Prior to setting up his own shop in 2015, freelance camera operator Dan Martland logged over 20 years of full-time experience with numerous UK broadcasters including ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, and Sky. Today, he’s a sought-after professional for a wide range of projects including interviews, documentaries, live sports, corporate productions, and commercial work.
Dan goes where the news happens. Lately that’s been taking him to interesting and high-profile on-location shoots - including one of the world’s most renowned U.S.-based tennis tournaments and the recent United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.
Dan used the flowtech®100 carbon fibre tripod on both of those high-profile events, and he could not have been more impressed.
For both the tennis championship and the UNGA, Dan loaded up the flowtech®100 with his go-to payload, a Sachtler Video 18 S1 fluid head supporting a Sony F5 4K camera. In addition, the camera was outfitted with a bulky Canon CN7 120mm zoom lens and a battery mounted on an ENG dock, and the tripod also carried a monitor.
“Even with that beast of a payload, weighing at least 25 pounds, flowtech®100 offered outstanding stability,” Dan comments. “But another great thing about this tripod/head combination is that I can go really quickly to a lighter camera, even my Sony a7S Mark II, just by adjusting the friction on the counterbalances.”
flowtech®100’s features for super-fast set-up and takedown really got Dan’s attention.
Even with that beast of a payload, weighing at least 25 pounds, flowtech®100 offered outstanding stability.”
- Dan Martland at the US Open
“Many of my jobs require me to be super-fast and reactive, and I can’t have equipment slowing me down,” he notes.
“With my other lightweight 100mm tripods, I’m always fighting with the twist locks on the legs to make the fine adjustments I need to, and I have to take the camera off and set it somewhere that might not be good for it, like sand on a beach. But with flowtech®100, I can leave the payload on and simply release each leg with the quick-release brakes at the top. Within an instant, and without bending over, I can deploy each leg at the exact height needed.”
When I first saw the 75mm version of flowtech®, I knew it was a game changer. I’ve been waiting patiently for flowtech®100, and now that it’s here, I’m madly in love with it. Honestly, Sachtler will have to work really hard to improve on flowtech®!”
- Dan Martland
The tennis championship was an ideal opportunity for Dan to put these features to the test. “In one instant I would be running from court to court to interview players post-match, and then I’d need to run off to the practice courts to get training shots or some other location for a stand-up interview. With any other tripod, I would have missed these shots because it would have taken too long to set-up. But with flowtech®100, I could get to the next location fast and set-up almost instantly at the height I needed, whether it was waist height for an interview or at ground level to catch an artsy ground shot during a training session.”
The speed and versatility of flowtech®100 also played a key role in Dan’s coverage at the UNGA in New York. At the beck and call of multiple producers, Dan was required to move from one shooting location to another at a moment’s notice.
“Not only was flowtech®100 a breeze to carry, but we often had to get into cramped positions and share space with other media in the press booths. With flowtech®100, I could get the sticks and the feet into tight spaces and then poke the camera where I needed it, such as out a window. The UNGA is where flowtech®100 really came into its element for me,” Dan explains.
Another feature that sets flowtech®100 apart is the tripod’s ability to go extremely high or low in an instant, and without any loss of stability.
When a producer error made Dan late arriving to an important press conference at UNGA, and there wasn’t much space left on the media risers in the back of the room. “I was able to work with the spreader to change the tripod’s footprint and go really high to shoot over all of the other press cameras that were already in position,” Dan says. “And even at that extreme height, flowtech®100 offered a completely rigid, stable platform. Any other tripod at that level would have shaken or flexed if I had so much as breathed on the camera.”
He adds, “Going low is just as easy. With other lightweight tripods, I’ve always had to carry an extra high hat to get low, ground-level shots. But with flowtech®100, you just remove the spreader to go as low as needed. It’s just one more example of how flowtech®100 makes my job so much easier.”
For on-the-go camera operators, often the smaller details can make a huge difference. Dan especially loves the flowtech®100 carry handle and threaded mounting points.
“I have never had a tripod with a carry handle before, and it’s just brilliant. It’s positioned so that it’s perfectly balanced and makes the tripod a pleasure to carry. It also protects the head from damage by giving you something else to carry the rig with, rather than holding it by the panhandle as journalists often do,” Dan comments.
“And the threaded mounting holes are genius. They mean we can attach a piece of gear, like a monitor/recorder, directly to the tripod. For one five-camera shoot during New York Fashion Week, I was able to detach the camera for shoulder-carried shooting and then come back to the tripod, and with a click and a small cable connection I was instantly reattached to the entire rig with the monitor/recorder.”
He adds, “Even those smaller features show how Sachtler really listens to customers and delivers a product that’s designed around their needs. Everything about the flowtech®100 - the speed clamps, the height versatility, the stability for heavy payloads - is geared to the requirements of hard-working ENG camera operators. And it just feels solid, with the build quality that Sachtler is famous for.”
Dan concludes, “When I first saw the 75mm version of flowtech®, I knew it was a game changer. I’ve been waiting patiently for flowtech®100, and now that it’s here, I’m madly in love with it. Honestly, Sachtler will have to work really hard to improve on flowtech®.”