You may not have heard of the band Vera Zero before, but trust me – you will. This independent rock band from Minneapolis, Minn. recently hired me to come out and produce and shoot their first-ever music video, “I Bleed”. This groovy, head banging tune talks about the trials and torments of unrequited love.
We shot at the historic Oak Street Cinema in Minneapolis – the theater hadn’t turned on the A/C, so it was incredibly hot and muggy. I think all of us lost a pound or two during the shoot. The band and I still have a few more shots to pick up before we can dive into full post-production, but I wanted to take a moment to talk about the gear I had a chance to use.
Every videographers dream is to use the best video gear on the market. For the shoot, I rented a Panasonic HVX200. This camera is so easy to operate and offers so many options, it’s no wonder major networks and cable outlets are dispatching their crews with this camera. While Vera Zero didn’t need HD for this video, the HVX 200 offers Panasonic’s prorietary P2 technology, which digitizes your media in any variety of resolution – from 1080i/p down to 480p (in SD mode). You can ‘crank’ up your frame rate to get high-speed or slow motion video — well, let’s just say, you can do just about anything you can dream of with this camera.
My only qualm with it was the low-light performance. Even with the gain on high, I wasn’t able to capture my scene very well in low light situations. Perhaps it’s the size of the HVX 200, but past Panasonic ENG cameras I’ve used have always featured an “utlra-iris” option that optimized low light…not on this camera, at least, not that I could see.
With a price tag over $6,000, I would certainly recommend and consider purchasing this unit – but with the P2, come upgraded gear and software…something that budget-conscious video production folks need to consider.
Additionally, what made this shoot a buttery slice of heaven for me was my ability to use the Libec JB-30 jib arm. Priced at around $3,400 for the whole package (at BHphoto.com), the versatility and functionality this piece of equipment offers is invaluable when shooting something like a music video. Would I recommend this for every day news gathering or recording your kids soccer games? No. But would I give my support to this product for any video pro looking to add an incredible tool to their tool belt? Without any reservation.
Now, I’ll be honest. I don’t have the budget to purchase this kind of equipment. I envy the crews who can say they own their own P2 cameras and jibs…I’m on a highly restricted budget when it comes to my own video gear. Perhaps, one day, I’ll get to tout my own truck full of production gear…but for now, I’ll just say that if you’re here in the Upper Midwest and need to rent some incredible video equipment – check out Cinequipt in Minneapolis. They super-easy to work with, ultra reliable and offer the lastest and greatest supplies for any project.
They make anyone fell like a Hollywood big shot, regardless of budget or project scope. Cinequipt, Panasonic and Libec all get one great, big High-Def High Five! And check back soon for the Vera Zero video.