Conservation and wildlife filmmaker
Conservation and wildlife filmmaker Cherique Pohl founded production company ConservationDocs to make films that inspire people to conserve wild places. The ConservationDocs team recently tested the Anton/Bauer Dionic XT V-Mount and other Vitec equipment on a grueling seven-week trip through hot, dusty Southern Africa.
Cherique brings a decade of high-end wildlife film and television experience, including work-ing for National Geographic and the BBC Natural History unit. Based in Bristol - one of the wildlife television capitals of the world, makes it ideal to draw in world-class, passionate crew, tailored around each project. Collaboration is key and the company also works with crew, edi-tors, composers and artists internationally.
On a grueling seven-week trip through hot, dusty Southern Africa, the ConservationDocs team turned to Anton/Bauer to provide power to their essential gear..
ConservationDocs exists to support organisations, scientists, investigative journalists and others on the front line of conservation to take their stories to a much larger and diverse audience. From palm oil to people living with wildlife, oceans pollution to illegal wildlife trade, the team finds the hidden stories — crafting them into films whether it’s a 50-second clip for Instagram or a full feature-length documentary.
When you're a small team working under punishing conditions in grueling landscapes reliable gear is crucial. There is no way that this expedition would have been possible without Anton/Bauer and Sachtler gear — what a luxury to use!
Conservation Docs’ content covers the globe, so its people travel the world. The places are remote, the crew small, the trips can last for weeks, and the workdays are long and often gruelling. Many of the stories involve wildlife, camera crews must be on foot and be able to move fast, because if an animal moves before they set up, they’ll miss the shot. Some stories are also filmed in remote communities far from civilisation and barging in with big cameras and too much equipment could affect your story in a negative way. For all those reasons, the equipment must be lightweight, small, durable, and easily manoeuvrable. “Usually a small, light tripod meant wobbly shots, but with the Flowtech75 we were able to have it all whilst retaining our high production values” Cherique commented.
Anton/Bauer and Sachtler have been industry leaders since Cherique started in television and film, so ConservationDocs relies on them for much of its gear.
Recently Cherique and director Robert Wilcox were about to embark on a seven-week expedition to southern Africa — a trip that would take them 5,200 kilometers in a four-wheel-drive truck with a roof tent, stopping at wildlife and conservation projects along the way. An equipment rental company recommended the Flowtech75 tripod as an ideal choice for those conditions. Cherique contacted Sachtler to request a trial, and Sachtler happily obliged. On hearing about the project, Sachtler introduced Cherique and her team to fellow Vitec Group brands Anton/Bauer and OConnor.
“I mentioned that the trip was for nature conservation, and I was blown away by the response, Sachtler even invited us to visit their factory, where we got to meet the teams from Sachtler, Anton/Bauer and OConnor. We had a wonderful experience with everyone, and it made me feel like I want to be part of a team like that.”
On the Southern Africa expedition, the team used the flowtech75 with an Ace XL fluid head, for their Sony A7S Mark II camera, mounted in a Wooden Camera A7 PRO accessory kit and rig.
The Wooden Camera rig carried an Anton/Bauer Dionic XT V-Mount battery along with radio mics. The Dionic battery was really put to the test, powering multiple devices on the rig, including the camera and a SmallHD 500 series monitor. With the longer lenses Cherique sometimes used, the system weighed about 7 kilograms — a bit heavy — but the payload was no trouble for the flowtech75 tripod. Also by having the peace of mind that - thanks to the Dionic batteries - the team will not run out of power, even if out filming for the whole day, proved invaluable.
To say the working conditions were “extreme” is probably an understatement. Cherique and Rob worked in the blazing sun — amid temperatures in excess of 100F — and unrelenting dust. They had to pack up every morning and unpack every evening to settle into their tents, then do it all again the next day at the next location. Enter the OConnor AC bag. With its dustproof, all-weather design, the bag kept all of the gear clean and protected from the damaging dust in the extremely dry conditions, while also ensuring everything was easily and quickly accessible.
Some scenes required the team to split up and some Cherique and Rob filmed together. Either way, there was a lot of equipment for just one or two people to carry.
“One day I carried the flowtech75 for five hours in the heat of the day to get a shot of a lioness. Ordinarily, my shoulder would have been throbbing from the weight of the gear, but when I got back to the car - mission completed - it really didn't feel like I had been carrying the tripod for that long at all."