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BlockBattery’s S800

PLAYA DEL REY, CALIF.—Television commercial production in the Los Angeles market is as demanding as it gets, with top clients and top expectations. I’ve been a camera assistant since 1996 and primarily do TV commercial production. I’ve seen the transition from film cameras to HD digital cinema cameras. While these new cameras are more powerful than ever, the cutting edge cameras, such as the ARRI ALEXA, also consume a lot more power than the older film cameras. This means that we now need more powerful batteries too.

In addition to being a camera assistant, I also own much of my own equipment and a few years ago I had to make a decision about powering this gear. I really wasn’t that impressed with the batteries I’d been using, so I started looking for alternatives. After some research, I discovered the BlockBattery company and explored their products and discussed my needs with them.

They explained how the differences in their battery design improved performance, particularly with the higher power requirements of today’s digital cinema cameras. Block meets these requirements by producing higher capacity batteries and faster charging systems. I was convinced and decided to try some of Block’s products and I’m certainly happy that I did.

Now I rely on Block batteries for every job. While these are available in a number of variations with different output connector configurations, I’m able to meet my needs primarily with their S800 (an 800 Watt-hour block) and/or their S400 (a 400 Watt-hour block). While the S800 seemed a little heavy at first, it runs my camera all day and that really puts things into the proper perspective. Now on a day’s shoot I generally don’t even look at the power used until after lunch. I feel much more secure with two of Block’s S800 units than with four of the batteries I’d been using before.

One thing that’s easily overlooked when you’re putting together an equipment list is the additional power that’s needed when adding accessories to your camera rig. However, no matter how many monitors or other accessories we put on the ALEXA, the BlockBattery powers them just fine.

I’ve found that Block’s S400 is a great battery also. It packs a lot of power in a small package which is great when I’d doing “run and gun” projects, or for shorter production days. The S400 handles the high loads just as well as the S800, but of course at half the runtime, which makes perfect sense, because that’s what it is— half the size of its big brother.

The worst nightmare for a camera assistant is losing power. After more than three years of using Block batteries, I can truthfully say that they give me a sense of security each and every production day. I’m glad I discovered Block Battery.

Errin Zingale is a camera assistant, freelance operator, and owner of 2.8/4 Split Camera Rentals. He may be contacted

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