Recently the Video Production Department at The Salvation Army in Sydney was approached to film a documentary on the Red Shield Defence Service’s (affectionately known as Sallymen) involvement on the Kokoda Track during WWII. A group of Sallymen from throughout Australia took part in an historic hike on which a memorial was laid paying tribute to the Red Shield Defence Service men who bravely served during the war.
Richard Cause, Technical Producer of CPR Productions for the Salvation Army Australia East THQ explained, “Given the significance of this event and the historical importance of the Sallyman during the Kokoda campaign, we saw this as an opportunity not to be missed. Having used Videocraft over the years, we thought we’d ring them to enquire about what the team consisting of Peter March (Journalist), David Scarborough (Editor) and myself (Cinematographer) might need to film a documentary such as this. So we were obviously after something that was lightweight, compact but also high quality. It also needed to be able to withstand the very rough conditions of this infamous trail.”
Videocraft NSW State Manager Andy Liell recommended the Panasonic HPX172 camera.
Cause continued, “We took Andy’s advice and used two Panasonic HPX172 cameras, one we already had and one Andy helped us get through Panasonic Australia. The team first looked at using an alternative, but after researching it decided that the HPX172 was the better option. The first reason for us deciding to take the P2 was quality. The project needed to be shot on the highest quality, yet most compact format. The second reason for us choosing the Panasonic was weight. Being that we were going to be carrying this gear along one of the world’s most grueling hikes, we found the P2 to be the most suitable camera size-wise without compromising quality.”
Cause and his team found the cameras to be very light and user friendly. He continued, “Also, having a solid-state format, it was easy to review clips that were shot over the course of each day and not have the hassle of cueing the tapes back up.”
The documentary was shot in very high humidity areas, something that brought its own challenges and surprises. Cause explained, “Not recording onto tape, which can be affected by the moisture, was a bonus and another reason we chose the P2. We were also shooting in very muddy, slippery and steep mountainous areas and we found the P2 rugged enough to cope with the occasional bang or drop.”
The shoot went particularly well and Richard Cause and his team were very grateful to all those who helped make it happen. He concluded, “We want to thank Panasonic for their support with the second camera and we’d like to particularly thank Andy at Videocraft was really helpful when it came to answering questions in relation to what we would require to take on this shoot. The other thing that really impressed us was Videocraft’s willingness to go the extra mile and help us obtain additional loan P2 cards from ABC TV facilities, which we were otherwise not going to be able to afford to purchase.”
The Red Shield Defense Service’s Kokoda Track documentary will be aired in 2010.