August 17, 2010

Batteries charge Through The Roof

A nine-day climb on Mount Kilimanjaro requires lots of energy, but for one documentary team just three batteries were enough. Through the Roof, a documentary following Erica Davis, the first female paraplegic athlete to reach the summit of Africa's highest mountain, was shot on a Panasonic AG-HPX170 P2 HD handheld camcorder, powered by Anton/Bauer ElipZ 10K batteries.

Matt Peters and Chris Theibert of Captured Life Productions had taken six batteries with them, expecting to use them all, but only needed three to capture 12 hours of primary footage.

Through the Roof follows Davis, plus Tara Butcher (an amputee below the left knee), as they and a support team scale the 5,893-metre mountain. It took seven days to reach the summit, with temperatures varying from the heat of the African plains to well below freezing at the top.

“We did a lot of research to determine the best type of equipment for a shoot like this, where we would be operating in harsh conditions and without access to a power source for several days,” said Peters.

“We were amazed that we actually had unused batteries when we got off the mountain,” he added. “It was something we didn’t think was possible, because we ran out of room on the camera before we ran out of battery power. It was a really good thing for us, very comforting, and it just clinched it for us.”

The almost toy-like ElipZ 10K uses the highest capacity lithium ion cells available, providing field runtimes of more than 7.5 hours on a 10-Watt camera load. The lightweight battery can improve the comfort and handling characteristics of a compact camcorder by lowering its centre of gravity and providing an additional handhold. It fits to the underside of the camera, away from operator controls.

By David Fox

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