Photojournalist Captures Deadline Every Second Doc with Panasonic Camcorder
Ken Kobré, professor of Photojournalism at San Francisco State University, chose Panasonic’s AG-HMC150 AVCCAM HD camcorder to shoot a wide-ranging documentary, Deadline Every Second, profiling 12 Associated Press photojournalists in action around the world. For two years, Kobré traveled three continents to film the news service’s outstanding photographers as they covered everything from clashes in the Middle East to the Tour de France race. Kobré photographed the AP photojournalists staking out the British Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street as well as AP staffers in the thick of wildfires in California.
Deadline Every Second premiered on Long Island-based public television station WLIW last month and will air on PBS flagship New York station WNET in July of this year. KQED channel 9 in San Francisco will air it on July 24 at 11.p.m. after Frontline, and KQED plus Channel 45 on July 29 at 10.p.m. The documentary has also screened at such prestigious venues as the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York, University of California Los Angeles, (UCLA), and the City Club of San Francisco.
Kobré borrowed an AVCCAM camcorder for the first few weeks of shooting, and was so impressed by its performance he purchased one for the remainder of the project. “I love this camera, it was terrific,” he said. “We covered riots, political clashes, even went though tear gas, and it performed flawlessly.”
The camcorder’s ergonomic, lightweight design, easy-to-use interface and SD media allowed Kobré to keep shooting for hours without difficulty.
The “one-man-band operation” required Kobré to act as lighting and sound technician, director, producer, and cinematographer all at once; he was pleasantly surprised with how much he could rely on the automatic settings on the camera while caught up in the action.
“When shooting a documentary by yourself, it’s hard to control all the technical activities and ask questions simultaneously. The automatic focus and sound level features on the camera allowed me to shoot but still concentrate on my subjects,” Kobré said. “On automatic, the camcorder itself made excellent exposure decisions.”
Kobré also credits the AVCCAM’s outstanding professional audio features, especially its two locking XLR inputs with switches for mic/line. The sharp eye piece helped him focus accurately and the flip-out screen allowed him to work on the fly and still maintain control over his shots.
Deadline Every Second was edited on Final Cut Pro. “I was altogether thrilled with the camcorder’s image production and shot-making versatility,” Kobré said. “Almost everyone who has seen the documentary was amazed it was shot by one person with one camera.”
Kobré’s textbook “Photojournalism: The Professionals’ Approach,” published by Focal Press, has been the widest-selling text on the subject in the world since 1980 and is currently in its sixth edition. His newest book project is “Videojournalism: Multimedia Storytelling,” which was published in February. Kobré is a past winner of the respected Robin F. Garland Educator Award from the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) and for four years directed the University of Missouri/NPPA Pictures of the Year Awards.
Kobré also is the inventor of the Lightscoop, a universally acclaimed camera accessory that instantly and inexpensively improves pop-up flash photographs by bouncing the light from the flash to a ceiling or wall to create soft, natural light.
For more information on Kobré and Deadline Every Second, visit www.deadlineeverysecond.com.