NEW YORK—Technology has changed dramatically in the 23-plus years that I’ve worked as a cinematographer and camera operator, but one thing has remained constant: my requirement for a reliable power source to operate my equipment.
Cameras today are essentially computers with a lens port. When you’re shooting 4K video or greater, power is everything. It has to be dependable or you risk corrupting files and not getting the take that you want. I’ve used Anton/Bauer batteries domestically and internationally for two decades and have come to rely on them for everything I do.
Anton/Bauer’s HyTron 140 is my go-to choice for my camera stabilization system. These batteries supply the proper amount of current for my on-board accessories, which typically includes a daylight-viewable HD monitor, lens control system and wireless transmitter.
I power my camera with Anton/Bauer Dionic HC or HCX batteries, as I almost always use a RED Epic for episodic television or commercials.
On set, there’s a cart with chargers and the assistants can just plug in my HyTrons or Dionic HCs and walk away. With Anton/ Bauer’s smart charger systems, there’s never any worry about overcharging or rejuvenation cycles. I leave my battery collection on the chargers even when we’re not shooting.
I’ve gotten some amazing day-to- day and year-to-year life expectancies from Anton/Bauer batteries. The HyTron usually has a four- to six-year lifespan, but some of mine have been in use for more than eight years.
NO ROOM FOR FAILURE
In March 2013, I was the camera operator on the pilot of NBC’s “The Blacklist.” This turned out to be a 16-day shoot. We used the Sony F55 CineAlta camera (which was in beta then) and had two cameras rolling—handheld and on dolly—all the time.
One day we were shooting a complicated and tense dialogue scene on location in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and the next day would find us shooting an action sequence on a working drawbridge in Long Beach, New York. This equated to two 14-hour days with exposure to the elements and some really brutal weather. All of the gear was powered by Anton/Bauer batteries and we had to stay constantly powered up and ready to go at a moment’s notice to capture the nonstop energy of the sequences, including crashing vehicles, explosions, gun battles and a boat chase.
Also, throughout the pilot, we were concerned about working with a camera that was still in beta. Consequently, reliable power was especially crucial to maintain a sense of normality and dependability. However, no cameras went down and there were no hiccups with any of the gear.
My Anton/Bauer batteries are a known quantity. I know they will charge and provide the power I need with no surprises. I’ve seen other products come and go, but Anton/Bauer batteries have been something that I’ve been able to rely upon since the beginning of my career.
Brant Fagan, SOC, has traveled the globe as a cinematographer/camera operator working on feature films, episodic television, commercials, and live events. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information, contact Anton/Bauer at 800-422-3473 or visit http://video.antonbauer.com.