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Mike Ellem's ultimate 79 Series dual-cab Cruiser

By Redarc and Michael Ellem, 27 Nov 2019 Sponsored

Following Mike Ellem's RedVision 79 Series Land Cruiser build.

Mike Ellem 79 Series dual-cab Toyota Land Cruiser advertorial feature

OFFROAD Images have been in the photography game for over 25 years. They have provided creative to clients and the magazine industry as a preferred supplier of photography, primarily to the automotive scene and specialising in anything which has been designed to be used in the Outback.

REDARC Australia spoke to Mike Ellem, owner of Offroad Images, to get his experience on RedVision and how it’s benefited him as a photographer.

REQUIREMENTS

Michael Ellem: Whilst our demands on power are extremely high and important to every shoot that we do, we are just photographers, not electrical engineers. So, it was important that we understand what is going on in the back of our vehicle.

We used to cart around generators and we never really knew when the fuel would run out, so we were always worried about the result of a power outage.

With the various inverter systems, we have run, I must admit, I never was really confident in how much time I would get out of the systems. I would watch the Voltmeter tick down and simply pack up everything even if it wasn’t fully charged ... knowing that we might need to conserve our photography and filming the following day.

So, we need to be confident in every aspect of the equipment we use and understand how much power we have, are using and how much power we are creating. Our creativity as photographers stops without the powered systems.

THE VEHICLE

We have built a specialised vehicle to work for us as a camera truck. It’s a 79 Series Dual Cab Cruiser with a Trigpoint service body on the back. It was important to us that the service body and everything within it would be self-sufficient as everything inside the service body is a vital asset to our photography and filming.

BATTERIES

Four 60Amp lithium batteries from Revolution Batteries Australia, which is probably the most reliable battery on the market.

BATTERY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

The Manager 30 battery management system handles the charging of these batteries, including deciding where the charging power comes from. It will distribute charge from the 300 watts of solar on the roof, or from the alternator as we drive, or from a 240V outlet if I plug into power. It can also utilise a combination of these power systems to ensure charging is kept up to the efficient levels.

3000W PURE SINE WAVE INVERTER

We photograph and film remotely and depend 100 per cent on the reliability of our camera and lighting platforms. But these are only as good as the charging systems. On a daily basis, we charge camera, drone, lighting systems with huge power requirements via our Pure Sine Wave Inverter. We also run computer systems as we copy, back-up and edit data in the middle of nowhere.

ENTER REDVISION

Now, this is the part that I love. RedVision is so easy to use, but also and most importantly, so easy to understand. At a glance, I can see battery and water levels in an easy to understand graphical layout. At the touch of a button, I can analyse power coming in and power going out. This is so important as I can easily understand how long we will be able to work for, and how many camera, lighting or drone batteries we will be able to charge.

I can even look into the history of our power usage. We have various lights set up throughout the service body which are all turned on and off via the Redvision controller. Importantly, we have a Redvision controller on the left and right side of the service body, so all this information is easily accessible.

I have to admit, the system REDARC configured meet every part of our demanding power requirements, but also allows us to run a full coffee machine ensuring that the crew working with us are all happy.

After all, when you ask these people to get up at stupid hour, clean cars and move lighting gear around, the least you can do is have the ability to make an awesome coffee while they take in the location as the sun rises.

We also run a 60-litre ARB fridge and a Travel Buddy oven, plus various USB and Cig sockets, all controlled by dual RedVision monitor controllers in the back, and via the app on my iPhone in the front.

WHAT I LOVE

As explained the ease of use is really important to me, but I was also really impressed by the quick reference display of power available and at a click of a button, I have a visual and graphical display of where the power is coming from and how much power is coming in and going out of the system.

The Revolution Lithium Batteries with REDARC Manager30 and RedVision monitoring give me a longer draw of power meaning more power and most importantly, an easy to understand interface provides me peace of mind of percentage and usable hours of battery remaining. Absolutely amazing.