DP Bill Miss


DP Bill Miss

Emmy Award-winning Director of Photography Bill Mills recently returned from a 10-day safari to three of the most important big cat conservation areas in southern Africa, which he documented with the Panasonic AG-HPX250 P2 HD handheld camcorder with 10-bit, 4:2:2 independent-frame, full 1920 x 1080 resolution AVC-Intra recording.


When DP Bill Mills prepared for a 10-day safari shoot to document the big cats of South Africa, he knew he’d require an easy to use, durable workhorse of a camera.


Mills found what he needed in the Panasonic AG-HPX250 P2 HD handheld camcorder with 10-bit, 4:2:2 independent-frame, full 1920 x 1080 resolution AVC-Intra recording.


The light weight, optical zoom and easy control of manual functions made the compact camera the best decision for the impromptu shoots and varied depth of field needs of this unique project.

Produced by Steve Rotfeld Productions (Bryn Mawr, PA), these longstanding educational/informational, twice-weekly series have been cleared in 29 of the top 30 markets (total clearance in 85%of the U.S.), including the Fox O&O Station Group and major affiliates in other station groups including Local TV, Tribune, Raycom Media, Cox and Media General.

The award-winning Awesome Adventures takes teens, ages 13 to 16, on incredible journeys all over the world. Hosted by Emmy Award-winning actress Mariette Hartley, Wild about Animals travels the globe to bring young viewers fascinating stories based in nature.

Gambol, who currently holds the Director of Photography credit on both series, is a veteran Panasonic shooter, and previous generations of P2 HD handhelds, the AG-HVX200 and AG-HPX170, long served as mainstays of his business. He purchased his first HPX250 at the end of last year, then the second in the spring to handle the television assignment. (Awesome Adventures is a two-camera production.)

This is the first year Awesome Adventures is traveling its DP, and the first year the shows are airing in high-definition. Gambol said the HPX250's small size and attractive price point supported the expanded production and transition to HD.

"When I wanted to replace my HVX200 and HPX170, I naturally gravitated to the HPX250 since I was already invested in P2 cards and the workflow," he said. "Ergonomically, the HPX250 is hands down the best balanced handheld in its range, with the considerable benefits of longer (22x) lensing, a full-resolution HD sensor, and the AVC-Intra codec. Jam syncing the time codes for multi-camera operation is quick and easy, and the HD-SDI out improves and facilitates monitoring."

Gambol has already had the HPX250s on location in New Zealand, Maui, Alaska, multiple cities in the U.S., and is currently in Australia with Awesome Adventures.

"I can't overemphasize how user-friendly these cameras are," he said. "They match so well, and are light and easy to travel with. I've worked with them while the teens—and I—have been bungee jumping, white water rafting, jet boating and shooting from a glider with the camera jammed right in front of my face: the HPX250 absolutely fits our run-and-gun criteria."

"The camcorder is affordable enough that I can take chances with it," he added. "The images are looking great. What's more, we pick up our second cameraman in each location, and it's been real easy to train these shooters on the camera if they haven't used it before."

Gambol is shooting Awesome Adventures and Wild about Animals in AVC-Intra 50, which he considers "the ideal trade-off between image quality and recording capacity."

He is shooting several long and short-form documentaries while also working on marketing pieces for non-profits such as Delaware Valley College, Maccabi, U.S.A., and the Association of Fundraising Professionals. For these assignments he shoots AVC-Intra 100, with the HPX250 outfitted with the Letus35 Ultimate 35mm adapter for the "popular effect of shallow depth of focus but with the high-quality Panasonic codec." The DP has teamed the HPX250 as a B camera with Panasonic's AJ-HPX3100 2/3" P2 HD shoulder-mount for documentary assignments.

"Panasonic has a good overall system, with all the cameras integrating very well," he said.

For more information about Mark Gambol and his company, visit