As the owner of media production consultancy Battalion, professional photographer and videographer, Anton Nelson often describes life between shoots as “going around in circles on a plane”, and a quick glance at his social feeds certainly confirms this.
Although Anton works primarily as a director, DOP and visual artist for action sports and motorsport brands, he also delivers projects in the corporate and government/military sectors.
We recently sat down with Anton to find out more about him, his work as a videographer and the gear he can’t live without.
The camera: Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 12k
“I’m currently shooting a lot with the Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 12K (opens in new tab); I want my work to have a consistent look and feel regardless of the industry I’m shooting in, and the URSA allows me to shoot in 12K resolution at up to 60 frames per second, or I can drop the resolution to 8K and shoot at 120 frames per second!
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I have a shot in a recent motocross edit I did with Jamie Carpenter where he slams over a jump. I shot it with a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens (opens in new tab) in 8K at 120 fps. He just whips the bike over the jump and it looks incredible. It’s a 38 megapixel frame, and there are 120 of them! I can pull up any of these frames and they have enough detail to print for a billboard. That was a big moment for me.
“The URSA allows me to capture everything I need with just one camera. I often shoot wider as it allows me to produce a 9:16 video for TikTok or Instagram Reels and still get a standard 16:9 crop for YouTube and a 1:1 square for Instagram or Facebook feed With this ultra high definition 12K Master there is no compromise on picture quality.
I tend to use a mix of lenses but usually stick with still lenses because the quality is great and they’re lighter and easier to carry than many larger video lenses.”
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8: This lens gives me a lot of flexibility when shooting all kinds of material, from motocross to 4WD racing like rallycross.
A set of Sigma Prime lenses, 14mm, 20mm, 24mm and 40mm: I started out with DSLRs and got used to manually focusing in low light environments, which is probably one of the more difficult methods to focus. I often find a spot to focus on where I know a rider or athlete will appear in the frame and get him to focus and depending on what I want I can track him from there or let him drift an organic transition to a different setting.
Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM: I love this lens; I think it’s one of the fastest/widest zoom lenses out there. The barrel is also pretty sturdy, which is important when I’m shooting in hot or cold (usually frigid) locations.
Samyang 10mm F2.8 ED AS NCS CS (opens in new tab): This is a beautiful lens that produces an insanely wide image on the URSA’s Super35mm sensor.
“I work under sometimes challenging conditions. I can lie on hard, trampled, icy ground or film in a wet or dusty, dry environment. I have a good backpack that protects everything and I will use it to try and offer some protection when changing lenses.
I always travel with a pair of earphones and also take a small set of watercolor paints with me. Taking this time off to do something else and change your thinking will help the way you approach composition. When you start a painting from a blank page, your approach to creating the image is completely different than when you start looking through a viewfinder. I don’t really want to lose that.”