Panasonic P2 takes to the skies for A.J. Foyt music video

By Daniel Latzman

When Allen Farst, head of Niche Productions and director of a new music video for the song Legend of the Speedway from Brack that celebrated the career of legendary race car driver A.J. Foyt, began weighing his acquisition format options he found only one choice for the camera that would get the job done: the Panasonic AG-HVX200 DVCPRO P2 camcorder. And it took to the skies, literally, thanks to an innovative mini-chopper.

It was the right piece of equipment without a doubt, says Farst. With another camera we would have needed several crews and a much longer time span. The HVX200 was perfect.

Finding a camera with great resolution was a big demand and Farst says shooting at 100Mbps to capture in HD was a big plus. While Farst used one of the AG-HVX200 camcorders to shoot the band performing in front of a backdrop of the famous turn four at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it was the second camera that truly highlighted the attributes of the AG-HVX200. The camera wasn t the only technology that helped define the production, however, as Farst used an innovated method of getting clear, close-up action shots of the car circling the speedway: a remote-controlled mini helicopter.

Coptervision is about 4 feet in length and can fly up to several hundred feet in the air, Farst says about the mininiature copter. It gets shots that you can t get with anything else. It s free to roam the set as you see it in your head. You can get every shot you re thinking or wishing for.

An industry first at a racetrack, mounting a camera underneath the small chopper allowed Farst to circle the track and provide stunningly clear shots that place the viewer in action of the speedway. Due to time constraints there also wasn t an opportunity to change lenses but the fixed lens on the AG-HVX200 performed flawlessly.

The music video made its debut during the ABC broadcast of the Indianapolis 500 on May 27. It featured all five cars that Foyt drove to win his Indy 500 races, and also the outfits he wore as well. Farst says that capturing all of the video in as high a quality, and as easily, would not be possible without the AG-HVX200.

It was a no-brainer, he says.

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