Richard Hartwell Hits the Dunes and Captures the Beauty of Lake Michigan with the AG-HPX250

Richard Hartwell pans his AG-HPX250 P2 Handheld camcorder across an endless stretch of sand dunes to capture the perfect view of Michigan’s Glen Lake.

However, Richard didn’t hike up 260 feet of sand with his camera and tripod for recreation; he was hired by Grand Traverse Resort and Spa to shoot a promotional video called Barefoot TV to be broadcast on the web and in the resort.

Richard, owner of Hartwell Digital Media, is a one-man-operation providing services including scripting, camera operation, lighting, sound, direction and editing to his clients.  Richard views the HPX250 as an investment in his production company, which specializes in commercials for local auto and boat dealerships.  His expectations for the P2 HD handheld’s functionality and image quality have been exceeded.

“The HPX250 saved me about $10,000 over competitive products, yet the image quality allows me to charge a profitable rate that my clients consider fair,” Richard said. “The savings have gone towards new lights and microphones.”

The HPX250 is especially well suited to handle the changing dynamics of his diverse location work.  “I do a lot of shooting outdoors and I might get my best shot as a cloud goes over the sun,” Richard said. “Even without any lighting I still get great images. Fundamentally, with the 10-bit AVC-Intra recording, the camcorder is capable of gorgeous image production; I can get such great shallow depth of field and soft back focus.”

Richard had previously shot with the Panasonic AG-HVX200; his work with that camcorder garnered both Golden and Bronze Telly Awards . “The HPX250 represents a vast improvement over the previous generation, plus I’m already familiar with the P2 workflow and don’t have to learn a new language,” he said.  “The HPX250’s menu and playback buttons are more conveniently placed, as are the XLR inputs. I love that I get some extra ND filters, with four-position control, and that now I have manual control of the iris on the lens. Being able to adjust the exposure right on the zoom ring is great.  The HDMI output is also terrific: since almost every flat screen has an HDMI in, I can go to practically any TV and see my footage in full display.”

Whether it’s shooting from the back of a speed boat or on the terrace of a local winery, Richard needs a camera that can be easily adjusted to get a beautiful shot, and the HPX250 is delivering that level of functionality.
“With familiar controls from previous models now repositioned for easier operation, I could really hit the ground running on my first day with the HPX250, already knowing how and where to make those quick adjustments and discovering even quicker access to them,” he said. “Plus, the fact that the camcorder is so light, durable and strong really comes in handy when you are hiking up a giant sand dune or climbing through brush to capture fly fishing in action.”

The bulk of his projects are edited on Adobe Premier Pro.

Richard has several HPX250 projects in the works including a political ad for a House of Representatives campaign, as well as assignments for North Central Michigan College, Petoskey Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation and his recurring auto and boat commercials.

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Read the rest of our AG-HPX250 Behind the Camera Series here.