Fouad Zayed, an award-winning producer and director of photography, is using a trifecta of products from Litepanels, Sachtler, and Anton/Bauer — all Vitec Production Solutions brands — to capture dazzling footage of sharks in the wild for one of television’s most popular nature documentary series. Zayed is owner of FZ Productions, a full-service TV and animation studio that has worked on some of the highest-profile shows on American television.
In preparation for the program’s 2018 season, which kicks off on July 22, Zayed and his crew completed four shows in locations as diverse as Texas, Florida, California, Cuba, and Australia. The production relied on four Litepanels Astra 1x1 LED lights powered by Anton/Bauer Cine 150 V-Mount batteries, as well as a Sachtler S1 tripod equipped with a Video 20 fluid head.
“While filming apex predators like sharks, any distraction underwater could cost us our lives. Plus, we cannot afford to have any gear malfunctions as some of our filming expeditions take us more than 100 miles offshore, a long way from any rental houses,” Zayed said. “We put our faith in Litepanels, Sachtler, and Anton/Bauer equipment because we know it will perform up to our expectations in any conditions. We stretch the limits of our equipment on a daily basis in the world’s harshest environments, and we can count on these products to work every time.”
Powered by the Anton/Bauer batteries, the Litepanels Astra 1x1 LEDs can deliver up to eight hours of full-power light for the shark series, making them especially useful for lighting the boat topside for night scenes, such as when divers emerge from the water. The Sachtler tripod and fluid head are rugged enough to submerge in sea water and at depth, which makes them ideal for underwater shooting. For instance, the FZ Productions team often attaches weights to a camera/tripod setup to keep it on the sea floor at depths up to 60 feet, leaving the camera rolling to capture natural footage of sharks without human interference.
“The Vitec equipment is incredibly versatile and gives us so many different options; for instance, we can mount an Astra just about anywhere on the boat that we need a clean, powerful light source — just by using a Cardellini clamp,” Zayed said. “And the great thing about the Anton/Bauer batteries is that they can power anything with a V-mount — cameras, lights, and other accessories — and the P-Tap power outlet means we can mount cameras on gimbals and power them without having to have the battery hanging off the camera.”
Tobias Keuthen, Vitec Production Solutions director, product marketing, commented: “FZ Productions’ use of our award-winning image capture solutions on one of America’s most popular wildlife series is another real-world demonstration of these solutions’ tremendous versatility and ruggedness, especially in extreme and very harsh conditions. We appreciate our partnership with FZ Productions and look forward to working with Fouad and his team on many more high-profile and action-packed projects.”
More information on The Vitec Group and its brands is available at www.vitecgroup.com.