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01/06/2012

Anton/Bauer Batteries Stand Up To Sub-Zero Temps During Historic Trek

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Faced with traveling through the extreme cold and snowy terrain of the South Pole, the production team behind the documentary The Push: South Pole Expedition, turned to Anton/Bauer, part of Vitec Videocom, a Vitec Group company, and a premier global provider of batteries, chargers, lighting and other mobile power systems for the professional broadcast, video and film industries, to power the crew’s video cameras during adaptive athlete Grant Korgan’s two-week-long trek.
Cinematographer Tom Day, of Warren Miller Entertainment, chose Anton/Bauer’s DIONIC® HC battery to keep the team’s Sony HXR-NX5U professional camcorders and Canon EOS 7D Digital SLR camera running through the tough last leg of the trek.
The documentary, directed by Steve Sig, filmed by Day and Petter Nyquist and photographed by Keoki Flagg, follows adaptive athlete Grant Korgan, who suffered a paralyzing spinal cord injury in 2010, and his team, Doug Stoup, founder and expedition leader of Ice Axe Expeditions and Tal Fletcher, a guest guide for Points North Heli-Adventures. Throughout the documentary, the team works together to help Korgan reach his goal of trekking to the South Pole first by use of a sit-ski, which allows him to use his arm power to push him along, and finishing the expedition on skis, in a standing position. Thanks to help from Anton/Bauer’s DIONIC HCs, Day and his production team were able to capture Korgan reaching his goal by his target date of January 12, 2012, the 100th anniversary of Robert Falcon Scott's Terra Nova expedition.
Faced with a 75-mile journey in up to -35 degree weather on dry snow, which is difficult to glide on, Day and the production team knew they would need a rugged, reliable power source to keep their equipment running. Day and his team, who trained for a year for the expedition, were unsure of how long the on-board batteries of their cameras would last, so they decided to travel with a stock of 25 DIONIC HCs as back-up power. The compact, lightweight-yet-powerful batteries were easy to fly with and, as it turned out, proved to be the best solution for the final mile, which was also the most difficult.
“My first challenge going into this shoot was picking a camera and batteries that I thought would work in this unusual situation,” says Day. “Anton/Bauer’s recommendations were spot on. The DIONIC HCs were lightweight, portable and tough enough to withstand the cold, which was key. It was just so cold; every time we took a shot, we didn’t want it to be a big process. We just wanted to be able to grab our camera, take a shot and move on. Moving is how you stay warm and I didn’t want to compromise too much. I wanted to have a certain look to the film and I wanted to have the camera gear not hinder that too much.”
DIONIC HC provides 91Wh and can operate a 40-watt HD camera for more than two hours. Transported as carry-on luggage without restrictions, the DIONIC HC is the perfect lightweight battery for shooting on location. Part of the company’s Logic Series® batteries, the DIONIC HC is suitable for powering high-current applications in a lightweight package. Working closely with cell manufacturers, the HC series incorporates high-capacity cells offering 10 amps. To continually ensure cell protection and performance integrity, a special honeycomb cell pack design protects the cells. An enhanced RealTime® display indicates up to nine hours of run time (under low power-load conditions) using a seven-segment display enclosed by four circular arcs that indicate 15-minute time intervals, ensuring high confidence in those filming with the battery.
Day’s biggest challenge was the last mile of the trip, which he knew was going to be an emotional time, as the entire team reached the end of their very long journey. Day and the film crew wanted to keep their cameras running, even if they weren’t necessarily shooting because they wanted to get the audio.
“This trip was planned for an entire year before we began,” explains Day. “We had been training and Grant was training real hard. We’d been documenting all of our training trips and everything that led up to the South Pole; we had been working together as a team. I knew that last mile was going to be emotional. We basically never turned our cameras off—they ran for a full half hour. I was happy that was able to happen. I’m not sure if any of the other batteries would have lasted for a full half-an-hour shot at -35 degrees.”
In order to protect the batteries and keep them warm during filming, Day tucked a DIONIC HC under the layers in his camera pouch. Then, each time he would shoot, he hooked up the battery adapter. He and the crew also kept back-up batteries in their jackets to protect them from the cold. Later, at night, he and the crew would each sleep with one battery to keep it warm and also used some of the batteries to film time lapses using the Canon EOS 7D.
“Since the sun never sets at the South Pole, I really wanted to do time lapses of the sun moving across the sky as we were in our tents,” says Day. “There was no way that the camera’s on-board battery was going to last that long. I was able to get a couple of all-night shoots with just one Anton/Bauer battery, which I was pretty pleased with.”
Currently, The Push: A South Pole Adventure is being edited for a documentary film and TV series on NBC Universal Sports, scheduled for release in the fall of 2012. The Push expedition is in support of the Truckee, California-based High Fives Foundation, a 501c3 helping injured athletes recover and, ideally, get back to their sport. For more information about the documentary, visit www.southpolepush.com
For more information about Anton/Bauer’s roster of products, visit www.antonbauer.com.
(GK)
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