Global Media Network captures life in Nairobi on the FS-5 recorder. Digital Studio reports.
Australian production and event management company Global Media Network, which stocks its production kit in Dubai, recently invested in six FS-5 portable DTE recorders to capture content for a documentary shoot in Nairobi.
"Our production kit is in storage here because Dubai is a hub from where we can ship equipment very quickly to any part of the world," says Ronnie Ravindran, director of Middle East & Pacific Group, GMN's partner in Dubai.
The company's crew travel from all over the world to produce human-interest documentaries and other productions for clients.
"We cover many special-interest stories in Africa especially on the ghettos, slum dwellers, bush babies and so on. On a much larger scale, we also put production facilities together and ship equipment for shoots," explains Ravindran.
One of the biggest challenges the company's crew faces on location is the fear of running short of tapes and the time consumed in capturing and transferring content.
"Running short of tape has always been our biggest nightmare on location especially when we work in areas where such things are not easily available. Since we are doing documentaries, we need to keep our cameras running all the time. In such cases, tape is a problem. Otherwise, you need to have an editor who can check each of the tapes and download what you want. This again is time consuming. This is one of the reasons we went with the FS-5," explains Ravindran.
"For one, it reduces capturing time. Secondly, it is light weight and we can just keep downloading the material onto the laptop. With this, you are doing everything at one-third the time it took before so you get the chance to do your rough cuts as well on location. Also, they are light, portable and easy to carry," he adds.
GMN's first shoot with the FS-5 was in Nairobi for a private client that handles charities to support HIV-infected people as well as those with disabilities, and war and landmine victims in Africa.
The documentary took the crew to several places in Africa including areas with no electricity, high incidence of HIV and no drinking water. "What this means is that we often go to areas, where we do not always have access to power or some of the things that are crucial for a shoot and for the crew.
Still, this shoot went very well and one of the prime reasons for this was because we could do data capture at one-third of the time we normally take," he adds.
Although Ravindran admits the FS-5 has some limitations, he believes that the pros far outweigh the cons. "The capacity of the FS-5 is good. We were capturing in AVI-2 so we got five hours without any problem and it can easily go up to 8 hours.
However, its battery life is only about 40 minutes and this is a big disadvantage if we have to keep the camera running for a long time.
We would like to see them release a version with much more battery power on it that will potentially enable us to do HD shoots at some point," he explains.