Practical test passed: On the road with Ace Accessories

Paul Jax and Niclas Löffler

Filmmaker

The shooting of a show reel for the German logistics service provider DHL was just the right project for testing the brand-new Ace Accessories from Sachtler: The Munich production company, We Make Them Wonder, also brought along two Sachtler Ace L tripod systems, the Sachtler Cine 7+7 HD tripod system, a Canon EOS 5 D III, and a wide variety of lenses from 24 to 100m. A slider from Varavon was also used, primarily for the work with Ace Accessories. “With this gear, we were optimally equipped to do justice to the wide variety of locations and camera positions we were faced with,” says Niclas Löffler. The team was particularly looking forward to observing the performance of the new  Ace rig with the Base Plate, Follow Focus, and Matte Box.

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“Basically anyone can work with them, from beginner to professional.”

Niclas Löffler

Flexible

To illustrate DHL's services, the WMTW team followed the daily routine of deliveryman Toni. The DHL delivery truck driver has been with DHL for 27 years and ensures that packages reach their destinations on time. “Behind every person is an interesting story. Our job is to capture those stories in images. That is what makes this kind of project so exciting,” Niclas says. The team shot mostly outdoors: Toni took them from the package centre to the delivery truck and from the delivery truck to the recipients – all over Gelsenkirchen. “In a practical test, what is most important to us is that the rig can be set up quickly in any situation. And we were in fact always able to start shooting right away. Sachtler has focused on the users' requirements, as it does with all its products,” says director Paul Jax of the outdoor shots. “We were able to deal with pesky sun glare with the flexibly adjustable side flags and the top flag. What is especially practical is that you don't have to screw on a new lens shade for every zoom position. The flags do not reflect and are not visible in the picture. That facilitates work under time constraints. The dual filter drawers allowed us to use the same filter for various objectives, and we didn't have to make constant adjustments to the equipment.”

Fast

As a foundation for the EOS 5D, Niclas used the new Ace Base Plate. He mounted the Base Plate on the Ace L's camera plate and was able to install rods and other accessories easily. “I was sold on the plate's adjustable height right away. It allows uncomplicated mounting of various accessories,” the cameraman says. “Pressing the locking lever allows quick release of the tripod plate. I could check the shot with the 5D first without having to drag the entire rig along. Afterwards, the plate with the camera could be quickly re-attached, and we could continue immediately. That is not only a great idea, but a really helpful function for everyday shooting work!”

Reliable

Four team members followed Toni: director Paul Jax, cameraman Niclas Löffler and his assistant Simon Strohmeier, and producer Dani Boldt. “We had no focus puller with us, so our Ace Follow Focus was extremely important,” Simon Strohmeier recalls.

“A large number of the settings had to do with the scenery.  This kind of work requires precise focus.” Niclas continues: “I found it very positive that Sachtler Follow Focus has no play. Each setting is transmitted one-to-one to the lens. The handling was so good that we were able to proceed very quickly. For reproducing settings, two interchangeable marking discs are perfect: I could mark my settings and come back to them later.”

And to whom do the team think that the new Ace Accessories are particularly suited? Basically anyone can work with them, from beginner to professional: that was the unanimous conclusion.