DGA Productions uses Panasonic Lumix cameras to shoot Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street

Food and travel shows have both been staples on TV for decades. From the instruction (The French chef, Good food) to competition (Excellent chef, Chopped) to travel (Unknown parts, Diners, drive-in and dives), these shows provide both education and entertainment for foodies and travelers alike. Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street takes a broad approach to reaching its audience. Located in downtown Boston, it’s home to a magazine, a cooking school, as well as a location for their radio and TV show.

Now in its fifth season and presented nationally by American Public Television and WGBH, Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street combines both travel and cooking instructions as Kimball shines a light on the cooking techniques and ingredients of chefs and home cooks around the world to transform everyday home cooking. The show is produced by Milk Street and directed, photographed and edited by DGA Productions, who provide the full crew, equipment, and post-production for the series. The show is shot with a multitude of cameras, including the LUMIX S1, S1H, GH5 and BGH1.

DGA Productions takes care of everything – production, writing, filming and editing – for corporate and commercial projects. Also based in Boston, some of their clients include ESPN, Fox Sports, IBM, Major League Baseball, NFL, NASA, HBO, Hasbro, The American test kitchen (16 seasons), Country of cooks (9 seasons) and many more. They have also done several lifestyle shows including A mobile party and a carpentry show for GBH.

“We do a bit of everything”, says Production manager Elena Malcolm. “We are fortunate to have a variety of customers in a diverse market, which makes things interesting and stable. “

For Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street, DGA Productions was responsible for creating a look and production approach for the series and was actively involved in the production design of the show. They worked with the show’s producers to create a sunny setting overlooking one of Boston’s historic neighborhoods. Some of the first production decisions they implemented were logging and using prime lenses. This approach eliminated the need for an engineer to match the colors of the cameras on set while filming, which turned out to be a huge time saver during filming and transferred the color matching process to the post. -production.

On the spot
Part of the show is shot in the field where the crew shoot in a documentary style to capture as much footage as possible, giving editors more material to work with. For outdoor shooting, they use S1H, S1 and GH5 cameras. DGA Productions Director and Director of Photography Jan Maliszewski was one of the first to adopt LUMIX cameras starting with the GH2.

“I firmly believe in having the right size production solution for whatever you’re facing,” he explained. “I love the LUMIX camera line because they match our production footprint on the road. “

Maliszewski, who won 3 Emmy’s Daytime for the making of Milk Street, sees LUMIX cameras as essential tools for the series.

Turning on the road, the team is usually only made up of Maliszewski and the Emmy-nominated cameraman and editor, Michel Andrus. For a recent shoot in Los Angeles, they used two S1Hs and one S1, which they mainly used for the time lapse.

“What we’ll usually do, even if it’s two people in front of the camera, we’ll set up the S1H on a tripod to shoot in 4K a little wider so our editors can step in,” Maliszewski explained. “And then Michael and I exploit the close-up and the guest camera from the side. These shots are usually handheld, or we’ll use a monopod. This approach allows us to be agile while capturing beautiful images.

Since they don’t have a 4K delivery requirement, Maliszewski and Andrus typically record FHD (1920 x 1080) V-Log files at 23.98 fps at 200 Mbps ALL-I, but sometimes shoot at 4K to capture a canvas. larger to Publish. Regarding lenses, Maliszewski uses several L-mount lenses for his S1H and S1. It also uses multiple Canon EF mount lenses with the Sigma MC-21 L mount adapter.

Maliszewski and Andrus also use the GH5 for the B roll with the LUMIX G LEICA DG VARIO-SUMMILUX 10-25mm, F1.7 ASPH., As well as the Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f / 2.8 lens. “These two lenses amaze me,” Maliszewski revealed. “The Panny / Leica’s close focus and range eliminates the need to carry 3 prime lenses and the Oly, with the GH5’s incredible sensor stabilization allows me to use a very long lens smoothly and fast – running quickly and stealthily with no tripod required. Having less material to carry makes it possible to constantly seek out B-roll moments. Lightweight form factor saves the fatigue of lugging heavy gear all day.

“A lot of times we’ll shoot a segment at normal speed,” Andrus adds, “and then something will happen that I would like to shoot in slow motion. Now we have another camera ready that’s already set up for slow motion. You don’t. no need to go into the menus – just pick up the camera and take pictures. It’s more efficient to work this way rather than stopping all production to go through the menus. The key is don’t forget to put it back to normal speed.

Turning on the spot, Maliszewski and Andrus often shoot in commercial and domestic kitchens. According to Andrus, kitchens are sometimes small, so they carry a small set of lights with only a few Litepanels and Quasar tubes. “We have to put a lot of things under the hoods to get some light,” Andrus explained. “We bring small portable lights for culinary beauty photos, which we try to get as much as possible. I don’t think we would be able to film these travel pieces with larger traditional cameras. With all the traveling and filming on the streets, we don’t get as much attention as we would with larger cameras. “

Maliszewski and Andrus also don’t use HDMI monitors with their LUMIX cameras to be more agile. “If we’re outdoors, I find the viewfinder to be amazing in the GH5 and S1H, so if it’s bright we just operate by looking through the camera’s viewfinder,” Maliszewski explained. “Dressing the camera up with too many add-ons is unnecessary in our way of working and only adds pounds and bulkiness which adds weight and batteries which can slow production down. says, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

In the studio
For the studio part of Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street, the team uses a Sony Venice and an FX9 for their main cameras. Maliszewski says much of the LUMIX gear they use in the field is now integrated into the studio. For previous seasons they have used a jib but due to COVID they employ fewer team members in the studio. Instead of an arrow, they use a BGH1 as an aerial camera and use the LUMIX Tether for Multicam app to control it. On the BGH1, Maliszewski uses a LUMIX 12-35mm f / 2.8 lens, as well as a Rhino 42 “slider and ARC II head for left-to-right camera movements. He also likes that the BGH1 has a stable SDI output, which gives him more confidence that he is getting the shot he needs. Time Code “In” is a feature of the camera that he also appreciates.

“It worked perfectly for our studio production work – better than any aerial camera setup I’ve ever used,” reveals Maliszewski. “We shoot in 4K and since we deliver in 1080, the post can go into 1/4 of the frame and create little corkscrew movements. “

The team also uses two S1Hs and a GH5 with macro lenses for studio work. As they have more resources and space for lighting, they make good use of Litepanels Gemini LED panels for higher efficiency. Since there are large windows in the studio, for light control they use hard ND gel which they place in front of the windows, usually ND3 or ND9. “We mainly use these hard gels, in conjunction with the LED lights in the studio,” Maliszewski explained. “The two basic modes are bright bright light outside the street and our dimmable lights. And then, as the day begins to fade and the clouds set in, we’ll pull some of the frost out. “

Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street is edited and noted in DaVinci Resolve. Travis Marshall, Michael Andrus and Josh Mercado do all the post color calibration and work with several LUTs that were developed with Rule Broadcasting engineer Alex Enman. Five-camera studio shooting is synchronized using time code.

Overall, LUMIX cameras have made things easier for DGA Productions. “After many years of carrying a 30-pound camera, you realize you can still have incredible image quality in a much smaller form factor.” said Maliszewski. “Shooting with a LUMIX camera in hand is like flying and it made me even more enthusiastic about my job. Michael and I took a recent trip and I think we only brought one tripod. We don’t really use a lot of tripods in the field… and I don’t think anyone misses them.

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