Cinematographer Jeffrey M. Engel has completed shooting this season’s round of the Sony Pictures Television game show Wheel of Fortune and is deep into the current season of Jeopardy – the #1 and #2 syndicated shows on U.S. television. For each project, Engle and crew rely on Vinten support equipment.
“Game shows are very different from sitcoms,” says Engel. “A sitcom, even when done before a live audience, can take several hours to shoot. A game show, however, is shot basically in ‘real time’. We can get through five or six game shows in a 10-hour day. My operators have to be confident and be able to make smooth moves – there are no retakes.
“That’s why Vinten’s pedestals are the workhorses of the industry, and Vinten Vector heads are so important. We have four peds on the game shows – and they give my guys smooth pans and tilts and have an excellent balance. “
Engel’s confidence in Vinten isn’t confined to these two hit game shows. He’s been using the equipment for over 20 years. Each year he works on a series of major television specials, most recently The Screen Actors Guild Awards, The Academy Awards and The Emmy Awards. “For the SAG Awards we used two Vinten peds, he explains. “Studio shows like Wheel and Jeopardy usually call for four peds. And, when we go on location, we can use as many as 12 cameras, with at least four or five on Vinten peds.
“Vinten is the choice of most operators of large studio television cameras,” he adds. “Vinten products have been in use for years and years. While most shows I work on are constantly upgrading to the latest camera equipment, often times I will walk onto a set and see the same classic Vinten support that we have counted on for years–but they still work as great as the day they were introduced to the industry.”