DoP Fouad Zayed and his team at FZ Productions utilised equipment from Vitec Production Solutions to capture footage of sharks for a TV nature documentary series. (Photo credit: FZ Productions)

Swimming with sharks in their native habitats

When embarking on a project to capture footage of sharks, DoP Fouad Zayed packed his inventory list with equipment from Litepanels, Sachtler and Anton/Bauer

Fouad Zayed, director of photography (DoP) and owner of a TV and animation studio, FZ Productions, employed a trifecta of products from Litepanels, Sachtler and Anton/Bauer — all Vitec Production Solutions brands — to capture footage of sharks in the wild for a TV nature documentary series.

In preparation for the programme’s 2018 season, which kicked off on July 22, Zayed and his crew completed four shows in locations from Texas to Florida, California, Cuba and Australia. For this project, the team relied on four Litepanels Astra 1×1 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.

Zayed explained: “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.

“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 harshest environments, and we can count on these products to work every time.”

Powered by the Anton/Bauer batteries, the Litepanels Astra 1×1 LEDs can deliver up to eight hours of light for the shark series, making them “useful” for lighting the boat topside for night scenes, such as when divers emerge from water.

The Sachtler tripod and fluid head were also placed in harsh conditions, such as being submerged into seawater and at depth. Moreover, the FZ Productions team often attached weights to a camera/tripod set-up to keep it on the sea floor at depths up to 60ft, leaving the camera rolling to capture natural footage of sharks without human interference.

“The Vitec equipment is versatile and gives us so many different options; for instance, we can mount an Astra just about anywhere on the boat where we need a clean, powerful light source — just by using a Cardellini clamp,” Zayed added. “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.”

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