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Hands-On Review:
DV-Cam Man In Africa

First-Hand Evidence of How DV-Cams
Are Transforming Video Production

by Jon Leland
Originally published in Videography Magazine Magazine, September 1996
Page 1 of 3

Quick-Click Overview

View The Video Now
(for browsers with 28.8 modems & 16MB RAM)

1.This video clip uses the RealPlayer 5.0. If you don't already have this player, please click here or on the RealPlayer icon  to download this free software.


2. Then,
click here to play
"Investing in The Hunger Project --
A New Spirit of Partnership"

VHS copies of the video above plus a 22-minute overview of our trip to Africa are available from The Hunger Project. A US tax-deductible donation of $20. is suggested.
To order, please call 800-ACT-NOW-1, or mail a check to The Hunger Project, 15 East 26th Street #1401, New York, NY 10010 USA


Sometimes life gets even better than you expect.

../../html/promedia/viewfinder/at%20the%20front%20of%20the%20busThat's the way I felt when Lynne Twist, the director of strategic funding for The Hunger Project told me that she had raised the money to have me video the remarkable work of this non-profit, non-governmental organization (NGO) in Senegal and Ghana, West Africa. I had done the most satisfying work of my career for The Hunger Project in the late eighties, and there's just no way to compare working to help end hunger with working to help sell more "widgets" - even if they are cool, high-tech "widgets." However, there was a hitch.

The travel budget only included expenses for one person, me. No camera person (DP). No sound recordist. No gaffer. No production assistant. Just me. An experienced writer/producer/director, but not the kind of shooter I would normally hire. Under any other circumstances, I would have passed.

But what really made this project possible was the remarkable new DV-cam technology . . .

But these circumstances were different. It was an exceptional opportunity for me to become more of a global citizen (I hadn't been to the Third World since my trips to India in the seventies) and I really was excited about helping the work of The Hunger Project to be more widely seen and appreciated. (For more information, visit The Hunger Project on the web, e-mail or call 212-532-4255.)

But what really made this project possible was the remarkable new DV-cam technology that I had seen at NAB that I knew would enable me to shoot footage comparable in quality to BetacamSP with equipment not much bigger than high-end consumer camcorders.

I'm a firm believer that when you're doing the "right" thing, the circumstances cooperate, and in this case, the "circumstances" that cooperated included three of the leading manufacturers of DV cameras (JVC, Panasonic and Sharp), Bogen Photo Corp. and Adolf Gasser, Inc. of San Francisco. ../../html/promedia/viewfinder/African%20boysTogether, in exchange for exposure of their products in this article and credit on the final productions, these five companies supplied me with a new state-of-the-art in field production configurations. In addition to being able to acquire some extremely valuable footage for The Hunger Project, I learned, firsthand, that DV is delivering a paradigm shift in field production technology; and that, yes, it is possible for a one-man crew (with a client cooperative enough to help with the microphone pole) to travel to another continent and successfully shoot professional material.

As you probably know, this is not the ideal scenario for maximum results -- however where budget is an issue and as long as you are willing to work within the constraints of available light -- a new paradigm for cost-effective professional production is emerging. In fact, since returning to California, I have already successfully done an additional video interview with an equipment configuration like the one described below. Except when I'm shooting in California, instead of in Africa, I feel comfortable shooting with only one DV-cam, instead of three.

Next: Three for the Road
Hands-on reviews of the cameras that made the trip

Then: Sound, Legs & Conclusion
Putting all the pieces together and heading toward post...

Jon welcomes feedback and suggestions via e-mail at [email protected]



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