Biting Cold: Phillip Flaemig on Mt. Everest
German director and cameraman Philip Flaemig is no stranger to working in extreme environments, so he jumped at the chance to shoot a feature documentary on the journey up Mt. Everest – the Tibetans’ “Goddess Mother of the World.”
Toting all of his gear with help from only one Sherpa, Flaemig brought along Sachtler’s FSB 6 fluid head for his Canon C300 Mark II. With Sachtler’s strong engineering built in, the tripod’s Speedlock technology made set-up fast and easy.
“Mount Everest is over 8,000 metres and the climate is about 30°C with the wind going 30 mph. Even when there was ice on the tripod, there was never a moment where I had to think about whether my FSB system would work – it just did,” Flaemig comments.
You're outside the whole time, and even though it's extremely hot and dusty, the tripod works perfectly. It’s made for outdoor use and can take a beating."
- Nino Leitner | Cinematographer
Sweltering Heat: Nino Leitner in South Africa
When Austrian director and cinematographer Nino Leitner travelled to the Shamwari Game Reserve in South Africa to shoot a documentary on the area’s endangered rhinos, he faced tough terrain and severe heat. His Sachtler FSB 8/Video 18 tripod system provided the smooth operation and reliability he needed to capture incredible, slow-motion shots of the majestic animals as they ran across open fields.
“You're outside the whole time, and even though it's extremely hot and dusty, the tripod works perfectly. It’s made for outdoor use and can take a beating,” Leitner says. “Unlike cameras and lenses, the tripod is not something that you have to think about and look after as closely. You can just trust it to work.”
Leitner trusted the Snap & Go Sideload mechanism on the FSB 8 fluid head, together with Sachtler’s unique Speedbalance technology, to help him work faster and ensure he didn’t miss fleeting, once-in-a-lifetime moments for the documentary.
Cold Snow and Whipping Wind: Peter Döring in Iceland and Greenland
On a commercial shoot for outdoor clothing giant Jack Wolfskin, filmmaker Peter Döring faced plenty of challenges – not the least of which was the stab of unforgiving, glacial wind in subzero temperatures. He trusted his Sachtler tripods to be robust and set-up quickly, even in extreme backcountry locations in Iceland and Greenland.
“Wherever we were shooting, we didn't have a perfectly even platform. We always had to hike through wet snow and mud, go uphill, and even do some crawling at times,” Döring relates. “Sachtler’s Video 18 S2 fluid head was great for those conditions. It was nice to be able to react in a quick way and not have to use both hands. Everything was already rigged, and you could just put the thing on your shoulder and move on.”
The result was exactly what Döring intended – a fast-paced, 25-second commercial that instantly transports the viewer to the brink of exhilaration.
For me a tripod needs to work in any weather or conditions. I have used my Sachtler tripod all over the world in war zones, natural disasters, snow, rain, extreme heat, and just about any other environment you can think of."
- Matthew Allard | Director of Photography
Blowing Sand and Blistering Heat: Clinton Harn in Australia
When director and DP Clinton Harn travelled into the dunes north of Sydney in mid-summer for an extreme quad biking commercial, he was prepared for the worst. “That area at that time can get gruesomely hot and windy. But we still had to be able to get the job done without damaging our equipment,” he notes.
To capture steady, up-close shots, Harn relied on his Sachtler Video 18 S2 fluid head. “The Video 18 S2 was perfect for this application,” he comments. Initially, I was worried because sand and dust can affect the mechanics of a tripod system. But at no point during our shoot did the sand affect the performance or the fluidity of the Video 18 S2.”
With swift weight compensation, the Video 18 S2 was not only more comfortable for Harn to use, it also remained highly dependable despite all of the sand and wind.
Full Submersion: Matthew Allard on the flowtech®100
The editor of Newsshooter.com, Matthew Allard is a multi-award-winning, ACS-accredited freelance director of photography. He recently completed an extensive product review for Newsshooter on Sachtler’s flowtech® 100 carbon fibre tripod.
“Tripods, especially 100mm bowl head versions used by news, and documentary shooters, need to be extremely robust and work in just about any weather or conditions,” Allard says. “I have used my Sachtler tripod all over the world in war zones, natural disasters, snow, rain, extreme heat, and just about any other environment you can think of.”
Allard is particularly taken with flowtech®100’s hardiness in damp and wet conditions. The tripod is so water-resistant that it can even be flushed for deep cleaning. “If water gets into the nested legs, the internal design is optimised to get rid of water via drainage holes,” he adds.
Brutal Cold: Tom Day in the Swiss Alps
Action sports photographer Tom Day, one of the most renowned filmmakers in the skiing world, famously snapped a picture of his FSB 8 system frozen while on location in the Alps and yet still fully operational. Day, principle cinematographer for Warren Miller Entertainment since 2000, was one of the first to experience Sachtler’s FSB 10 fluid head and tested it in extreme, on-location environments.
“When I first started shooting years ago, the cameramen I looked up to were all using Sachtler’s. After I tried theirs, I understood. When you put your camera on a Sachtler, it’s just as smooth as silk,” Day notes.
Arriving at our chosen spot, the first traces of sunlight are starting to warm the horizon. We need to quickly set up and readjust the tripod level in the pre-dawn gloom to make sure we get the right shot. It is in these situations that flowtech®75 shines.
Instead of twisting and re-twisting several knobs and fussing with the legs to make sure they are level, you only have one knob to twist. The single release latch lets you set up instantly on practically any surface. It is quite simply the fastest set-up we have ever seen. After all the effort it often takes to get to the perfect filming location, knowing that you can quickly and easily set up on rough ground and get to work much faster than you otherwise would be able to is really great.
Our Sachtler set-up
To get the best results for the Giant’s Causeway project, we opted to pair flowtech®75 with a Sachtler FSB 6 Fluid Head. So once we had found the perfect spot, the process of making small readjustments was simple, quick and stress free. With such reliable and easy to use equipment, the hardest part of the shoot was getting to where we needed to be.
With everything that can go wrong on a shoot, being able to rely on your tripod to not only last but actively make your job easier brings much-needed peace of mind. flowtech®75 is simply the best tripod we have ever used, and it is now an essential part of our travelling kit.
When you put your camera on a Sachtler,
it’s just as smooth as silk!"
- Tom Day | Action Sports Photographer
Water, Mud, Snow: Bertie Gregory in Canada and the Antarctic
As the host of “Wildlife with Bertie Gregory,” the first-ever all-digital series from National Geographic, Bertie puts his Sachtler gear to the test at some of the world’s most spectacular, challenging, and remote wildlife destinations. For the first season, he captured the coastal fauna of Canada’s Vancouver Island. Next, he and his crew voyaged to the inhospitable Sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia to document the remarkable recovery of the wildlife there.
The rugged Sachtler Video 18 S2 fluid head provided non-stop durability for Bertie’s three-month expedition to Vancouver Island. On South Georgia, Bertie turned to the game-changing flowtech®75 carbon-fibre tripod to create motion-controlled, time-lapse video, including stunning images of clouds rolling in and out of South Georgia’s glacial mountain landscapes.
Eternal Ice: Alessandro Beltrame in Antarctica
DP Alessandro Beltrame left his warm southern European homeland to film two documentaries for The Antarctica Project in cooperation with the Italian government and the private broadcaster, Mediaset. He spent a month at the South Pole with his Sachtler FSB 6/2 D tripod system, braving temperatures dropping to -50 °C.
“Transport over icy, snowy, and rocky terrain is very difficult; that's why the equipment has to be extremely robust and very lightweight at the same time," Beltrame explains. “The extreme cold temperatures are what the fluid heads of the Sachtler FSB series were made for! Together with the ENG 75/2 D tripod, the fluid head weighs in at only 5.3 kg, which makes it easy to transport through rough terrain.”