NYU Tisch School of the Arts Equips Classes with Panasonic Camcorders

New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts recently added 18 AJ-PX270 AVC-ULTRA P2 HD handheld camcorders as the standard instructional tool in the Film and Television department’s Sight and Sound Documentary classes. NYU Tisch’s acquisition of the PX270s was made possible through a donation by a parent of a Tisch student.


More than 75 second- year students have just completed a semester of work with the PX270s, each student tasked with making up to five films in the space of fourteen weeks.

“Our Sight and Sound classes are a fundamental element of the NYU Tisch Film and Television education, originated by acclaimed director Haig Manoogian after World War II and still enormously relevant today,” said Joe Pichirallo, chair of the Undergraduate Program in Film & Television at NYU Tisch. Students enrolled in the undergraduate program must take two Sight and Sound classes (choosing among Documentary, Filmmaking and Studio) to complete their degree.

“Our students are fortunate in that they live in one of the most vibrant and cinematic cities in the world, so they don’t need to go far for visual inspiration. Advances in camera technology, quality and heft – particularly for documentary filmmakers – have really democratized the genre,” said Tisch film professor Alice Elliott, nominated for an Academy Award for her 2002 documentary, The Collector of Bedford Street.   “With the addition of the Panasonic PX270s to our curriculum, we have been able to stay ahead of the innovation curve in terms of equipment and the results have been extraordinary.”

Elliott chose the PX270s along with her colleague, multi-Emmy award-winning director Jim Brown, who had already introduced several PX270s into an advanced filmmaking class. “Our previous Sight and Sound camcorders were aging out, and we felt DSLRs would be too sophisticated for beginning students,” Brown recounted. “I’d worked and been very pleased with Panasonic’s VariCams, then read a glowing review of the PX270 that encouraged me to test it.”

“The PX270 was a revelation, a superior fit for documentary instruction,” he continued. “The quality of the 22X optical zoom lens was obvious, but we were equally impressed with its color rendition, easy-to-use platform and overall point-and-shoot capabilities.”

Elliott explained that the first class of Sight and Sound Documentary is an all-day tech session where the students are introduced to the PX270s. “A week later, they are turning in an assignment,” she said. “This is by no means a theoretical curriculum: the students learn by doing, and the PX270 is proving to be an ideal entry-level teaching tool—fast, run-and-gun, a great lens and good low-light performance.”

The students predominantly film their assignments in 1080p, and edit projects in a variety of popular nonlinear editing platforms.

For more information about NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, visit www.tisch.nyu.edu.

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