Director and DP Nino Leitner Withstands the South African Heat with Sachtler

Nino Leitner

Director and DP

Every day, three rhinos are killed for their horn in South Africa. With so much senseless slaughtering, rhinos have become one of the most critically endangered species in the world. To help shed some light on this issue, Austrian director and cinematographer Nino Leitner traveled to the Shamwari Game Reserve in South Africa to shoot a documentary on preserving the endangered Rhinos in the area. As a [mention awards here], Through the Thick follows the rangers down at the reserve who help protect the rhinos from constant poachers.

“I don’t think humans have the right to decide which animals are allowed to live or become extinct. It’ll be heartbreaking if those animals go extinct, but what’s even worse is how upset it makes my daughter. She’s four years old and can’t grasp the concept of why people would want to kill an animal like this,” said Andrew Kearney, Ranger Manager of the Shamwari Game Reserve, at the start of the film.

To accompany him through the tough terrain and severe heat, Leitner needed the right gear to tell the story accurately. Among other equipment, he utilized the smooth operation and reliability of the Sachtler FSB 8 and Video 18 tripod systems along with the Phantom Flex 4K high-speed digital camera to capture incredible, slow motion shots of the majestic animals as they ran across the open fields.

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“Sachtler is really the standard in Europe. I have around six different tripods for different set ups, but the first system I bought was the FSB 8 with the carbon fiber legs, which I've had for about nine years now."

Nino Leitner

“You're outside the whole time and even though it's extremely hot and dusty, the tripod works perfectly. They were made for outdoor use and can take a beating,” said Leitner. “Unlike cameras and lenses, it's not something that you have to think about and look after as closely. You can just trust it to work.”

As the strongest 75 mm solution from Sachtler, the FSB 8 tripod system is the perfect partner for a larger camcorder, smaller film set-ups, and DSLR setups. For Leitner, Sachtler’s reinforced German engineering and wide temperature range was something he could rely on for such an intense, visually captivating project.

“Sachtler is really the standard in Europe. I have around six different tripods for different set ups, but the first system I bought was the FSB 8 with the carbon fiber legs, which I've had for about nine years now. I literally use it day in and day out, so it has a few bumps and scratches, but it still works just like the first day I got it. I’ve been using Sachtler tripods all my life and I don’t plan on changing that anytime soon.”

Thanks to the Snap & Go side-loading mechanism on the head, the pre-configured setups that Leitner used in South Africa could be mounted quickly on the side of the tripod while allowing a long displacement. Along with that, Leitner employed Sachtler’s unique Speedbalance technology that let him work faster so he didn’t miss those fleeting, once-in-a-lifetime moments for the documentary.

“When you're first starting out, a good tripod is a big investment because they're not always cheap, but the FSB 8 is built like a tank and the tripod will age with you and be something you can have throughout your entire career. On the other hand, cameras can get obsolete very quickly as technology advances and they’re getting lighter by the year. But whether I have a small DSLR or a medium-sized camera like the Sony FS7, I can still use my Sachtler tripod. You can’t beat that versatility and longevity.”

Get more details on the FSB 8 product page.

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