Reality TV producers continue to have trouble incorporating HD into their programs but the new ABC reality program One Ocean View is doing the next best thing: using Panasonic’s AJ-SDX900 DVCPRO cinema camcorders to bridge the SD/HD gap.
“We thought that the 16x9 look would enhance the show, and even though we didn't have the money for HD, when we up-rez the show, it looks great,” says executive producer Jon Murray. “As someone who has HD at home, it's hard for me to watch the regular 4x3 feed of shows and One Ocean View is one of the first shows to find a way to take advantage of the 16x9 HD option, but on a reality budget.”
For another reality show venturing into HD, see the
(Endemol USA is shooting the new 10-week ABC reality series The One: Making a Music Star in HD too. See item in Elsewhere.)
The move is the latest in reality program creators attempt to embrace HD or, at least, the widescreen look that makes up much of the HD viewing experience.
Director of Photography Jack Reichert supervised five camera crews, who shot on location in Manhattan and on Fire Island June 1 through July 17. Three SDX900s were used simultaneously, with the five crews trading off to cover an 18-hour day. Additional SDX900s were deployed for special shots to enhance the six one-hour episodes.
Bunim-Murray had previously used the SDX900 on The Simple Life 4: ‘Til Death Do Us Part. “The 16x9 ratio combined with 24p delivers a more cinematic quality that felt right for the One Ocean View project,” says Mark Raudonis, Bunim-Murray's vice president of post-production.
Raudonis adds that shooting at the beach, whether in SD or HD, is always one of the most difficult environments. “Contrast is high, the light is harsh, and the physical conditions are challenging,” he says. “During the early days of our shoot, the sky was overcast most of the time, creating a bland white background for many scenes.” The SDX900, he adds, held its own by not “blowing out” the whites.