Miller Sharpshooters

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Journo finds Solo support on lone journeys.


thomcookes2Thom Cookes is an award-winning journalist for “Dateline”, SBS TV Australia’s international current affairs program. Like many of Dateline’s journalists, he is often a one-man location crew – reporter, producer, camera operator and sound recordist, all rolled into one.

When Dateline recently aired the “the Billion Dollar Bungle”, about a contentious Australian helicopter purchase, Thom found himself and his Miller SOLO DV tripod at Davis Monthan Airforce Base, Tuscon Arizona, shooting stark images of the “the Bone Yard”, where the US keeps its surplus military aircraft.thomcookes1

“Over 4300 planes and choppers stored out here in the desert, from B-52’s to B1B nuclear bombers, explains Thom. “I went into the desert storage facility in Arizona to see where the Australian choppers came from. I also got aerial shots from a Bell B3 chopper, as well as also still images from the ground using the SOLO tripod amongst wrecked B-52s in storage.”

“The obvious benefit of the SOLO was that I was working alone, quickly hopping from cars to choppers, tothomcookes3 a long walk through the
salt bush, so carrying a heavy tripod was just not possible.”

From rattlers to rainforest – you’re never alone

“We are always looking for ways to cut down weight, as we have to carry all our gear ourselves,” continues Thom.   “While covering the elections in Papua New Guinea’s Southern Highlands, over the course of one day I hitched a ride on three different helicopters, rode in the back of two open trucks and a 4WD, and walked for about 10kms, all with my camera gear on my back!”

“The holy grail is to reduce everything down to one or two bags, but not sacrifice either reliability or flexibility. It’s also good to be able to set up fast, to catch events as they unfold.”thomcookes4

“Miller’s DV Solo system fits this bill exactly. It’s light, strong, reliable and very versatile. I’ve been looking for something like this for quite a while, and we’ve been extremely happy together so far!”

According to Thom, SOLO found a rightful place in both his PNG shooting and his coverage of the Helicopter story in the desert. The defense story had everything from key “talking head” interviews in offices, to flight tests of a helicopter, to observational work, - the Solo has been terrific for all these styles of shooting.”thomcookes5

“It’s the combination of having a range of leg angles to work with, and having a proper ball levelling system - which is such a life-saver when you are trying to work quickly.”

 


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PRODUCTS USED


 
(1511) DS10 Solo 75-2 (carbon fibre)

The DS10 Solo system combines the ultralight, ultra rigid carbon fibre Solo tripod with the versatile DS10 75mm ball levelling head & selectable counterbalance. With a height range from 757mm/29.8" all the way up to 1467mm/57.6" DS10 Solo 75 CF system suits 2.5-5 kg/5.5-11 lbs MiniDV and DVCAM payloads from barebones to fully stacked PD150 or Canon XL-1.


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