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Case Study: Building a Compact, Rugged Digital Cinema Package for ITV Studios America


ITV Studios America, one of the largest and fastest-growing production companies in the US, produces a range of shows for broadcast and cable networks. Their programs include The First 48 for A&E, and Rocky Mountain Bounty Hunters for Animal Planet.

The First 48 is a hard-hitting crime docu-series that follows homicide detectives as they work to bring killers to justice within the crucial, first 48-hours of the investigation. There has been a significant shift in technology during the 10-plus years the show has been on air, from SD to HDV to Digital Cinema, and AbelCine has supplied the production with many of its cameras. In the summer of 2014, the series made the decision to upgrade to a compact, tapeless camera that would allow them to shoot in challenging environments.

Rocky Mountain Bounty Hunters follows two teams of elite agents searching for fugitives who have skipped bail and are hiding out in the mountains. ITV Studios was looking for a small, rugged camera that could provide a signature, cinematic look for their new show.

For each show, AbelCine guided producers to the technology that would allow them to produce high-quality content while meeting their programs’ technical and creative demands.


The AbelCine sales team learned that on The First 48 the crew was often required to shoot discreetly in an active crime scene or capture an interview in very tight quarters. They set up a demo of the Canon EOS C300. This compact camera with excellent low light performance proved to be a perfect fit for the production.

ITV Studios purchased three cameras and rounded out the package with Canon EF zoom lenses: 24-105mm, 17-55mm, and 70-200mm. AbelCine also designed a custom rigging solution that was extremely compact and quick to transition between ENG-style and tripod use. With this camera package, the client was able to make a seamless transition to tapeless production on The First 48.

For their new series Rocky Mountain Bounty Hunters, the company wanted to achieve a cinematic look. AbelCine demoed and evaluated several cameras with them, and they ultimately chose the C300 again. Executive Producer Jerry Decker explains, “The C300 gave us a look we wouldn’t have been able to achieve with any other camera and also allowed us to follow our bounty hunters into the most remote, harsh terrain to chase down fugitives without losing a step.”

ITV Studios also took advantage of AbelCine’s service department to keep all their equipment up and running. At the end of the second season of Rocky Mountain Bounty Hunters, AbelCine refurbished four of their Canon C300s and serviced lenses that required a rapid turnaround. This allowed the gear to go out into the field on another sh­­ow without delaying their production schedule.


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