When cinematographer David Linstrom signed on to shoot a segment of “National Geographic Wild-America’s Big Five,” he turned to Sachtler for camera support.
The segment is about scientists from the United States Geological Survey who go out across the frozen sea near the Arctic to survey polar bears on ice. When they find a bear that hasn’t been previously tagged, they shoot it from a distance with a tranquilizer dart and take the bear’s vitals for the record books.
Linstrom chose a Sony F800 camera and the Sachtler 20 S1 SL HD fluid head and tripod for the assignment. He did everything from helicopter-to-helicopter shots to tripod shots of details of polar bears in the snow at −28 degrees Fahrenheit.
Hampered by extreme temperatures and heavy winds over the week-long shoot, Linstrom was able to get the shots for the episode. He said the Sachtler fluid head stayed fluid and he noticed no difference when working in the extreme cold weather.
Linstrom said the Sachtler tripod is ideal for documentary and fieldwork. It is lightweight yet stable and the controls make it easy to work with a long lens. By using the tension settings, the operator can personalize the balance and resistance so he can dial in just the right amount of tension in order to get smooth pans and tilts, regardless of weather conditions.