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Politically correct

Oct 1, 2001 12:00 PM, Trevor Boyer

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Most politicians aren't actors — even in California. Don Scioli, a principal of Zan Media, should know. Every election season his company shoots and edits political ads for candidates in the area of Marin, Sonoma, and Mendo-cino counties.

Zan's clients are the talent, though they're not trained as such. Scioli says that many candidates are intimidated by shooting setups that involve big cameras, boom mics, and bright lights. That's partly why Scioli shoots with the unobtrusive Canon XL1: He gets much more natural performances from his clients.

But the XL1 also impresses the pros that are called in. Scioli says that a voiceover specialist that he often hires for the spots is amazed at the “phenomenal” 48kHz sound that the in-camera microphone captures, even compared to that of the high-end Sennheiser mics he's used to. “He goes nuts when he hears his voice,” says Scioli.

Scioli also raves about the low-light capabilities of the XL1. Practical lights — even just a lamp in the back of a room — are generally enough to illuminate an image suitable for television.

For editing, Zan Media has been cutting with Media 100's CineStream on Macs since it debuted as EditDV almost five years ago. But instead of applying a camera filter in post, Zan Media happily employs the XL1's Movie Mode setting.

Besides :30 and :60 spots for TV, Zan also produces 15-minute candidate videos for local public-access channels. Earlier this year the company put together an eight-minute videotape that was mailed to 15,000 homes in the area, explaining one side of a ballot proposal on land use. Current clients include Jim Henderson and Pat Eklund, both running for city council in Zan's home of Novato.

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