When cinematographer Bill Berner began to gear up for the new season of the multi-camera comedy Are We There Yet? he said it was a no brainer, that Vinten, a Vitec Group brand, would be his support of choice.
We are on a ludicrously tight schedule on our show, he explains. We have no time to deal with equipment failures, or even regular maintenance. Every piece of gear must work flawlessly all the time. On our budget, we cant afford to keep a spare ped and head around just in case. With the Quattro-L, Quattro-SL and Vector 70s its been a non-issue. In two words Vinten is quality and reliability. We just take them for granted, which actually says a lot.
Are We There Yet?, which is loosely based on the movie of the same name, poses an unusual situation for a multi-camera production. Instead of shooting one episode a week in front of a live audience, Berner and the team shoot three episodes without an audience in a four-day week. We have to move quickly but we dont give up production value to do it, he explains. With Vinten pedestals we can do on-camera moves as well as repositions easily and quietly during scenes without any fuss. Our floors are, to be kind, less than perfect, and the wheels on the Quattros are forgiving. The Quattro-SL is particularly useful on wing cameras because the smaller footprint lets us get into doorways and tight corners with ease.
Carol Wetovich, who is Berners go-to operator in one of the centre positions, gets the lions share of on-camera dolly-like moves. The Quattro-L ped and Vector 70 head help me create many camera moves that are normally reserved for a dolly set up, she explains. I dont need any assistance from a dolly grip or focus puller. The ped moves so smoothly, its a pleasure to work with.
Vinten, as a company, is terrific, adds Berner. I know they have a great support team but the equipment is built so high quality, weve never needed them, which I think is a testament to the quality and versatility of the gear!
Are We There Yet? shot at Connecticut Film Center in Stamford, is produced through Cube Vision, the production company owned by Ice Cube and Revolution Studios and distributed by Debmar-Mercury.