Caporale Studios Shoots Feature Films with Panasonic 480p DVCPRO50 Camcorder

Edited by Charlie White
Senior Producer, Digital Media Net
Caporale Shoots Theatrical Feature Using DV Equipment, Will Shoot Another This Month

On Location with Michael CaporaleLOS ANGELES, CA (Feb. 23, 2001) -- Caporale Studios (Cincinnati, OH) has purchased Panasonic Broadcast's AJ-PD900WA 2/3" DVCPRO50 Progressive camcorder both for theatrical feature production and general assignments, which range from national commercials to industrial videos to video news releases.

Principal Michael Caporale, a veteran of both illustrative still photography and film production, recently served as Director of Photography on a 120-minute theatrical feature, "Ball of Wax," shot in its entirety with the AJ-PD900WA.

Caporale has also used the DVCPRO progressive camcorder to service his existing accounts, for example, shooting a documentary for a local school for gifted children. Caporale will undertake the DP assignment for a second feature, "Four the Roses," scheduled to begin shooting in Wilmington, NC this month. He will serve as both director and DP for a third theatrical feature, "Standing at the Edge of the Earth," initiating production in late spring and featuring the rock group, Blessid Union of Souls.

"I'd worked extensively with Panasonic's AJ-D700A 25Mbps (DVCPRO) camcorder for several years," Caporale said. "The camcorder worked right out of the box, I was able to easily customize the set-up cards to increase the highlight and shadow detail, and I've loved its color rendition. I became interested in the AJ-PD900WA 50Mbps progressive camcorder as a means to originate in 16:9 video for film, thus reducing many of the high costs associated with filmmaking.

"I quickly found that all my personal menu set-ups for the AJ-D700A were transferable to the new camcorder, giving me the identical 'film' look I prefer. Because the format is backwards compatible with DVCPRO25, I don't sacrifice any of my archive. I can shoot in either 480p or 480i, and be equipped for tape-to-film work or flawless upconversion to 1080i or 720p."

Panasonic 480p DVCPRO50 CamcorderHe described the film "Ball of Wax" as a satiric look at American culture through a baseball motif--if baseball were played as a blood sport. "We had a three-week shoot, and I really put the camera through its paces, encountering every conceivable lighting condition--shade, clouds, bright sunlight," Caporale recounted. "In one instance, we had a night shot, where I had to light a block of houses that in turn were lit by room lights. This was a rain scene, where we had an actress lit by porch light and another actor wearing a white T-shirt and standing in the rain talking to her. We did a close-up of the actor and the subtlety of tone is so good, you can see the steam coming off his body. The camera was able to capture amazing nuances of the event.

"In the very next scene, the same character walks, dripping wet, into a bedroom that appears to be lit by moonlight. I followed him through the room, until he sat on the bed, awash in bright light. Essentially, I used the same exposure, going from wide open in dim light to the bright spot where he was seated, and didn't lose any highlight in the process. I can't think of a more extreme example of the camcorder's ability to produce spectacular images."

"Ball of Wax" is currently in post-production. The 480p material is being dubbed to a mini-DV format for a rough cut executed on an Apple G4 computer. Caporale will perform the final edit on his own Affinity nonlinear editing system, preparing a 480i master for festival submissions. He also plans to upconvert the 480p original tape to 720p using the Panasonic AJ-HD150 DVCPRO HD studio VTR. He will edit the 720p material using Final Cut Pro with the Pinnacle HD board and his Affinity system, and then make a 720p master for conversion to the film print.

DVCPRO Progressive provides content creators a new means of acquiring and finishing in high resolution, while saving money by shooting on a nearly standard definition budget. DVCPRO Progressive offers 480 lines of Progressive Scan recording at a digital video data rate of 50Mbps, a low 5:1 DV-based compression ratio, 4:2:0 signal processing, four 16-bit 48 kHz uncompressed digital audio channels, and compatibility with 25Mbps DVCPRO, 50Mbps DVCPRO50 and 100Mbps DVCPRO HD.

DVCPRO Progressive produces images with full 4:2:2 detail, and 480 progressive scanned pictures compress better and more efficiently. With 60 complete frames per second, 480p delivers sports and live-action with film-like clarity and is the perfect medium for upconverting and inter-cutting with HDTV formats as well as for digital cinema (tape-to-film) applications. Capable of recording either 16:9 or 4:3 images, the AJ-PD900WA DVCPRO50 Progressive camcorder features three 2/3-inch M-FIT CCDs and records 480 progressive scan images in 50Mbps and 480 interlace images in 50Mbps and 25Mbps. Other key features include 33 minutes of progressive recording, 10-bit digital processing, a signal-to-noise ratio of 63dB, and minimum illumination of 1.6 lux. Fully-operational at under 14 pounds, it consumes less than 28 watts of power and offers a bayonet mount for high definition or standard definition 2/3-inch lenses.

For more information on Panasonic's DVCPRO formats, phone 1-800-528-8601 or visit the company's Web site at For more information about David Caporale and his production company, visit Caporale Studios Web site at

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