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FX Networks Series Its Always Sunny In Phildelphia Shot Exclusively With Panasonic AG-DVX100 Series Mini-DV CamerasSeason 2 Premieres Thursday, June 29 at 10p ET/PT (June 06, 2006)
It's Always Sunny In Phildelphia Shot Exclusively With Panasonic AG-DVX100 Series Mini-DV Cameras
The series stars Rob McElhenney (ER, Law & Order), Charlie Day (Third Watch, Reno 911!) and Glenn Howerton (ER, Monday Night Mayhem) as three best friends who own Paddy's, an Irish pub in Philadelphia. Kaitlin Olson (Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Drew Carey Show) plays the sister of Howertons character, who works as a bartender at Paddys. Danny DeVito joins the cast in season two in the role of Frank Reynolds, Dennis and Sweet Dees estranged father.
Filmed exclusively with Panasonics AG-DVX100 series Mini-DV cameras, the vérité-style show is scheduled to premiere its second season on Thursday, June 29 at 10 p.m. (ET/PT). The show has been lensed with DVX100 3-CCD 24p cameras since its inception. The 10 episodes of the upcoming season were shot in just 35 days in Los Angeles and on location in Philadelphia.
McElhenney, Howerton and Day initially shot a pilot of the show for $200 dollars on an AG-DVX100 and edited it on a home computer. (They claim that most of the $200 in expenditures went to pay for pizza and the cost of gasoline to drive to location shoots.) FX picked up the show and re-shot the pilot, again with the DVX100 (for a price, says FX, significantly higher than that of the original $200).
However haphazard the characters fates may be, their real-life counterparts have been supremely fortunate in enticing top talent to the series, including Director of Photography Peter Smokler (The Office, George Lopez, According to Jim, Sports Night, The Larry Sanders Show, Spinal Tap, Spinal Tap: The Final Tour) and Director Dan Attias (The Sopranos, Deadwood, Entourage, Six Feet Under, Lost, Alias, Huff, Commander in Chief). Both praise the image quality and maneuverability of the DVX100 cameras.
?The series had a DVX100 legacy, given that the creators had shot the pilot with it, recounted Smokler. ?The camera makes eminent sense for the series?its 24p, with internal 3:2 pull-down, has filmic settings, with a rich spectrum of colors that rivals that of any other video camera. Though Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia has a lived-in, semi-documentary feel, shooting with two DVX100A cameras delivers a professional and naturalistic look.
Smokler supervised two DVX100A photographers, giving the show a unique perspective.
?Usually a single-camera show such as this is shot wide and tight, but the DVX100A is so very small that it supports our hand-held style, Smokler continued. ?The shooters are always cross-shooting a conversation, getting both performances, encouraging the actors to build and improvise. We can put the camera in an awkward spot or we can hide a cameraman behind a chair. We can even have one of the cameramen posing as a bar patron before he nails his shot, which weve done.
?As an example of how agile the camera is, in Philadelphia we shot inside a limousine with six actors, plus the director, shooter and soundman?and there was still room to maneuver! A larger camera would have required rigging, custom fitting?we simply wouldnt have gotten the caliber of footage we wanted.
?The DVX100A has proven to be the perfect camera for this show, said executive producer/director Attias. ?The series has an intrinsic handmade quality, and the emphasis is on performance. We have to move quickly through a large page count.
?Because the cameras are unobtrusive, the operators can move fast and get multiple angles of complicated masters, added Attias. ?They can hide, reposition themselves and find multiple positions within a single take. And whats paramount, the small camera affords the acting partners maximum freedom. With the DV tape, rolls can go up 60 minutes, a tremendous advantage. We can get takes within takes, facilitating inhibition-free performances.
?In terms of image quality, Im always confident that the light values on the monitor are exactly what were going to get, said Attias. ?With an artful cameraman and gaffer, theres virtually no fall-off in quality from 16mm film. The camera is easy enough to use that even I operate it upon occasion. It has the best directors viewfinder Ive ever seen?I can easily find my frame every time. Again, of key importance is the cameras small size?we can get so much closer to a subject that nearly everything is shootable.
According to Associate producer Jeff Luini, in charge of post production, the DVX footage is transferred to Digi Beta and then a window burn is made of the DVXs second audio track, where audible time code has been recorded; these become the master source reels. The off-line edit is performed on Avid Meridians utilizing Scriptor software. On-line editing (video and audio) and color correction is done at Laser Pacific in Hollywood, with the on-line assembly edit done in the facilitys ?Super computer. A video assembled master is corrected in the DaVinci, and the assembled/mixed audio is laid back onto that. This color-corrected sweetened master is the source for all network deliverables.
?Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia is a huge undertaking, DP Smokler concluded. ?On location you might see a five-ton production truck, elaborate sets, and then in the back therere a couple of guys with two little cameras. But when you get to the monitors, you say, ?Whoa, this looks really good! Ten years ago, could we have imagined that a tiny camera like the DVX100A, in the hands of a skilled and talented cameraman, would meet the standards of network series production?
Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia was created by McElhenney and is executive produced by McElhenney, Day and Howerton. Michael Rotenberg, Nick Frenkel and Dan Attias are also executive producers. The show is produced by FX Networks. For more about Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia, visit www.fxnetworks.com.
About the DVX100 Series
Incorporating exclusive CineSwitch technology that supports 480i/60 (NTSC), cinema-style 480p/24fps and 480p/30fps image capture, Panasonic's DVX100 series of mini-DV camcorders have set the standard for affordable 24p acquisition and been proven performers with hundreds of independent movies, TV programs, commercials, and documentaries to their credit. Like its predecessor models, the 1/3" 3-CCD AG-DVX100B offers outstanding audio performance, extensive auto and manual controls, and a CineGamma curve that truly emulates the rich look of film.
About FX Networks
FX is the flagship general entertainment basic cable network from Fox. Launched in June of 1994, FX is carried in more than 88 million homes. The diverse schedule includes a growing roster of distinctive original series and films, an established film library with box-office hit movies from 20th Century Fox and other major studios that run in prime time, an impressive lineup of acquired hit series, and marquee sports such as NASCAR.
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 companys web site at www.panasonic.com/broadcast.
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