George Gittoes shoots ‘Snow Monkey’ with Sony PMW-200 cameras

George Gittoes shot his latest documentary with two Sony PMW-200 cameras over a one-year period in Afghanistan.

George Gittoes PXW-X200 Snow Monkey Sony user experience

In his earlier years Gittoes was one of the pioneers of laser holography making some of the first ever colour holograms at Sydney CSIRO and he has always been obsessed since. Gittoes says that using multiple cameras to simulate the viewing experience is as close to ‘being there’ as possible, even more so than viewing with 3D glasses.

He continued, “Back in the days of shooting on 16mm neg film I would often shoot a whole movie in a war zone like Nicaragua without ever seeing any rushes. I was shooting totally blind – and would always be in a state of extreme anxiety until I could sit in a screening room at a lab and be relieved to know I actually had a film. Seeing the first Snow Monkey results from the PMW-200 on our iMac computer monitors was an exciting moment and continued to be through the year-long shoot. We were constantly astonished by the detail and clarity of image these cameras made possible. We were never frustrated by technical limitations and were able to achieve every kind of cinematographic problem we were confronted with. Being able to share the footage at the end of the day with both the crew and participants was always a joy. Also, being in a war zone, it was crucial to do good back up so we made three versions of all our footage on separate 2TB hard drives. We had about twelve of these drives with us and would send drives back to Australia by DHL after every few weeks to ensure the safety of the material and get tech checks done by the editors. The whole PMW-200 workflow was particularly straightforward and very efficient.”

Snow Monkey will premiere on the big screen at Hoyts in Melbourne for the Melbourne International Film Festival this month and Gittoes is certain it will look like any major feature adding, “It is clear from watching it on the big screen at Trackdown during the mix as we have been doing over the last week that it will look that good. I can honestly say the PMW-200 cameras used on Snow Monkey have delivered the best picture quality in any of my movies so far.”

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