Steadicam Challenges Mount Everest
The Steadicam Archer SE and Tiffen Color-Grad filters pushed their way to the limits on their maiden voyage to the "Top of the World." To cover the filming of 3 news programs from Mount Everest, Rob Turner, Cameraman and Steadicam owner/operator and Reporter Phil Reay-Smith of ITV1 News [ITN] in the UK ascended Mount Everest with an excessive amount of equipment to cover Sir Ranulph Fiennes ascent of Everest to help him raise the £3m target he had set himself for the Marie Curie Cancer Care Charity. Although Sir Ranulph was not able to complete the journey due to exhaustion, just missing the target, by only 400m short of the peak, he passed his flag to his climbing team, who then proceeded on, to reach the summit.
According to Rob Turner, they took a flight from Gatwick with 400kg of kit and landed at Kathmandu and then had to take a flight to a small Mountain airstrip called Lukla via a very old and rickety twin propeller plane. From Lukla they hired 14 porters to hand carry the 24 flight cases on the 14 day trek to Base Camp. Turner stated that the trek was hard work and he suffered from Acute mountain sickness (AMS) for a couple of days on the way up due to the increasing lack of oxygen.
On arrival at Base Camp they set up their gear and declared themselves the highest edit suit in the world. 5350 meters or 17,550 ft. and the highest Steadicam Operator in the World!
"Then it was time for filming to start… out comes the Archer SE, and after finishing some amazing pieces to camera and some stunning setup shots, we knew our coverage would really stand out," said Rob Turner.
"Rolling over in bed at this height leaves you breathless, picking up the camera gives you a headache, Flying the rig for 45 minutes leaves you almost useless for the rest of the day.... totally worth it!!" - Rob Turner
Turner used Hytron 140's for the camera and Steadicam PowerCubes on the rig. The Lithium PowerCubes withstood the cold better than he had thought. A little Honda generator (EU 10i) coped quite well up there to run all gear and do the charging.
In addition, Turner filmed with Tiffen 4x4 Color-Grad® filters to balance the excessive brightness of the surroundings.
The Archer SE is a second generation Archer, a lightweight commercial-quality Steadicam that hosts an extensive array of innovative features. The Archer SE is a complete system with virtually every accessory required for normal operation. These features include the world’s first ‘fold-down’ sled design; revolutionary new light weight dynamic Iso-elastic™ arm; state-of-the-art ergonomically designed Leather Vest and a newly designed tilting ‘open architecture’ camera mounting stage.
The Archer SE is designed for precise handling, first and foremost. Its narrow 2.3” Sled width with yoke mounted monitor and precision adjustable battery assure optimum operational freedom. The sleek lightweight sled design allows it to be kept closer to the operator’s body and results in less fatigue and allows an operator more options, such as maneuvering through tighter spaces.
The Archer SE’s patent pending ‘fold-down’ sled reduces its size by more than 30%, while its combination aluminum framework with black, two section extending carbon fibre post assembly as standard, provides a light, yet extremely rigid system. This new design makes for easier equipment transport and faster set-ups and teardowns than traditional rigs with telescoping post assemblies.
When set-up, Archer SE’s flawless dynamics, with precision low friction, no-tools gimbal control and finely tuned distribution of mass, provide the unique feel that has set Steadicam systems apart from all others.
Equipped with the Archer SE, is the revolutionary G-50 GEO variable iso support arm. The result of years of research and testing by Garrett Brown, the G-50 is a lightweight, stiff, rigid, well-behaved, cost-effective arm, with great vertical travel and lifting range.
In addition to Steadicam’s proprietary no-tools adjustment of lift, the G-50 provides two mind-bending new features — ‘Ride’ (knob-adjustable Iso-elasticity); and ‘Geo’, (an active tie-rod geometry that automatically extends the performance curve), so its sweet spot is its entire vertical range!
The LEATHER LX vest exclusive for the Archer SE has also been newly designed for increased operator control and comfort. Constructed of ‘dynamite’ weather resistant black nylon, it features an integrated lower back support pad for increased comfort, improved front waist support for a ‘flex-free’ vest to arm interface; buckle indexing mechanism for quick, positive latching or unlatching; vertically adjustable wide stance chest plate with stiffer central spar and two-position chest buckles to fit accommodate varying body sizes.
Other critical improvements of the new vest include: a ‘sound stage friendly’ anti-squeak buckle design with rubber bumpers and new, ‘no-pinch’ chest strap grips.
All work together to complement the capabilities of the G-50 arm.
The Archer SE also incorporates a completely new camera mounting system with open access design for on-location adjustments. It also features a unique mid-rib, and the widest possible bearings for maximum stability and easy, low frictional adjustments, Operators can use long lenses with a high degree of confidence. This Special Edition Archer also features an integral Tilt Head Stage.
New positive locking post clamps prevents snagging, so that nothing sticks to you or the cable.
The Archer SE is HD video ready, and can accept all high definition signals. Supplied with the Archer SE, is a 7” LCD, NTSC/PAL 700 nit, 16:9 monitor with integral frameline generator. There is a “Tally System” for live application. The sensor is provided as part of the SE system
The monitor features the latest in color LCD technology, with the weight and location of the monitor assuring the operator of perfect balance and consistent ease of operation. And the monitor pivots on its center of gravity, so dynamic balance is maintained when tilting the monitor, or when flipping from high mode to low mode.
In addition to its roster of capabilities, the Archer SE is equipped with the latest, most powerful Steadicam “Power Cube”, the new, dual 6000mah IDX batteries that will drive your sled forever, and can handle any camera’s power requirements.
“The new Archer SE Steadicam is the perfect system for Broadcast Applications, Teleproduction Studios and Independent Steadicam Operators who require a fully featured rig that is low cost and lightweight featuring ease of use. Its unique (patent applied) folding sled design makes it the perfect mobile unit,” says Frank Rush, Manager of Steadicam.
Tiffen Color-Grad® filters are half clear, half color with a graduated density transition for smooth blending into the scene. Transform an average sunrise or sunset into something spectacular or convert a dull, washed-out sky to a breathtaking blue. Color-Grad Neutral Density, for instance, is used when you want to balance light intensity between two areas within a scene. This is important outdoors to allow more sky detail while properly exposing the foreground. It is the ideal filter for overly-bright, washed out subjects.
Steadicam is a Division of The Tiffen Company with its headquarters located at 90 Oser Avenue, Hauppauge, New York 11788, Telephone: 631.273.2500, Fax: 631.273.2557; www.tiffen.com
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