Adventure between two Oceans 2009


The route of this year’s Dakar Rally went through South America, subjecting participants and equipment to very extreme conditions. Bikers and quad pilots as well as teams in cars and trucks participated in this 31st rally of its kind in South America. Cameraman Len Jansen and his team DakarPress from the Netherlands were also there. They have been accompanying the Dakar Rally (formerly the “Paris to Dakar Rally”) since 2004. The DakarPress, which started out as a one-man team, has now twelve members. Eight of them are accompanying the race on location while four members manage the text, photo and video uploads in the Netherlands.
Professional equipment for professional news reports
As the team grew, the work style became more and more professional, which also increased demands on equipment. This year Jansen and his colleagues were supported by professional equipment from Sachtler. They had the SOOM HiPod system, the 18 SL CF tripod system, FSB 6 pan and tilt head, FSB CELL power supply system, and the Reporter 8LED on-camera light in their bags. We were working daily with camera support equipment from Sachtler. The reason we chose Sachtler was that panning the camera with their FSB head is especially easy, and their tripod extremely robust, says Jansen. The equipment is of extraordinary quality and reliability.
An endurance race under adverse conditions
The team of eight people: two cameramen, five photographers and one journalist, was on the road in January in two Toyota Land Cruisers. The multifaceted countryside of Argentina and Chile ranges from wide pampas (grassy plains) to deserts like the Atacama, to mountain ranges like the Andes. “Temperatures during the rally ranged from 86 to 131°F (30 to 55°C), and there was fine dust everywhere. We had to overcome big changes in altitude, and the air pressure was so low that in the mountains our air mattresses inflated themselves, reports Dirk van der Veen of DakarPress. The equipment is subjected to extremely rough conditions during the rally. All those rocks and the fine dust were the biggest threats to our cameras and tripods,” said Jansen. The Sachtler tripods are just perfect for such jobs. After two weeks of intensive use and 10,000 bumpy kilometers in the trunk, they still functioned perfectly.
Quick set up, sturdy and reliable
The fourteen stages of the nearly 6,000 mile (9,500km) desert rally between the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans made enormous demands on members of the press. When the drivers of the rally showed up, the camera operators had to quickly set up their equipment. It was also very risky to shoot directly from the race track, especially at the road bends: “The System Video 18 SB is a stable base for our cameras and we are excited about how easy and fast we were able to extend the tripod legs of the Speed Lock tripod,” explained van der Veen. “The FSB 6 fluid head allows smooth moves while shooting, and the practical Reporter 8LED creates perfect light conditions. We were especially pleased that with these tripods we were able to position the cameras high enough for our tallest team members, who are both over 6 foot six.” On January 18 the some 500 vehicles arrived back in Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires, the starting point of the rally. Back in the Netherlands, 80,000 images and an endless amount of film material were waiting to be evaluated by the team of DakarPress.

Tags: dakar rally | sachtler | iss033 | cameraman | tripod | N/A
Contributing Author N/A

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