Name a major U.S. sports event, and Director of Photography Chuck Samataro has probably covered it.
Starting out in the 1980s with ESPN, Chuck migrated from editor to a director of photography, breaking away in 2013 to build an independent business. In the ensuing years, Chuck has worked with the biggest names in sports broadcasting including ESPN, Fox, NBC, Turner, and PGA of America. He’s shot many NBA Finals and NCAA Final Four tournaments, dozens of Masters and U.S. Open golf tournaments, multiple Super Bowls, Major League Baseball’s World Series, as well as the Winter Olympics in Nagano.
After decades in the business, Chuck has found his sweet spot: multi-camera interviews with athletes and their families that add color and interest to sports events. In a recent example, he did two behind-the-scenes shoots for ESPN’s coverage of the Special Olympics, traveling to visit his subjects on their home turf in both Finland and England. “The types of projects I enjoy the most are not so much situations where I have to go and get a shot, but projects where I create the shot,” he says. “I really enjoy making connections with the athletes and their families.”
Chuck loves the challenge of walking into any space and creating a compelling shoot. For that, reliable power is essential.
Chuck powers his stories with Anton/Bauer Titon 90 and 150 Gold-Mount batteries. In addition to his Sony PMW-F5 camera, he also powers his Litepanels Astra LED lights, SmallHD monitor, and an EMotimo motion control unit with the batteries.
“I have a recurring nightmare that I’ll show up at a shoot and won’t have battery power. And of course, no power, no shoot,” he says. “With the Titons, I never have to worry that nightmare will become a reality. I know the batteries will get me through the shoot with plenty of power to spare.”
He adds that the Titon’s digital LCD indicator takes away the guesswork out of wondering how much longer the camera can run in its current configuration. “For instance, if I hit the rocker for the zoom, the battery automatically calculates how much power is left if I keep zooming,” he says. “When it comes to camera accessories, Ttion just makes things easier. I put the Titon on my motorized slider, and saw that I had six and a half hours of power left – well past the duration of the shoot!”
The Titon’s P-Tap and USB ports come in especially handy, and not just for charging mobile devices. “Say I’m prepping for a shoot and need to troubleshoot a piece of gear – I can just plug it into the P-Tap. Or I can fire up a recorder and start working with files,” Chuck says. “Another really cool feature is the option to use P-Tap to get power into the camera if there’s a problem with the camera-mounted contacts – all you need is an XLR cable with a P-Tap adapter.”
Chuck values his partnership with Anton/Bauer, which stretches back almost three decades. “I would never consider using any other battery. Not only does Anton/Bauer make a quality product, but the team is really responsive and great to work with.”