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Tough Fun Presented by the 2019 Ford Ranger

Keeping the Cameras Rolling Off the Grid

Story by Zack Skovron

With over a dozen cameras, countless other gadgets and gizmos, and no outlets, keeping batteries charged was a serious undertaking for Tim and Colter’s production team.

Digital cameras, drones, gimbals, and the other accoutrements of modern cinematography allow photographers and videographers to capture staggering amounts of content, but there’s a hitch: Everything needs to be charged. Want to take a picture? Make sure that battery is charged. Want to offload your memory card? Better make sure your laptop and external drives are juiced up. Tim, Colter, and their team spent three weeks of the month-long trip off the grid, something which would have in the past required a fossil-fuel-powered generator to keep the cameras rolling. These days, however, solar panels have improved to the point that a kitted-out production team can get away with bringing just panels and power banks. “Everyone was able to focus on doing their jobs because access to power was a non-issue,” recalled Pat Focke, one of the team’s cinematographers.

 A glimpse inside the team's production van. Eric Parker photo.

Tim and Colter’s production team was equipped with two medium-size panels and power banks from Goal Zero, enabling them to charge their dozens of batteries simultaneously. “I’ve been on plenty of shoots where access to power is difficult,” he said. “That wasn’t the case on this trip. Everything went smoothly because we simply didn’t have to worry about charging—we could plug in to the system, go out on a mission for the day in the Ranger, and trust that everything would be fully charged when we got back.”