In Broadcast - January 2015 - 40

40

www.inbroadcast.com | Vol: 5 - Issue 1 | January 2015

InTech

Vitec Videocom Solutions
Drive Sons of Anarchy
By: Brenda McNeill

Sons of Anarchy Director of Photography Paul Maibaum, ASC

A

s the acclaimed FX series Sons of
Anarchy nears its finale, Director
of Photography Paul Maibaum, ASC,
continues to rely on solutions from
Anton/Bauer, Litepanels and OConnor
during the production's stage and
location shoots in Southern California.
Maibaum has been the show's
Director of Photography since the
second episode of the first season.
Created by Kurt Sutter, Sons of
Anarchy explores the lives of members
of an outlaw motorcycle club in
California's Central Valley. The drama
has been the highest-rated series in
the history of FX.
"Sons of Anarchy is like a modernday Western with vistas and
composition driving a look that
harkens back to the movies of John
Ford and Spaghetti Westerns,"
Maibaum says. "Only on this show the
horses are motorcycles, and the code
of the west is the code of the club."
The challenge of developing the look
for the show was to make it "natural,
not too slick," he notes. "Handheld
gives the narrative a feeling of
immediacy that's organic to the story.
There are many non-verbal, dramatic
elements that are signature shots of
the show; it's not rushed, in the sense
that we like to get the reactions of the
characters."
Maibaum is a long-time user of
OConnor fluid heads and Litepanels
LED lighting fixtures. "I cannot
remember a project that I have worked
on where there weren't at least two

OConnor heads, going back to the days
of the OConnor 100, and I have used
Litepanels' Ringlite Minis, MiniPlus and
1x1 LED panels almost since they first
came on the market," he notes.

outset of production. "It is the fluid
head of choice for every operator who
has been on the show," he reports,
citing the variable counterbalance
and drag as the fluid head's most
outstanding features.
"The OConnor head is easy to
use, and resetting the sinusoidal
counterbalance is a simple step.
It's easy to add more or less drag
and tension so the operator can
easily adjust to his or her needs," he
explains. "The show's signature shots
include large masters, high angles
and close ups. OConnor makes this
possible."
Litepanels fixtures are prominent on
the show with Ringlite Minis and the
MiniPlus - popularly called 'bricks' - as
well as 1x1s playing key roles in the
lighting package.

Camera Operator Buddy Fries uses an OConnor 2575 during a Sons of Anarchy shoot

On Sons of Anarchy, Maibaum has
a pair of ARRI ALEXA cameras as his
A cameras with one or two Sony F55
CineAlta
cameras
supplementing
the first unit or serving as a twocamera package on the second unit.
Angénieux Optimo Zoom lenses are
deployed to enable operators to
switch back and forth from handheld
to studio mode and stabilised camera
moves with minimal downtime
between modes. Maibaum notes that
approximately 60% of the show is shot
handheld.
OConnor 2575 fluid heads, the
flagship of OConnor's Ultimate range
of fluid heads, have been part of
Maibaum's camera package since the

the current 1x1s, and that's saying a lot
because they are one of my favourite
lighting fixtures," he adds.
Litepanel MiniPlus bricks are often
used for eye light. "In scenes where
lighting is sketchy, I'll tell the team
to add a 'ping' - or place a 'brick' to
brighten the eyes," says Maibaum.
"Litepanels gear is an essential
element in my bag of tricks," adds
Gaffer Tony Anderson. "The freedom
of battery-powered lighting has saved
me many times. When the DP needs
'one last thing,' the 1x1 is my go-to
instrument. I have also worked with
the ASTRA and am very impressed
with the versatility and output of this
head. It has enough output for bounce
keylights yet is light enough to rig just
about anywhere."
Anton/Bauer batteries fill many
mobile power needs for Maibaum's
crew. They use the award-winning CINE
VCLX as the main camera battery for
the ALEXAs and F55s when on dollies
or cranes. The DIONIC HC and HCX
batteries act as a power supply for
the handheld cameras and Litepanels
1x1s, and also power the wireless video
assist.
No matter how many surprises Sons
of Anarchy has had in store for fans
over its seven-season run, behind the
scenes Vitec Videocom brands have
delivered consistently unsurprising
results.
"I don't believe we would be able to
complete our day's work within the
time allotted if we did not have the
complement of Vitec equipment that
we employ on virtually every set up
on an average shooting day on Sons of
Anarchy," Maibaum concludes.

"They're
invaluable,"
Maibaum
declares. "They work alongside all
of our other lighting instruments,
whether tungsten or HMI, on stage and
on location. They're lightweight, and
the ability to run on battery power,
along with their
dimming capabilities,
makes them essential
tools in our lighting
package."
He
recently
tested
the
new
Litepanels
ASTRA
1x1 Bi-Colour panel
on the show. "This
light is a marked
Gaffer Tony Anderson adjusts a Litepanels 1X1 LED panel
improvement over


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In Broadcast - January 2015

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of In Broadcast - January 2015

In Broadcast - January 2015 - Intro
In Broadcast - January 2015 - Cover1
In Broadcast - January 2015 - Cover2
In Broadcast - January 2015 - 3
In Broadcast - January 2015 - 4
In Broadcast - January 2015 - 5
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In Broadcast - January 2015 - S1
In Broadcast - January 2015 - S2
In Broadcast - January 2015 - S3
In Broadcast - January 2015 - S4
In Broadcast - January 2015 - S5
In Broadcast - January 2015 - S6
In Broadcast - January 2015 - S7
In Broadcast - January 2015 - S8
In Broadcast - January 2015 - S9
In Broadcast - January 2015 - S10
In Broadcast - January 2015 - S11
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