, has completed additional high-profile AF100 projects, including an episode of CBS Sports' The Best of College Football and photographing pick-ups for a Channel 4 (Britain) television series, Living with the Amish.
"We've had the AF100 in all sorts of nasty places for Season on the Edge, and the camera has been a workhorse for me," Halberd said. "It's a great tool. This is hard-core fishing in extreme environments, with all the elements against us. Not to mention a hefty workflow."
Trading up from an EX1, Halberd purchased an AF100 last spring. "On the one hand, I wanted a larger chip," he said. "My clients were asking for that shallow depth-of-field look. But I was aware of certain limitations with HDSLRs, and I required a stable, professional camera with XLR inputs. I specialize in faster-paced programming, and my clients can't wait for me to fiddle around to make an HDSLR a production camera."
Moreover, the Season on the Edge assignment was looming. "I didn't want to take a DSLR to the jungle," Halberd said. In fact, the DP persuaded production company Argoworks (Los Angeles, CA) to purchase a second AF100 for the series, which is operated by cameraman Reuben Reynoso.
"We've been using a variety of Nikon, Canon and other lenses," Halberd said. "I tend to stay wide, with an 11mm prime lens. Reuben works closer with a Lumix 14:140mm super zoom. For night shoots, we've utilized the Voigtlander 25mm lens."
"We've made extensive use of the AF100's variable frame rate recording," he noted. "There are classic shots in a fishing show — the hook set, the fish striking the lure — that demand slo-mo. We've captured all that at 60 fps. We got a spectacular shot of a fish walking on its tail that looks so cinematic and epic."
"Ken Baldwin and Brett Gordon, the show's creators, wanted the imagery to match the beauty of the adventure, and the production team agrees we‘re attaining that with the AF100s."
About the Panasonic AG-AF100
The AF100 incorporates a large 4/3-inch, 16:9 MOS imager (with an imaging area just slightly smaller than 35mm cinema film) that minimizes skew with fast imager scanning and incorporates an optical low pass filter for elimination of aliasing and moiré. The camcorder records 1080 at 60i, 50i, 30P, 25P (Native) and 24P (Native), and 720 at 60p, 50p, 30p, 25p and 24p native in AVCHD's highest-quality PH mode (maximum 24Mbps). The AF100 also records in AVCCAM's HA (17Mbps) and HE (6Mbps) modes, 1080i only. Ready for global production standards, the camcorder is 60Hz and 50Hz switchable. Equipped with an interchangeable micro 4/3-inch lens mount, the AF100 can utilize an array of low-cost, widely available still camera lenses, as well as film-style lenses with fixed focal lengths and primes. Variable frame rates (VFR) are available in 1080p, selectable in 20 steps from 12p to 60p at 60Hz and 20 steps from 12p to 50p at 50Hz. The camcorder has a built-in stereo microphone and features two mic/lines, switchable XLR inputs with +48V Phantom Power capability. For more information, visit www.panasonic.com/broadcast.
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