Spring of 1995 saw film-trained Sterling move from film to Betacam. It soon became clear a more portable system was required for his arduous treks. After testing, Sterling settled on a Panasonic MiniDV which he loved for its ability to handle highlights. He has sinced moved to the AJD-200 DVCPRO, supported with a Miller System 30. Sterling recounts his equipment challenges:
"Maybe one of the most difficult things in nature is keeping the camera in one piece and dry. I shoot a lot where I actually have the tripod stuck in rivers because I love the water flowing around the camera. I’ve literally had the water flowing up to lens level and tremendous amounts of snow and rain have fallen on the camera. The biggest challenge is just keeping this stuff operational."
Sterling’s understanding of Miller’s reliability goes way back. "I started using a Miller head back in the late 1960s during my 16mm days. When I started producing and shooting my own videos in 1995, I again turned to Miller for my camera support. Because my video work is in extreme conditions, I need camera support that was rugged, reliable and as light as possible. "I chose the Miller 30, and it has never let me down. I don’t have time to ‘baby’ any of the equipment that I use, so, because of my experience with Miller in the past, it was easy to make the decision to return to an old friend for support." “As I move into High Definition, with larger and heavier cameras, I am looking forward to using the new Miller Arrow 50 fluid head.”
Background: Sterling Johnson’s career began at KABC-TV in Los Angeles, working on programs such as ‘Rowan & Martin’s Laugh In’. Over the last few years, Sterling’s attention has been turned to video production for his own company, the Snow Creek Consort with productions including ‘Clouds of Wood and Stone, ‘The Gamble House,’ and ‘Interludes in the Kingdom of Light’. Sterling is currently in production on a series of scenic videos and DVD’s being produced in Yosemite National Park, featuring music by Douglas Spotted Eagle, and ‘Yosemite, Ascending Rhythm,’ featuring world-renown rock climber, Ron Kauk, with the music of Dik Darnell.