Portable power stations are increasingly becoming the go-to solution for off-grid video productions, where reliable access to power is essential in remote locations. Previously, film crews would have to rely on specialized (and expensive!) battery setups in order to keep camera and lighting equipment powered, which often fail to meet the high energy demands of professional gear. Portable power stations solve this problem by providing high-capacity batteries that are mobile, versatile, durable, and can be recharged anywhere using portable solar panels.
If anyone has expertly tested the limits of using portable power on remote shoots, then it is National Geographic filmmaker and Anker Ambassador, Keith Ladzinski.
Keith and fellow Anker Ambassador, Tommy Joyce, are the heads of Triage Creative, an Emmy-nominated production agency that travels the globe—often in extremely demanding environments—to capture breathtaking stories and images of unique cultures and wildlife.
Known for his inventive style of incorporating studio lighting setups with on-location nature photography, Keith's work would simply not be possible without a source of reliable power nearby. In the following Q&A, Keith shares some insight into his shooting process, and how Anker PowerHouse helps him achieve his creative vision.
A Conversation on Shooting in Remote Locations
How does the Anker PowerHouse 767 make your shooting process easier or give you greater creative freedom to capture ideas?
As a photographer and cinematographer that likes to incorporate sculpted light into my images, the PowerHouse 767 opens up a new world of on-location possibilities, especially when I add the Anker 760 Portable Power Station Expansion Battery.
It allows for much longer shoot times than a traditional V-mount setupwould give me, allowing me to run heavier setups like multiple Aputure 1200s.
What equipment do you typically have plugged in to the PowerHouse 767? And what is their total output in watts?
For heavier lighting setups, I can run around 3600W, which would be one Aputure 1200 (1440W) and three Aputure 600d’s(720W each).
Have you had difficulty in the past achieving certain shots because of a lack of reliable power?
In the past I would use gas powered generators on outdoor sets, which were generally maxing around 2800W. They were heavy, loud, smelly, and generally insufficient. As battery technology got better, I was often bringing in small to mid-size lithium packs, but these lacked the watts needed for larger lighting setups.
The PowerHouse 767, especially with the Expansion Battery, makes for a much more efficient and functional setup.
The PowerHouse 767 is designed for easy portability with its pull handle and durable wheels. How important are these features for you and your crew when you're on location shooting?
The wheels and pull handle on the Powerhouse 767 are essential. We’ve hauled it across some seriously rough terrain to get it on location in places where trails do NOT exist.
What would you say are the disadvantages of relying on a traditional gas generator for your type of work?
Relying on a gas generator has numerous limitations: They’re loud, the exhaust smells and is bad for the environment, and having to get gas on location is a pain, especially when you’re working off the grid and have to plan to have it brought in.
Using solar and a reliable battery setup, like the 767, is the only way to go.
Has mobility and travel been easier without gas generators?
What I like about Anker products is the range of options – from larger setups like the 767, to smaller battery setups like the PowerHouse 521. The range of portability and weight is ideal for a wide variety of productions.
Triage Creative is known for traveling to extreme environments and remote locations. How important is having reliable portable power with you on these expeditions – not only for powering production equipment, but also to keep essential devices like phones and laptops charged?
When you’re working in off-the grid locations, power is the absolute lynchpin to success. I’ve worked around the world in every type of environment, ranging from the arctic, high altitude mountains, jungles, deserts—you name it. Each has its own unique set of challenges, but the connected through line of any shoot and ecosystem is that you have to have power to do the job at hand.
I have yet to have a problem with Anker equipment. I’ve been very impressed with the solar equipment and power banks, like the 767 and smaller setups, in every way. From charging heavy V-mount battery setups, to powering laptops, to small satellite phone devices – Anker has always been reliable.
Power Your Off-Grid Production
For reliable power that keeps the cameras rolling on your off-grid shoot, there is an Anker PowerHouse that's perfect for any production – no matter how remote it is.