Bill Fenster chooses the Sachtler Ace M for political documentary


Last Updated: August 8, 2013 5:14 pm GMT
(Shelton, Connecticut--August 8, 2013) Documentarian Bill Fenster — based in Phoenix, Arizona — has relied on Sachtler fluid heads and tripods throughout his career. Therefore, when he first put a Sachtler Ace M to work in the summer of 2013, he was more than familiar with Sachtler’s signature operational feel that the new, small tripod system would have to live up to.

“It was quite a challenge, keeping the quality of Sachtler with the much miniaturized size,” he said. “You wouldn’t believe this thing — it has Sachtler’s immaculate movement, as all Sachtler tripods do. But this thing, you can practically put it in your back pocket.”

Fenster is currently chasing Arizona gubernatorial candidate Fred DuVal around the state for a documentary. “I’m doing it by myself. I’ve got the camera, batteries, microphones, a light and a few other things. With the Ace M set of sticks, I can just throw them over my shoulder and carry them by the strap.” Though the tripod system is less than three feet long when stowed, the two-stage legs take the camera above the crowd when the tripod is fully extended.

The Ace M’s 0 to 8.8 pound payload range easily handles the camera packages Fenster mounts on them, “even when I’ve made them a bit heavier. I’ve never had to use the full five steps of counterbalance available.”

Fenster said that a tripod is really put to the test when he’s shooting long telephoto shots or close-up detail on subjects like documents. “I used to rely on a much larger tripod system for these shots because of the stability, but the Ace M is sturdy enough for long lens shots — even in a wind.”

When shooting close-up work, like a slow pan across a document, Fenster is looking for the ability to start and stop a smooth pan without any backlash. “With the Ace, I’m able to move across the page — or whatever I’m shooting — and then when I stop and let go of the pan handle, the tripod just freezes in position.” The Ace M’s three steps (plus zero) of SA drag™ for pan and tilt allow him to dial in just the right feel for these shots.

Fenster said that the more he uses his Ace M, the more he has learned about what it can do. “I was in a big crowd the other day — at a political rally with all these people. I just collapsed the legs on the Ace and used it as a monopod. It’s light enough so that you don’t have to throw it over your shoulder, you can just pick it up an inch off the ground to move, and then plop it down. For somebody like me who’s doing mostly one-man-band stuff, it’s going to extend my career.”

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About Sachtler
Sachtler, founded in 1958 by cameraman Wendelin Sachtler, is a worldwide market leader for professional camera support systems for cinematography and television production, its name a symbol of top quality and reliability for decades. With an extensive range of camera support systems as well as a finely modulated product line of reportage lighting, Sachtler is the highly qualified partner for broadcast and film applications. Since 2000 Sachtler has been offering the artemis modular camera stabilizer system. With its numerous workshops and training sessions, the Wendelin Sachtler Academy has become a top address worldwide for invaluable know-how and the exchange of information, creating the ideal international platform for creative talents. Along with other leading brands in the broadcast and professional videographer industry, Sachtler is part of Vitec Videocom, a Vitec Group company. For more information on Sachtler, visit

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Vitec Videocom brings together some of the most respected, most innovative and most sought-after brands in the industry: Anton/Bauer, Autoscript, Litepanels, OConnor, Petrol, Sachtler, Vinten and Vinten Radamec. It acts as an endorsing brand for these market-leading broadcast, film and pro video products, encouraging multi-brand system sales and simplifying the way that customers worldwide do business.

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