Since their first day of production back in 2001, crew members of the hit reality television series “The Amazing Race” have counted on Anton/Bauer® products to power them through even the toughest geographic and weather conditions.
Flash forward to the present, as the show concluded its 20th season, and Anton/Bauer, a brand of The Vitec Group and a premier global provider of batteries, chargers, lighting and other mobile power systems for the professional broadcast, video and film industries, still helps the crew capture each and every adventure-no matter where the show takes them in the world.
The eight-time Emmy Award-winning reality series pits 11 teams, each comprising two members, against each other on a trek around the world for approximately 25 days. At each destination, the teams compete in a series of challenges, some mental and some physical, only learning of their next location when the tasks are completed. The first team to arrive at the final destination wins $1 million.
“The Amazing Race is essentially a constantly moving, live-to-tape game show with no rehearsals or retakes,” explains Jim Ursulak, audio supervisor for the show. “With all the moving parts, there is great potential for things to go horribly wrong very quickly, so we equip ourselves with the most reliable television production equipment available.”
The show’s audio supervisor for 15 of its 20 seasons, Ursulak’s responsibilities include prepping all the camera and sound equipment the program takes on the road, including Anton/Bauer batteries, chargers and on-camera lighting products. Although crew members have tried other on-camera lights in the past, according to Ursulak, the Ultralight 2 (UL2) is the best fit. “Its simple design, rugged construction and dependable operation regardless of weather conditions makes it a winner with us,” he says. The Ultralight System provides creative options and flexibility to achieve the perfect light for any shot quickly and seamlessly. Featuring the integral PowerTap cable, which plugs directly into the PowerTap receptacle on all Gold Mounts®, the Ultralight System shares power with the camera from a single battery. The compact, lightweight UL2 base is the foundation of this quick-change system which provides head modules for tungsten (Ultralight 2), HMI (UltraDAYlight) and LED (ULHM-LED) lighting options.
When it comes to battery power, The Amazing Race uses the Anton/Bauer HyTRON 140 and DIONIC® 90 to ensure all Sony cameras have enough power to capture in real time every exciting moment the contestants encounter. The HyTRON 140 is a high-power NiMH battery system suited to the power demands of today’s high-definition equipment and on-camera lighting systems. In lower power applications, it can provide power for many hours without limits or travel restrictions. The HyTRON 140 also offers an excellent counterbalance to offset the weight of a lens. “We are limited to the number of batteries we take with us on the road by the weight each two-person camera crew can carry on their back. One third of the 100 pounds shared by each 2 person camera crew (the camera and sound person) is related to powering the camera. By careful battery management, and when possible, support from production, the crew is able to arrive at each pit stop with their contestants’ stories captured on tape/disc,” says Ursulak.
The DIONIC 90 was designed by Anton/Bauer to deliver consistently reliable performance even in the most challenging shooting environments on Earth. It offers a RealTime® display that continually updates the operator on how much run time remains and on the state of the current charge. Weighing only 1.7 pounds, the DIONIC 90 can be transported without restriction under the IATA and DOT safety regulations (http://www.antonbauer.com/Support/TransportationInformation). The 91-WH battery can handle a maximum load of six amps, and offers run-times ranging from six hours at 15 watts to 1.75 hours at 50 watts.
To ensure all batteries are ready for superior performance, no matter where filming takes the crew, Anton/Bauer’s T2, Dual 2722, and QUAD 2702 chargers have always performed very well for the team. “Our latest find, however, introduced to us by Anton/Bauer’s [Vice President of Sales, The Americas] Paul Dudeck, is the Tandem 70,” says Ursulak. “Its compact size, quick charging rate, reliability and silent operation has made it our camera crew’s favorite charger. They can be packed away in different backpacks and accessed easily when needed, including when we need to charge them on the go on trains and even on some planes. Because of their reliability, convenient portability and silent operation, I cannot imagine us doing another season without them.”
Whether the production team is prepping in the United States or halfway around the world, Ursulak says that Anton/Bauer’s Customer Support team is always with them to provide custom solutions. “The Amazing Race uses Anton/Bauer products because it requires proven dependability and worldwide acceptance of the television production equipment it uses as it moves around the world. Also, Anton/Bauer has clearly demonstrated to us their genuine interest and high level of commitment to the needs of their equipment users.”
Anton/Bauer is recognized as the world’s innovator and premier provider of batteries, chargers, lighting and other key mobile power systems for the professional broadcast, video and film industries. Based in the United States in Shelton, CT with offices in Europe and Asia, Anton/Bauer was established in 1970 and has expanded its product offerings to include many signature lines such as its leading Gold Mount® system, InterActive® chargers and Logic Series® batteries such as the HyTRON® 50, 100 and 140, and DIONIC® 90, 160, HC and HCX. Their products are compatible with virtually every camera brand on the market today. Other Anton/Bauer high performance products include the Ultralight®, ElipZ®, ElightZ®, CINE VCLX and CINE VCLX/2. Their superior-quality products have become an industry standard. For more information on Anton/Bauer, visit http://www.antonbauer.com.