With over 20 years of experience covering the beautiful game, Jon Pijnen has brought action to our screens from FA Championship and Premier League games to the UEFA Champions League and the FIFA World Cup. Jon’s talent has been recognized with a prestigious Sports Emmy® award for outstanding work on the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup for FOX, a talent that sees him regularly in demand by the world’s leading broadcasters.
We caught up with Jon to find out why Anton/Bauer Titon batteries and Vinten flowtech are a key part of his kit.
Anton/Bauer Titons power Jon Pijnen into extra time
If a soccer ball is moving in a professional game, there is a good chance that freelance sports cameraman Jon Pijnen is nearby, capturing all the action for TV broadcast.
With over 20 years of experience covering the beautiful game, Jon has brought action to our screens from FA Championship and Premier League games to the UEFA Champions League and the FIFA World Cup. Jon’s talent has been recognised with a prestigious Sports Emmy® award for outstanding work on the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup for FOX, a talent that sees him regularly in demand by the world’s leading broadcasters.
Over the years, Jon has experienced a revolution in broadcasting equipment, from the early days of Betacams to today’s fast-paced digital workflows. One constant has always been his Vinten camera supports, and a revelation - Anton/Bauer V-mount batteries.
King in the North
Typically, Jon can be found in his native North-East England covering Premiership side Newcastle United for Premier League Productions capturing the match day action with specialist slow motion, high motion shots. “I cover the action when they come into my half,” says Jon, “I track the players – a lot in slow motion/hi-motion. It works better with pace, so if they are in a sprint the effect is better for viewers. I look for sprinting, close-up shots of the ball at feet or right up to their face – it’s a specialist thing to cover because of the range of motion they’re running left to right or towards you – It’s quite a tricky thing to master, involving a combination of focus and zoom and movement – that’s what I’ve done for a good number of years.”
Jon has become the go-to camera guy for league games in the region, also covering Middlesbrough in the Championship and Sunderland’s League One games with a small hybrid OB package using up to four Sony PMW-500 cameras.
Match day work also involves creating vox pop chats with fans before and after the game, which can involve plenty of legwork to have equipment set up in the right place. “As a single operator you get used to balancing yourself with a tripod, camera, kit bag full of batteries, lights, mics etc,” says Jon, “that’s your core kit then you can go in and out to the car to get occasional items such as a bigger lens”.
A Vinten flowtech100 tripod with a Vision 100 head is an essential part of Jon’s core kit. “The flowtech tripod with its handle is brilliant,” he says, “I have my flowtech system in one hand, camera in the other and backpack with all the other bits I need so I am literally ready to shoot as soon as I get through the door”.
Doing more with less
Technology advances allowing production equipment to be smaller and lighter is a relief for Jon. “When I first started you needed much more space to transport kit,” he says, “But now lights are slimmer, tripods are lighter, cameras are smaller, you can fit a lot more into a regular car than before”.
For powering Jon’s essential matchday gear, his battery of choice is the V-mount Titon range from Anton/Bauer.
Batteries are the most significant way that working has changed for us now. We don’t really plug into mains for anything these days, everything can just run of the Titon batteries for such a long time, if I am doing long interview the batteries just last, perhaps I’ll change one on a high-powered light but that would be it”.
While cameras and lighting and other production equipment have advanced to require less power, batteries have improved to deliver more power in more compact forms. Anton/Bauer’s Titon 240 weighs in at just over 1kg and will power Jon’s Sony FS7 for over 12 hours. “I know a Titon 240 battery will last me the whole game plus the pre- and post-match work I do,” says Jon, “When I’m working, the battery is not only running my camera but also my monitor the zoom servo lens and charging my phone from the USB port,” adding, “I used to have another brand of battery with a USB but you had to press a few buttons to make it come on it was not as straightforward as Anton/Bauer. Now I just simply plug in and have instant power”.
Lightweight gains to topflight games
The highlight of Jon’s career to-date was being part of the Fox Sports team sent to cover the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. “Following the whole tournament and being at the final at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow was just a dream come true,” says Jon, “Travelling throughout Russia with a small reporter team was an amazing experience.” The size of Russia meant that travelling between games was a logistical challenge. “We were flying every other day from Moscow to Kazan and the other host cities,” says Jon, “the distance between the cities meant that there was no way we could drive, so we had to keep our equipment light to fly everywhere. We just had three flight cases of gear to cover live stand-ups, features, interviews and match coverage”.
With size and weight being a critical consideration, Jon’s flowtech100 tripod system proved to be essential in Russia. “It’s so much lighter than other 100mm tripods,” he says, “but it is still rigid enough to have a good weight camera on it with no flexing, some people think they need a heavy-duty tripod to get such stable legs, but with flowtech you get that and in a small, lightweight package.”
The versatility of flowtech means that more shot can be achieved with just one tripod. “With flowtech I can use the same tripod to go from sitting down operating pitch side to standing up above a crowd of people to do a post-match interview,” he says, adding “You want to be up high to get over all the reporters but stay stable and safe even with the legs closer together. With flowtech I can do that.”