Reliable batteries power cameras on “The Blacklist”


Brant Fagan


NEW YORK - Technology has changed dramatically in the 23-plus years I've worked as a cinematographer and camera operator, but one thing has remained constant no matter where in the world I happen to be: my need for a reliable power source.

Cameras today are essentially computers with a lens port. When you're shooting 4K or greater, power is everything. It has to be dependable or you risk corrupting files and not getting the take. I've used Anton/Bauer® batteries domestically and internationally for two decades and have come to rely on them for everything I do.

Anton/Bauer's HyTRON 140 is my go-to choice for my camera stabilization system. They supply the proper amount of current to my on-board accessories, which typically includes a daylight viewable HD monitor, a lens control system, and a wireless transmitter. I power my camera with Anton/Bauer DIONIC HC or HCX batteries; these days I almost always use a RED Epic for episodic television or commercials.

On set, the DIT cart has all the batteries and chargers for image control, so the assistants just plug in my HyTRONs or DIONIC HCs. With Anton/Bauer’s smart charger systems, they can walk away and never worry about overcharging or rejuvenation cycles. I leave my battery collection on the chargers even when we’re not shooting.

I’ve gotten some amazing day-to-day and year-to-year life expectancies from Anton/Bauer batteries. The HyTRON usually has a four- to six-year lifespan, but I’ve been using some of mine for more than eight years.

I was the operator on the pilot of NBC’s “The Blacklist” in March 2013. It was a 16-day shoot. We used the Sony F55 CineAlta camera, which was in beta, and had two cameras rolling – handheld, some dolly – all the time. One day we were shooting a complicated and tense dialogue scene with James Spader in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The next day, we were shooting an action sequence on a working drawbridge in Long Beach, New York, equating to two 14-hour days in and exposed location with brutal weather. We had vehicles crashing, explosions, gun battles and a boat chase with lots of handheld shots and special crane rigs.

Everything was powered by Anton/Bauer batteries. We had to stay powered up and ready to go at a moment’s notice to capture the non-stop energy of the sequences. Throughout the pilot, we were concerned about working with a camera that was still in beta. So power was crucial to maintaining a sense of normality and dependability. No cameras went down, and there were no hiccups.

My Anton/Bauer batteries are a known quantity. I know they will charge and provide the power I need with no surprises. I’ve seen other products come and go, but Anton/Bauer batteries have been there for me since the beginning of my career.

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