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Production Gear Stretches the Limits

Latest equipment adds new flexibility to shooting

Field video crews are already taking into account the growing need to do their work for multiple platforms such as smartphones and social media sites; but what is now somewhat optional will soon become mandatory and commonplace. That’s the assessment of Ian Krabacher, senior principal product designer for Avid.

“There has been an enormous increase in the number of ways possible to connect to an audience and this will only prove to be a good thing over time,” Krabacher said. “This means that the camera person needs to be aware that the media will be used in a wide variety of color and format distributions."

Crews need to understand that lighting and framing have to take into account an assortment of screens and aspect ratios.

“It also means they can be required to deliver media from the field as they are shooting it to ‘test’ post and distribution workflows,” Krabacher said, “This requires greater organization and the creation of a set of standards for naming reliable sources.”

For the most part, broadcast success is still measured by the number of views per content segment, but Krabacher sees the future becoming essentially on-demand.

“There isn’t a broadcast enterprise that will escape this trend,” Krabacher said, “Broadcast professionals will need to redefine how they quantify viewership.”

Krabacher points to an Avid-funded survey of media executives showing that, over the next four years, online consumption of broadcast content will increase by ten-fold from the current 3-percent. A more recent survey showed that 65 percent of consumers identified high-quality content (including great image and audio experience) as the strongest driver of audience engagement. “Avid offers its Interplay Central as a platform to adapt to current and future needs by embracing new ways of working, connecting and collaborating in an ever-changing environment,” Krabacher said.


Avid Interplay Central Sequence Creation Interplay Central software features iOS, iPad, iPod and Blackberry connectivity to allow creation and review of scripts and video content. Users can work in connected or disconnected modes to support content capture. The user interface is customizable and enables integrated text, video, graphics and voiceovers that can play directly to air, web or rough sequence for finish by craft editors. It provides real-time access to production assets, metadata and iNews stories. Its architecture is fully open and designed to accommodate future functionality, customer needs and third-party integration.


Anton/Bauer offers a variety of Logic Series batteries that can be mixed and matched on its exclusive InterActive chargers to provide a universal battery system to meet specific shooting needs. Digital features allow Anton/Bauer batteries to communicate data to the chargers and select a charge routine specifically designed for that battery’s cell chemistry, thus maximizing reliability, performance, safety and service life of the battery. 

Each Logic Series battery contains a processor that automatically calculates battery capacity and remaining run-time data. The new RealTime display shows runtime and fuel-gauge data. This data can be seen through the viewfinder on new camera systems via a proprietary camera/battery communications protocol facilitated by the Gold Mount System. There is motion detection standard on all Logic Series batteries, allowing a sleep-mode to reduce self-discharge and extend battery life. The battery is awakened by shaking of connection to a piece of equipment. 


The 136Wh Li-ion IDX Endura Elite is designed to withstand the demands of HD power consumption. Its twin-power cartridge design is the only Li-ion battery over 100Wh that is IATA flight friendly. The Endura Elite supports Digi-View and i-Trax battery management systems. Remaining power is shown in increments of 10 percent by a solid/flashing combination of five LEDs. The information can be shown in the camera viewfinder with preset and warning conditions of the batteries. The two identical cartridges reduce the cost of replacement batteries.


The PAGlink Li-ion battery system features industry- first linked battery charging, and up to eight batteries can be connected for extended run-time. Constant power is available through hot-swapping the rear battery. The PL96T Time Battery has a numeric display for remaining capacity, and five LEDs indicate the charge remaining on the lower-cost PL96e. Run-time is displayed for all linked batteries and capacity for all individual packs. Batteries adapt automatically to support multiple viewfinder data systems.

96Wh PAG batteries are UN tested for legal transportation by passenger aircraft without quantity restriction.

Tripod and fluid head technology continues to advance with the Shotoku SX300 EFP pan/tilt head. It features Shotoku’s Perfect Balance system and Viscam technology for a wide load range and continuously adjustable pan/tilt drag with reinforced torque.

“This feature is especially important when using a variety of zoom and prime lenses,” said John O’Keefe Shotoku vice president.

The SX300 has an 88-pound payload and accommodates flat base or 150mm ball mounts. The system does not need rebalancing because adjustments are dialed in with the Perfect Balance knob.

“Quick and precise settings within seconds,” said O’Keefe.

The OConnor 1030D and 1030Ds Ultimate fluid head and 30L tripod systems are complete packages for photographers working with cameras and lens setups weighing up to 41 pounds. The package combines the control and stability of the 1030D or Ds fluid head with the robust but lightweight carbon fiber 30L tripod. A soft carrying case is tailored for the head and tripod package for protection during transport.

Sachtler 1030D-30L Tripod and pan/tilt headVINTEN
The Vinten Vision 8AS was developed for professionals using the latest portable digital camera configurations. It features improved access to controls, and rapid camera attachment using the new Vinten Sideload system. Simple but durable brakes are designed to cope with the many demands of professional operation. Vinten’s Perfect Balance is combined with LF drag technology and an illuminated leveling bubble.

Sachtler’s S1 fluid heads are the latest models of the popular Video 18 and Video ENG/ EFP series. Sachtler added four more steps to the Video 20 S1 16-step counterbalance for extreme fine tuning. The payload range of the Video 20 S1 has been broadened to take on cameras starting at 2 kg. The fluid head also has a Boost Button for quick payload shift, and Speedbalance technology enables fine adjustment.

Viewers have now come to expect high-definition video. But as indicated in the above referenced surveys, high-end audio quality is equally important to them.


Sennheiser ME62 shotgun mic (top) and MD46 cardoid mic The Sennheiser ME62 is an omni-directional microphone head for use with K6 and K6P power modules and is targeted at reporting and conducting interviews. It has minimal inherent self-noise and excellent rejection of rumble, wind and handling sound. Users can expect wide frequency response and high sound pressure level. The ME62 has an integrated pop filter. Sennheiser’s MD46 is a more traditional ENG microphone. Its cardioid pattern focuses on the subject being interviewed to increase clarity and reduce background noise.


Electro-Voice RE50/B handheld mic The Electro-Voice RE50/B omni-directional handheld is a dynamic shock-mounted ENG microphone for everyday local, national and international news interviews. It is shock-mounted and designed to reduce wind noise, popping and handling noises.“We believe our workflows will cut down on equipment expenses and will bolster an organization’s ability to create stories far more quickly with a wider range of talent that in many cases may be much closer to a newsworthy event or situation,” Krabacher said. But, while crews embrace the demands of multiple video and audio formats, they continue to rely on field gear manufacturers to keep pace with advances in their own product lines. Batteries are no exception. 

The Audio-Technica AT8004 features a rugged housing and hardened-steel grill to withstand the rigors of field operations. It has an omni-directional polar pattern pick-up for capturing ambient noise or allowing a forgiving area for interviewees who tend to move around.

No matter what the gear is it has to be carried safely to and from headquarters.

Petrol’s Deca Camera and Accessories bag is constructed with a one-piece honeycomb frame for strength and protection of internal gear. Its extrawide opening allows easy loading of fully equipped cameras. It features ergonomic interlocking grip handles and external top straps to secure a tripod. The top lid has a run-around heavy duty zipper. A removable upper tray with detachable dividers stores essential accessories. Contents are surrounded and cushioned by soft padded orange brushed polyester. The interior top lid is equipped with a zippered pouch made of clear transparent mesh. Transport is made easier with a built-in telescoping, square frame tote bar and inline skate wheels.

Porta-Brace says its WRB-3OR is the largest run bag on the market. It is suitable for carrying heavier than normal loads for studio, audio, video and film equipment. Porta-Brace added rubber off-road wheels attached to long axles for improved tracking.

The WRB-30R is constructed with a ridged interior frame covered with Cordura nylon fabric with padding. Porta-Brace now includes the formerly optional LI-GLW case illumination pouch that carries a light strip and battery that attaches to the interior of the bag allowing easier location of gear.

“Viewers are expecting a more interactive experience which they control,” Avid’s Krabacher said.

 Field crews know that quality gear plays an integral role in meeting those expectations.