Carey Weatheford Sony F900R“I can’t thank Band Pro enough for bringing our camera package together at the last minute, during their busiest time of the year.”
Carey Weatherford, Director of Photography

Just 11 days before leaving for an extended shoot in China for our feature-length documentary “Deep Green”, and the day before the 2008 NAB convention opened, we decided to buy a Sony F900R camera package. I thought we'd picked the worst day in the whole year to do this and there wouldn’t be any salespeople available.But Band Pro’s sales team put it together for me, while still manning Band Pro’s NAB booth, to bring the package together in time for the shoot.

During my long career with CBS News, I’ve had a lot of experience with Band Pro. They have this reputation of, “wherever you are, whatever circumstances you require.” The guys went out with their television cameras doing news, and if something happened, in a day and a half Band Pro would send a loaner until they could either repair or replace the camera.

It was an easy decision to use the Sony F900R for “Deep Green”. We wanted the highest quality we could get. This camera is the descendent of the camera that George Lucas shot “Star Wars” Episodes II and III on. It is a stunning piece of equipment.

Having shot with an ENG camera over all those years, I particularly appreciated that the F900R’s digital cinematography technology was packaged in the familiar ENG form-factor. The camera looks exactly like a DigiBetacam camera that a news cameraman carries, and the switches are in the same position.

The F900R gave us the portability our small crew needed to shoot run-and-gun style as we moved throughout China. It is extremely easy to handle when it’s not on a tripod. You can fly it around, put it on your lap, stick your nose out the door of a helicopter—you can do all kinds of things with it.

We opted for the Sony HDVFC35W viewfinder with our F900R, and I’ve found its image quality astonishing. It is a superb color finder, and it has a removable eye tube that allows me to fold out the TFT paddle monitor and view it directly.

We chose Fujinon 13X4.5 and 18x7.6 HD lenses, and a Chrosziel mattebox, keeping in mind quality and low weight as we would be trekking into some rugged terrain. We purchased four IDX E10S battery packs for their ample power rating, and a couple of lighter-weight IDX E7S packs for situations where we had to be extremely mobile.

I've also long been a fan of Sachtler camera support equipment. I knew the safe choice would have been the Video 20 Plus combination with ample excess capacity, but I wanted to keep the weight down, so we bought a Sachtler Video 12 SB system. And even with the camera, the big Fujinon HD lens, matte box and large batteries, the smaller head and legs worked just fine.

I can’t thank Band Pro enough for bringing our camera package together at the last minute, during their busiest time of the year.

“Deep Green”, due to premiere in the spring of 2009 picks up where Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth left off, exploring people, governments, companies and organizations working to create a sustainable world.

Carey Weatherford shot television news from 16mm film through the days of electronic newsgathering, including CBS News in New York. He now lives in Oregon and is finishing cinematography on the “Deep Green” project.