LOS ANGELES – Emmy award-winning director of photography Terry Stewart established Texas Crew Productions in Austin, Texas, in the early 1980s. His company has covered many major sporting events, including the Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals, and the Olympic Games. His personal favorite is the IRONMAN World Championship, a long distance triathlon that was held last month in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, and aired on NBC on Nov. 15.
This was Stewart’s 22nd straight IRONMAN World Championship. It is a grueling production day that starts at sunrise and ends at midnight. The natural light changes throughout the production – and with sunset at around 6 p.m., several hours of nighttime shooting are required. “It’s a really Texas Crew Productions challenging day because it’s long, it’s over a huge footprint,” he explained, “and you’re dealing with 2,000 athletes of various abilities. You need to be ready for anything.”
A “world feed” standalone product for international broadcast was produced with a core group of Sony PDW-F800 cameras. For the NBC broadcast, however, Texas Crew included RED EPICs, Sony F55s, Cannon EOS C300s, and an array of a dozen GoPro cameras. Texas Crew brought all the footage back to Austin, where editors created the 90-minute program.
During the event, crews often drive in front of the racers to shoot the action. This year, Stewart used one of his new Zylight F8 LED Fresnels while shooting out of the back of a convertible. The F8 can be powered by a standard 14. 4V camera battery, which was useful on the road and when Stewart was in more remote locations along the IRONMAN course. “I really wanted an LED with some punch that could run off a battery,” he said. “It’s a huge time saver.”
Beyond the race course, Stewart also used his two F8s for prerecorded interviews with Mark Allen and Dave Scott, both of whom have won the IRONMAN World Championship six times. “Where the Zylights really came in handy was when we shot our interviews and portraits ahead of race day,” he explained. “I like to shoot using a lot of natural daylight. The dimmable Zylight really helps you accomplish that.”
Available in daylight (5600K) or tungsten (3200K) versions, the F8 features an eight-inch SCHOTT glass lens, which maintains single shadow traditional Fresnel beam shaping. Its quantum dot technology provides a more refined and balanced natural light output, with an adjustable beam spread (16-70 degrees) and patented focusing system for spot and flood operations. The F8 is also water resistant (IP54) for use in challenging conditions.
“The Zylight is my key light of choice these days. I carry it with me all the time,” Stewart added. “It’s relatively light and easy to move around. It has all the features I really wanted.”
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