Here are some new updates on our Rental Equipment from Director of Photography, Skip Clark for February 2010. It includes a review of new High Definition pencil cams and P2 storage devices:

First off, some P2 solutions. For two of our HVX-200 kits we now have a NEXTO drive with each camera. It’s basically a glorified 500 gig hard drive that automatically transfers the data from the P2 card to the drive. There is just one button and one navigation joy-stick on the whole machine. It can’t be any simpler than that. There is also a small screen that allows you to review the clips to confirm that they’re on the unit. We will still have to move the information to a hard drive for our clients at the end of the shoot, but at least we can shoot throughout the day without having to set up a data station.

I’ve used the drives a couple of times and I was surprised how easy they were to use. They will take each card and create individual folders. If you’re importing directly into Final Cut, the computer will read it like a big P2 card and move the data over. Or you can simply copy and paste to a drive.

Along with the drives, after our Daytona shoot, we redistributed all of the P2 cards to make sure all three kits had an equal amount of storage; about 32 gigs for each camera.

Moving on to some POV cameras. Jimmy found some very cool HD POV cameras a few months ago and then I heard about them again from Dwaine. And they were perfect for our Fox Sports go-kart shoot in Daytona. They worked perfectly! They are the ContourHD VholdR POV cameras. They could not be easier to use as they, much like the NEXTO drives, have just one button and a slide switch for recording. The way they mount is creative and some of the features are unique (the lens actually rotates inside the barrel to set the horizon). I’m not going to advertise these cameras as a replacement for the AVC camcorder, the image quality isn’t quite the same, but they are perfect for unique angles in tight spots. I bought just about every accessory available for mounting so it would be nearly impossible for you to not find a creative use! We have two units that will be in Charleston and they will be renting for around $175 a day.

Along with the ContourHD units, we also picked up a Panasonic POV camera that’s a little different from the AVC camera we already own. It’s a smaller body with a cable that runs to a recorder (it records the AVC codec to an SD card). It records 24p so it can match our Varicams and the HDX-900 and there is a stereo mic input on the bottom of the recorder so you can add your audio mix to the recording. I’m planning on keeping this unit with me through the NASCAR season for all of our in-car stuff this year, but if someone has an opportunity, please do not hesitate to check its availability.

They’re all very cool! Look below for some links for more information.

NEXTO Drive –
ContourHD POV Cameras –
Panasonic POV Camera –