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Cutting Edge Tools for Filmmakers
Video gear makes great stocking stuffers

By Kyle Doris

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As the holidays approach, many items seem to make their way onto my wish list and this year is no exception. Some might say 2006 has been the year of HD and I would agree. While high def is the grand-daddy for video these days, us film savvy patrons know that 24p is certainly as important. Panasonic, Canon and Sony have all been busy getting into the 24p mix by rolling out their own flavors of high definition cameras suited specifically for independent filmmakers.

The AG-HVX200 from Panasonic is the first affordable camera to record directly to solid-state memory also known as P2. Those accustomed to working with film cameras will feel right at home with the technology, which resembles the workflow of film cartridges. The HVX200 offers some pretty cool features not capable with tape-based cameras, such as variable frame rates, instant reviewing, and DVCPRO HD color reproduction. Users of the popular DVX100 series of Mini DV cameras will find the camera to be very similar in features and layout, providing an ideal upgrade path.


Panasonic's AG-HVX200

For those documentary filmmakers out there, the new line of Canon HDV camcorders are certainly buzz-worthy. The new XH-A1 is a handheld high definition powerhouse! Built upon the same technology as Canon's flagship XL-H1 HDV camcorder, the A1 is perfect for those long cinéma vérité shoots which require your axe to be on the small side, significantly reducing arm strain. If an uncompressed HD signal is required for live event switching and recording, Canon has you covered. The XH-G1 version comes equipped with HD-SDI, Timecode, and Genlock BNC outputs.


Canon's XH-G1

Sony fans don't fret; Santa's elves haven't forgotten about you. With the introduction of the HVR-V1U, Sony has produced the first true progressive 1080p HDV camcorder. The camera adopts the worlds only 2:3 HDV pull-down system, making it completely compatible with all that Sony HDV hardware you've already committed your bank account to, pheeew! What a relief. The niftiest accessory built specifically for the V1U is the HVR-DR60. The DR60 is a sophisticated hard disc drive unit that can be connected directly to the camera for direct-to-disc recording. The V1U can simultaneously record footage to both tape and the disc; not only is the footage ready-to-edit, it's also instantly archived!


Sony's HVR-V1U
Sony's HVR-DR60 Hard Drive

What rig would be complete without a few extras? Don't expect to see any of those crystal clear images with the onboard LCD. Marshall's V-R70P-HDA 7" LCD can certainly help make sure your magnum opus isn't out of focus, unless of course that's the intention. If a pure digital signal is necessary, Marshall also makes the V-R70P-HDSDI, with HD-SDI inputs. Panasonic's BT-LH1700W 17" monitor is a great choice for those who feel the need to go bigger.

Pre-Production and Post-Production can be just as daunting, but have no fear. From the page to the screen, Final Draft 7 will help you realize your dream. This popular formatting program will convert your story into an industry-standard screenplay format. Once you are ready to hit the cutting room, look no further than Apple's all-inclusive Final Cut Studio, consisting of Final Cut Pro 5, Soundtrack Pro, Motion 2 and DVD Studio Pro 4. The package covers all the bases from acquisition, to editing, to delivery while still being very affordable!


Final Draft 7

Well, what are you waiting for? Get out there and make the next great cult classic! And... Action!


Still not sure? Try these related gift categories:

- Pro Video
- Camcorders & Cameras
- Lenses & Lens Accessories
- Video Editing
- Batteries & Power
- Live Studio & Broadcast
- Audio for Video
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