Panavision zooms in on Plus 8


Panavision has acquired Plus 8 Digital in a bid to bolster its camera-rental market share and diversify its digital cinematography offerings. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The acquisition adds a diverse array of digital video cameras to the leading motion picture film and digital camera facility's rental offerings. Panavision also will broaden its national and international reach as a result of the purchase. The camera company expands its global operations by adding to the mix Plus 8's five digital camera rental facilities in Burbank, New York, Houston, Vancouver and Toronto.

Key among the camera systems picked up in the deal are 20 Thomson Viper cameras -- a high-definition digital-capture system used by Michael Mann on Universal Pictures' "Miami Vice."

The acquisition also bolsters Panavision's television rental unit as it takes over Plus 8's TV production business -- notably on multicamera series like "Everybody Hates Chris."

While Panavision already owns and rents top-of-the-line Genesis cameras and modified Sony F-900s, Plus 8's Vipers and lower-end HD and standard-def digital cameras will broaden rental offerings for productions looking to use multiple digital formats.

Plus 8 Digital founder Marker Karahadian has aggressively built out his digital business since opening in 1988. Karahadian's was among the first rental facilities in North America to introduce Carl Zeiss HD Digiprimes, the Thomson Viper and Panasonic Varicam to the professional market. While staying on top of the latest tools, Plus 8 also has somehow managed to offer extremely competitive rental rates through the years.

"I am excited that Plus 8 will now have the strength and reputation of Panavision driving the business," Karahadian said. "The Plus 8 team and I will increase the high-quality service and attention our customers are used to, because they will also benefit from Panavision's global network."

Director David Fincher and cinematographer Harris Savides recently shot Paramount Pictures' "Zodiac" with Vipers, though those systems were primarily rented through the Camera House in North Hollywood.

Meanwhile, Clairmont Cameras in Hollywood remains the one local rental outfit to offer the Arriflex D-20 digital cinematography system.
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