Director/Cinematographer Clinton Harn Trusts Sachtler out in the Blistering Sand Dunes of Australia

Clinton Harn

Cinematographer

Capturing an extreme sport in action requires some pretty extreme environments, which is why Director and DP Clinton Harn traveled two hours north of Sydney, Australia in the middle of summer for an extreme quad biking commercial. Unfortunately, Harn knew that when it comes to protecting your camera equipment from sand, there’s not much you can do other than hope it doesn’t get too windy while you’re shooting.

“The project was based in a part of Stockton where you’re surrounded by sand dunes. And for that area at that particular time during the summer, it can get gruesomely hot and windy. And despite the combination of sand, wind, and heat, we still had to be able to get the job done without damaging the equipment in the process,” explained Harn.

For this specific project, Harn worked with the latest carbon fiber model of the RED Weapon Dragon with two sized compact zoom lenses. While he used gimbal systems and aerial drones for the more wide, establishing shots, Harn employed the latest Video 18 S2 from Sachtler to capture those steady up-close shots. An upgrade to their classic Video 18 S1, Sachtler’s Video 18 S2 offers 4 kg more payload than the original, so Harn could accommodate different camera builds with its wide payload range and strong German engineering.

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  • Clinton Harn

"I'll be honest with you. The thing I like about the Video 18 S2 is that it has the ability to carry a super light or heavy payload. Because of that versatility, you’re able to adjust your drag settings and load settings to fit your needs"

Clinton Harn

Equipment

Fluid Heads
Video 18 S2

“Sachtler’s Video 18 S2 was perfect for this application. All the shots that we wanted to get were basically stabilized shots on this set of sticks and we loved how they turned out,” stated Harn. “Initially, I was worried because sand and dust – particularly in a desert or dry heat environment – can get into the lining of the equipment and can affect the mechanics of any product, especially a tripod system. But at no point during our shoot did the sand affect the performance or the fluidity of the Video 18 S2. I don’t know what Sachtler does, but it’s remarkable.”

Besides the excellent drag mechanism, Harn found that one of the more useful, Sachtler-specific features was the Speedbalance technology of the tripod. With swift weight compensation and easier deployment, the Video 18 S2 was not only more comfortable to use for Harn, it also remained highly dependable despite all of the sand and wind.

“The Speedlock legs were particularly useful because once you get sand in those twist legs, that’s when it starts to ruin the performance. At one point, one of the ACs dropped the entire tripod system into the sand. We picked it up and literally dusted it off and it was fine. You would think after being submerged in the sand it would get into all of the nooks and crannies of the system, but there was no harm done,” said Harn.

While the Video 18 S2 is optimized for any kind of project or camera setup, Harn still gets to take advantage of classic Sachtler features like the Touch & Go plate, the illuminated spirit level, and the infamous SpeedLevel Clamp that replaces the traditional tie down on a tripod with a simple push and release mechanism.

“I'll be honest with you. The thing I like about the Video 18 S2 is that it has the ability to carry a super light or heavy payload. Because of that versatility, you’re able to adjust your drag settings and load settings to fit your needs; and that's true for the entire Sachtler range. When you feel it, have it in your hands, and you’re moving the camera around, you feel like you're working with the best possible tool. Sachtler’s gear has the flexibility that any director or cinematographer would ever need.”