Emmy Award-Winning Cinematographer Sean Conaty Selects Anton/Bauer Batteries to Help Fuel Narrative Work
Beginning with his days as a Master’s student of cinematography at the University of Southern California, Emmy® Award-winning cinematographer of narrative and documentary features, commercials and music videos Sean Conaty has powered countless creative projects with Anton/Bauer® batteries and accessories. Thanks to the rugged build and reliability behind the company’s power solutions, Conaty can count on uninterrupted power no matter where his productions take him on-location—from the dry heat of the desert for the short film Jack and the Dustbowl to the rainy high school football field in rural Ohio for the feature film Underdogs.
With a run-time of just under 20 minutes, Jack and the Dustbowl is the story of Jack Spriggs, an impoverished dust bowl farmer in 1930s Alabama. Despite the record heat waves and damage from over-farming that turned much of the fertile soil in America’s farming communities into dust during the Great Depression, Spriggs vows to keep his family’s land, and goes to extraordinary measures to do so. The film, directed by Brandon McCormick, was shot in four days with an ARRI ALEXA camera, in a location about two hours north of Atlanta, Georgia. Conaty, along with 1st AC Joe Trimmer, used DIONIC® HC batteries, attached to the company’s QR-Gold Mount kit, to also power a wireless follow focus system used during the shoot.
“For most of this shoot, we powered the ALEXA and wireless follow focus system with Anton/Bauer batteries,” says Trimmer. “When we had to drive off set to get B-roll and establishing shots of the farm, the Anton/Bauer batteries were our best friends. They also held up really well in the chilly mornings and hot afternoons, even with all the dust blowing on set. I think we ended up using three out of the four batteries each day. We couldn’t be happier with them.”
Part of the company’s Logic Series® batteries, the 91Wh DIONIC HC is suitable for powering high-current applications in a lightweight package. Transported as carry-on luggage without restrictions, the DIONIC HC is the perfect lightweight battery for shooting on location. Working closely with cell manufacturers, the HC series incorporates high-capacity cells offering 10 amps. To continually ensure cell protection and performance integrity, a special honeycomb cell pack design protects the cells. An enhanced RealTime® display indicates both fuel gauge and remaining run-time data simultaneously, without requiring any setup. The display incorporates readouts of hours, minutes and remaining capacity, making battery change decisions quick and easy. Its motion-detection feature incorporates a sleep-mode setting that reduces battery self-discharge, allowing for extended periods of storage with minimal capacity loss. The battery can be “awakened” by the built-in motion sensor. These patented features offer confidence for the camera operator.
For the feature film Underdogs, the production team went on-location to shoot in rural North Canton, OH. Written by David Latham, Underdogs is the story of a small-town high school football team destined to play their cross-town rival, a perennial powerhouse, while standing up for an entire community. “For this particular project, we really had to prepare for the elements like unpredictable rain showers and the changing temperatures—whether we were filming in the daytime or at night, inside a factory or outside on the football field,” says Brian Udoff, Conaty’s A Cam 1st AC for the film Underdogs. “When making preparations for the film and selecting our gear, we were especially vigilant and had to plan around that in regards to selecting equipment and shooting. The Anton/Bauer CINE VCLX battery, provided by The Camera Department in Cincinnati, was long-lasting and rugged.”
The reliability came into play as the film expanded from a one-camera shoot, to two-cameras. Most of the football scenes were filmed at night, so the team had to ensure they were able to get as much shooting done as possible in that time. Many times the second crew would be filming on the other side of the town, so with the CINE VCLXs in tow, the team didn’t have to worry about having enough power to get through the day.
Recently awarded the Scientific and Engineering Award (Academy Plaque) from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (A.M.P.A.S®), the CINE VCLX system provides superior run-time and service life for the power demands of today’s cinema production and lighting equipment. All the safety and high power draw performance of Nickel Metal Hydride cell chemistry technology is available in a power package specifically designed for the integration of 24V film and 14V video equipment. CINE VCLX batteries are powerful enough to run for extended periods of time with many cameras predominantly used in the world of film and digital cinematography. The RealTime LCD that accurately displays remaining run-time and a visual LED warning indicator when 15 minutes of run-time remain.
“The best thing about using Anton/Bauer products is that I never have to worry,” concludes Conaty. “Unlike other camera gear, I’ve never had a single issue.” Conaty, whose narrative work has been shown at the Sundance, Cannes and Berlin film festivals, was nominated for a Student Academy Award® by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences® for his experimental short, Breathe. He has also used Anton/Bauer batteries and accessories on his music video and commercial projects. Among the artists he has shot music videos for include The Killers, Miles Fisher and Ben Harper. His commercial clients include Sony, Microsoft and Motorola.
Jack and the Dustbowl had its premiere in Atlanta, and is currently out for submission to various prominent film festivals. Underdogs was screened at the Cleveland International Film Festival earlier this month.