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Scott Carver and Oregon Hops Harvest

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Scott Carver and Oregon Hops Harvest

Independent filmmaker Scott Carver is currently shooting a PBS-style documentary about the historic hops harvests in Oregon's Willamette Valley with the Panasonic AG-HPX250 P2 HD handheld with 10-bit, 4:2:2 independent-frame, full 1920 x 1080 resolution AVC-Intra recording.

Challenge

Independent filmmaker Scott Carver decided to leave a steady job to film a documentary about Oregon’s hops harvest and needed a new camera to launch his new endeavor.

Solution

Having previously shot with Panasonic, Scott chose the HPX250 because it had all the familiar features, but with 1080p recording that could handle theater or digital television broadcast and Blu-ray Disc reproduction.

Result

Scott could start working right away: shooting, manual focusing and zooming, changing settings, all with very little learning curve. He especially loved the number of options at 720p, which provided many possibilities for time-lapse and slow-motion footage.

 

It was the lure of documentary filmmaking, along with a rich but untold history of hop growing in his hometown, that enticed Carver to leave a secure job at an ad agency and assign his life savings to a professional camera purchase and a four-month location shoot. He is shooting interviews this month, and will document the hops harvest in August and September. The inspiration for Carver's subject—hops, one of the essential ingredients in beer—is his grandparents, who both worked in the "hop yards" growing up in Salem and Independence.

His documentary is an investigation and celebration of the peak years of Oregon hops production, 1900-1950, when the state's harvest was shipped internationally in massive quantities. Some of those Willamette Valley hops took the place of German and English output displaced by crop failures, two World Wars and the Great Depression. Once Carver had committed to making the documentary, he decided that he would purchase a new camera outright.

"I considered buying two DSLR cameras, but I knew that the problems I would run into with motion, continuous shooting and audio would be huge drawbacks," he said. "Given my previous experience with Panasonic cameras (the AG-DVX100 and AG-HPX170 P2 HD handheld), I was comfortable with the manual controls and the professional audio inputs,"

Carver added. "The HPX250 has all the familiar features, but along with 1080p recording. With the new camcorder, I could start working right away: shooting, manual focusing and zooming, changing settings, all with very little learning curve."

Carver is shooting the documentary in AVC-Intra 100 at 24fps. "That will cover all my bases for theater, digital television broadcast and Blu-ray Disc reproduction," he said. "I'm excited to use the various film speeds for additional projects and freelance work. Not everyone needs 1080p footage; as an example, for client work I typically offer 720p unless there is a special need. The HPX250 has a mindboggling number of options at 720p, which really opens up a lot of possibilities for time-lapse and slow-motion footage."

His prior work with Panasonic camcorders includes "The Penny Jam" (http://thepennyjam.com), a music video series that documents Portland bands playing in unusual places around the city. The series ran for 30 episodes and enjoyed considerable local success. He is also the producer of a feature-length film called "Childhood Machine" (http://childhoodmachine.com) that is due out this fall. Both projects were shot on AGDVX100 cameras. Carver will edit the hops documentary in Adobe Premiere and After Effects, with plans to start entering the project in festivals next March. "It will later be released on Blu-ray Disc and hopefully air on a PBS affiliate near you," Carver said.