Issue: Editing - October 2007


NEW YORK – Filmmaker Mark Smith (www.o7films.com) recently traveled with The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) team to document the group’s research in relation to the Amelia Earhart Expedition, marking the 70th anniversary of her disappearance. Smith has plans to edit a documentary on the subject using Apple’s Final Cut Pro.

A 14-member team traveled to the remote South Pacific island of Nikumaroro (formerly Gardner Island) last summer to research the possibility that the famous aviator  landed and ultimately died there. Smith documented the exploration using Panasonic AG-HVX200  P2 HD camcorders. The team spent 16 days exploring the island, seeking clues to Earhart’s disappearance.

Smith had made the trip in 2001, shooting Betacam and DV footage on tape, and was glad to work with the solid state media on this excursion, as extreme moisture and heat took its toll during the first trip.

This time, he traveled with two P2 HD cameras, an AJ-PCS060G P2 Store, a laptop, three hard drives for storage, two wireless microphones, and a grip/lighting package for outdoor use. He shot on 16GB P2 cards, off-loaded to the P2 Store as needed, and backed up everything after each day of shooting. His choice of format was 720 30pN, which he considered “the best quality/drive space/shooting time trade off.”
“I off-loaded all footage from each day to one 750GB hard drive as MXF files, and to a second 750GB drive as QuickTime movies exported from Imagine Product’s HD Log Gold,” Smith recalls. “The MXF files would be my copy for future editorial purposes, and the QuickTimes were made so TIGHAR staff would have access to all footage simply by connecting the drive to a computer, one of the huge advantages of file-based acquisition.”

The cinematographer noted that he made extensive use of the HVX200’s off-speed shooting and pre-record capabilities for capturing footage of the wildlife found on the island.

Ultimately, the 70th Anniversary Earhart Expedition cleared and examined more area than ever before, and collected both data and imagery. TIGHAR (www.tighar.org) is currently soliciting funding to underwrite the completion of the documentary.