by Carey Weatherford
PORTLAND, ORE. Just 11 days before leaving for an extended shoot in China for our feature-length documentary "Deep Green," and the day before the 2008 NAB Show opened, I decided to buy a Sony HDW-F900R camera package. I thought we'd picked the worst day in the whole year to do this, as all of the salespeople were probably in Las Vegas and unavailable.
However, I caught Band Pro's David Jones working his laptop and cell phone, while manning Band Pro's NAB booth, and he was able to bring the package together in time for my shoot.
Carey Weatherford checks out his Band Pro-supplied camera package. GREAT SUPPORT
During my long career with CBS News, I've had a lot of experience with Band Pro. They have this reputation for service no matter where you are or whatever you might need. CBS guys went out with their television cameras doing news, and if something happened, Band Pro would send out a loaner in a day and a half until they could either repair or replace the defective camera.
It was an easy decision to use the Sony HDW-F900R for "Deep Green." We wanted the highest quality we could get. This camera is the descendent of the camera that George Lucas used to shoot "Star Wars" Episodes II and III and is a stunning piece of equipment.
Having shot with an ENG camera for many years, I particularly appreciated that the F900R's digital cinematography technology was packaged in the familiar ENG form-factor. The camera looks exactly like a DigiBetacam camera and the switches are in the same position.
The camera gave us the portability our small crew needed to shoot run-and-gun style as we moved throughout China. It's also extremely easy to handle when it's not on a tripod. You can fly it around, put it on your lap, stick your nose out the door of a helicopter—you can do all kinds of things with it.
We had Band Pro equip our Sony camera package with the HDVFC35W viewfinder. This is a superb color finder, and it has a removable eye tube that allows me to fold out the TFT paddle monitor and view it directly. I think once a camera operator tries this viewfinder, they'll never want to use anything else.
To complete the package, Band Pro provided us with Fujinon 13x4.5 and 18x7.6 HD lenses, and a Chrosziel mattebox, balancing high optical quality and low weight, as we would be trekking into some pretty rugged terrain. We also purchased four IDX E10S battery packs and a couple of lighter-weight IDX E7S packs for situations where we had to be extremely mobile.
I've also long been a fan of Sachtler camera support equipment and in a desire to keep the weight down, selected a Sachtler Video 12 SB system to round out our package.
This is a great package that Band Pro custom tailored for us. I can't thank them enough for bringing our camera package together at the last minute, during their busiest time of the year.
Carey Weatherford began his career in television news capture with 16mm film and was an early adopter of electronic newsgathering. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information, contact Band Pro Film & Digital Inc. at 818-841-9655 or visit www.bandpro.com