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Sun, 03/13/2011 - 20:00 -- Nick Dager

Art & Copy a three and a half year labor of love which explores advertising and the creative revolution with some of the most influential characters who have shaped the world of advertising premiered at Sundance and has played theatres across the country. It has just been released on DVD through PBS Home Video. Doug Pray directed the film; Peter Nelson was the cinematographer. The team’s challenge was to adopt a style for the film that complemented the ads they were using in the documentary. “We wanted a style of elegant photography that would stand up next to the high-end commercials we featured and not bring them down but complement them ” says Nelson. “Because we were working in a documentary style I needed to have a tripod that was small enough to move around easily and work fast but also provide the solid support and reliability I needed.” “I bought my first Sachtler Video 18 back in 1994 and have used it since ” he says. “I never have to worry about whether I can go to a very long lens when necessary and be concerned about camera shake. With my Sachtler setup I can go to 600mm without a problem.” “For Art & Copy we moved around quite a bit; from New York to San Francisco Los Angeles Portland and even French Guiana for a satellite launch. We did everything from straightforward interviews to lots of abstract imagery to one-shot opportunities. There was not always a full camera crew at my disposal so size versus stability was a foremost thought and that is why the Video 18P works well for me.” Nelson’s most challenging shot was the rocket launch in French Guiana one of those one-shot opportunities. “I had never seen a rocket launch before and had no idea where it would go other than up ” he recalls. “Well not exactly straight up because of the curvature of the earth and the need to hit a very precise position in space but I didn’t know which way it would go.” “The two things I did know were that I would be on the telephoto end of the lens the whole launch and on a 2X extender for part of it. And I had only one shot ” he says. “This was a major element in the film so there was a lot of pressure. This is where you do not want to have to worry whether the tripod was up to the task.” “The launch went off and as the rocket went up it arced over to the right and I ended up turned around almost 180 degrees and tilting way up. Doug was watching on a monitor next to me and he screamed ‘Dude you nailed it!’ I nailed it – because I trusted my Sachtler support. Over the years camera packages have come and gone but my Sachtler has been there all along. I can always count on it.”