SOC.ORG Â· FALL 2019
VOL. 28, NO.4
SOCIETY OF CAMERA OPERATORS . FALL 2019
HARRIET GEMINI MAN FORD v FERRARI
4 LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT 6 NEWS & NOTES
SOC New York Member Event and Other Events Around the Industry
8 ESTABLISHING SHOT "From Still Shots to Storytelling" Jody Miller, SOC
32 SMOOTH OPERATOR
"Contemplating Risk in a Cynical World" Geoffrey Haley, SOC
20 DOUBLE FEATURE "Reflections on Harriet and Gemini Man" with Daniele Massaccesi, SOC an interview by Kate McCallum
28 FORD v FERRARI "Full Throttle Operating" with David Luckenbach, SOC an interview by Derek Stettler
"How’d You Get That Shot?: Homecoming" Will Arnot, SOC
38 HISTORY IN THE MAKING
ON THE COVER: Geoffrey Haley, SOC on the set of Warner Bros. Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures and BRON Creative’s JOKER, a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo by Niko Tavernise
"The First Lifetime Achievement Awards" Michael Frediani, SOC
40 INSIGHT Meet the Members
28 CAMERA OPERATOR · FALL 2019
41 SOC ROSTER 44 SOCIAL SOC
Society of Camera Operators Dave Thompson, Dan Turrett, Rob Vuona Charities Brian Taylor Membership Drive Lisa Stacilauskas Historical Mike Frediani Membership Dan Gold, Dan Turrett Technical Standards Eric Fletcher Education David Sammons
Board of Governors President George Billinger 1st Vice President Mitch Dubin 2nd Vice President Dan Turrett Secretary Lisa Stacilauskas Treasurer Bill McClelland Sergeant-at-Arms Dan Gold
STAFF AND CONSULTANTS
Membership Services & Operations Coordinator John Bosson Bookkeeper Angela Delgado Calligrapher Carrie Imai Business Consultant Kristin Petrovich and Createasphere
Colin Anderson David Emmerichs Eric Fletcher Michael Frediani Geoffrey Haley Matthew Moriarty David Sammons Dave Thompson Gretchen Warthen
Quantrell Colbert Nicholas Goode, SMPSP Mark Little Jessica Miglio Merrick Morton Peter Mountain Tavernise Niko Ben Rothstein Carter Smith Niko Tavernese Glen Wilson
Publishing Consultant Kristin Petrovich Managing Editor Kate McCallum Layout & Production Stephanie Cameron Advertising Jeff Victor
Awards George Billinger, Mitch Dubin, Dan Gold, Geoff Haley, Bill McClelland, John “Buzz” Moyer, Dale Myrand, Benjamin Spek,
Will Arnot, SOC George Billinger, SOC Michael Frediani, SOC David Luckenbach, SOC Daniele Massaccesi, SOC Kate McCallum Jody Miller, SOC Jeff Muhlstock, SOC James B. Reid, SOC Mark Schmidt, SOC Derek Stettler Ian S. Takahashi, SOC
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Learn more at www.blackmagicdesign.com CAMERA OPERATOR · FALL 2019
Letter from the President Dear SOC Members and Camera Operator Readers: It’s my hope that each of you enjoyed a productive and fulfilling summer. It’s certainly been a busy season for production. As we enter the Fall, we look forward to the 2020 Awards Season with great anticipation. 2019 has been a year that the SOC has been proudly marking its 40th Anniversary. The Board of Governors continues its dedication to ensure another 40 years of celebrating and strengthening the time-honored craft of the camera operator. The SOC is excited to once again present our Lifetime Achievement Awards at the Loews Hotel Hollywood on Saturday January 18, 2020. We are expecting to have a sell-out show so if you are interested in purchasing seats, please find information at socawards.com. The Lifetime Achievement Awards are one of the cornerstones of the Society. I’d like to thank Michael Frediani, SOC, our Society Historian, who’s been contributing articles that acknowledge our 40th anniversary year, and in this issue he’s written an article that features the history of the SOC Awards. The SOC Awards provide a platform to pay tribute to our industry’s best and brightest in their respective fields. It’s a time for us to honor those who have achieved a lifetime of dedication and commitment to the artistry and craft that defines the Camera Department. We also honor those who have exhibited exceptional mastery of their operating and technical skills in film and television—and we acknowledge those companies who are creating the ever-advancing technologies that enable us to create these indelible pieces of work. It is always with honor, gratitude and excitement that we are able to present these Awards. I hope to see many of you at our upcoming SOC Lifetime Achievement Awards in January! Sincerely,
George Billinger, SOC Society of Camera Operators, President
SOCIETY OF CAMERA OPERATORS · SOC.ORG
CAMERA OPERATOR Â· FALL 2019
News & Notes
SOC NEW YORK MEMBER EVENT The Society of Camera Operators held an event on Sunday, September 8, hosted by ARRI Haus located in Brooklyn, New York. A special thank you to Mitch Dubin, SOC and John “Buzz” Moyer, SOC who discussed their experiences working on the New York production of West Side Story. The SOC is seeking more members who are based on the East Coast to create a truly national society which will better represent the craft of the camera operator. Please invite your colleagues in New York and on the East Coast to become members.
UNDERWATER OPERATING WORKSHOPS The SOC partnered with Hydroflex and hosted two successful 3-day extensive workshops. The first one took place September 27–29, and the second, October 4–6. The workshops were designed to fit all levels of proficiency. We'll be featuring a recap and photos of the workshops in the upcoming winter issue.
SOC TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD DEMO DAYS On October 26, the SOC will host a Demo Day to showcase the tech submitted to be considered for the 2020 SOC Technical Achievement Award. It will take place from 9:00-3:00pm at the SOC headquarters located at Tiffin in Burbank. All members are welcome to attend.
SOC 2020 AWARDS SHOW Just a reminder that the 2020 SOC Lifetime Achievement Awards Show will take place on Saturday, January 18, 2020 at the Loew’s Hollywood Hotel. Tickets are still available at socawards.com
L-R Ryan Dwork. ARRI Rental, Mitch Dubin, SOC, Lewis Rothenberg, Local 600, John “Buzz” Moyer, SOC, Cecilia Chien, ARRI Rental, & Lynn “Gus” Gustafson, ARRI Rental.
OCTOBER • •
October 26 Technical Achievement Award Demo Day October 27 General Breakfast Meeting at Sigma Burbank
NOVEMBER • 6
December 15 December BOG Meeting
JANUARY • •
Calendar MORE EVENTS Please log onto SOC.org to see all upcoming happenings.
January 17 Lifetime Achievement Awards VIP Party January 18 Lifetime Achievement Awards
November 24 November BOG Meeting
SOCIETY OF CAMERA OPERATORS · SOC.ORG
ATTENTION AMPAS AND GUILD MEMBERS IN NEW YORK AND LOS ANGELES:
Your membership card and picture ID will admit you and a guest to any performance as follows (subject to seating availability): AMC will admit: AMPAS, ACE, ADG, ASC, BAFTA, CAS, DGA, HFPA, MPEG, MPSE, PGA, SAG Awards Nom Comm and WGA (Mon-Thurs only). CINEMARK will admit: AMPAS, DGA, PGA, SAG Awards Nom Comm and WGA (Mon-Thurs only). LANDMARK will admit: AMPAS, DGA, PGA, WGA and SAG Awards Nom Comm (Mon-Thurs, excluding holidays). PACIFIC/ARCLIGHT will admit: AMPAS, ACE, ADG, BAFTA, CAS, DGA, HFPA, MPEG, MPSE, PGA, SAG Awards Nom Comm and WGA (Mon-Thurs only). REGAL will admit: AMPAS, DGA, PGA, WGA and SAG Awards Nom Comm (Mon-Thurs only). Starting October 1st.
Establishing Shot From Still Shots to Storytelling
by Jody Miller, SOC
Photos by Quantrell Colbert
Every path into what we all get to do for a living in this industry is unique. The stories I’ve heard through the years have mostly all been worth writing about, but that’s for another article. I grew up in Nevada around Reno, Lake Tahoe, and outlying communities where we could keep our horses. My exposure to art and design was limited, and like many of my friends, I was working toward what many considered to be a good career. I had been in college four years with an interest in going on to medical school. I’d been shooting still print work but with no professional direction. I loved picking the camera up, and with limited lighting skills, I’d spend hours shooting black and white—photos I’d print and hang on walls around my home. It was just a hobby, and at that time I thought I knew where school was taking me, but I was about to be blindsided. A film production came to a small, neighboring mountain town a few hours away. This would be an event that would change my life profoundly. A close friend and I went to the set to learn that we could actually be a part of this thing as we got a few days on the film as extras. We spent each day in what, for us, was a world so unlike anything we had known. The storytelling was sinking its hooks into a side of me I had not explored as I watched while these amazing cameras would record the story being played out from each angle.
By the time that week ended, there was a change in me that would lead to a move to California with little savings, and not a lot of resources. I was young, and full of confidence that I would find a way to make the films that I loved going to see. I was pretty sure it wouldn’t take too long to be shooting them. Hmmm…the blissful ignorance of youth—both such a blessing and a curse. I was barely paying my new California rent. A good year of that somehow felt like an eternity, back when I hadn’t lived all that long, and I was not as sure anymore where or how I would get started. Again, an unexpected turn was soon to come… Since my arrival in Los Angeles, I was spending time with new friends. One fiend—Jason Largo, invited me to work for a production company that had made all of the best commercials I’d seen for years. “PYTKA,” I asked, “Is that a name?” Anyone who knew Joe Pytka back in the day knows this was no ordinary entry into our business. It didn’t take but a day for me to think I had really found the wild, wild West. I started as a production assistant and soon was loading film, and became a second assistant. We made all of the greatest commercials: Nike (Michael Jordan), Pepsi (Ray Charles), Levi and Apple (Macintosh). We would make so many Super Bowl spots each year that for the three months prior to game day, we might only have gotten around three days off, and would be so exhausted we'd be slurring our
SOCIETY OF CAMERA OPERATORS · SOC.ORG
Sandra Valde-Hansen’s Streak of Brilliance “I’m a firm believer in using in-camera effects rather than in post. That’s because I use filters to create an emotional change or transition in what a character feels. When you add a filter effect in post it feels forced — like an afterthought. But in front of the camera, it absolutely feels organic, part of the scene. And with a front of the lens filter, the visual story remains all the way through production and into post. No one can take that away.” Cinematographer Sandra Valde-Hansen has worked on dozens of features and series including White Bird in a Blizzard and Now Apocalypse. She is also an AFI instructor and currently in pre-production on a Showtime® series.
The Schneider-Kreuznach True-Streak® effects filters include Confetti, Rainbow, 6-Point Star and colored streaks in blue, green, red, gold and many more in popular professional sizes.
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speech from sleep deprivation. To this day, those young relationships made there, I expect to be for a lifetime. Somewhere in this sort of Pytka Film Bootcamp, Joe directed his second feature, Space Jam. Again, another exposure that would cause great shift in my life. Commercials had been exciting, but for me there was no comparison. The process of first reading the story, followed by so much work to complete it—scene by scene, shot by shot. This sucked me straight back into wanting so badly to use the cameras I had been assisting on. I wanted to be the one shooting the story and had to find a way. I could see that there existed one tool, I could not do without the benefit of as an operator—I would have to master the Steadicam. I’ve never been much of a geek for the equipment but rather much more about shots made possible. I wanted to develop skills with all of the tools to tell stories, but the Steadicam was simply a vehicle for me to open doors of opportunity I’d be fighting to even budge without one. There is one man here that I need to shine a light on. I didn’t own a home yet, so no equity there, and I am not the kind to piece some equipment together, one outdated component at a time. Bud Schindler was a wonderful, sincere man who was Joe’s key grip for years. He saw my interest in operating and in Steadicam and said to me, “One day, when the time comes, you’ll find it’s not easy to get a business loan kid, I’ll help you.” Well, after seven years with Pytka, I felt like I could handle just about anyone and anything. As an assistant, my enthusiasm came from the travel, doing something that was completely out of the box as careers go, and the pursuit of the someday…when I’d be shooting the stories myself. After assisting on a few more films, the time did come and that great man, Bud, insisted on handing me $70,000 on a very fair, five-year term—enough to get started. I headed straight down to GPI to place my order for the best stuff money could buy. I’ll never forget my dear friend Buddy, rest his soul. He left this earth early, and he remains a genuine, selfless example for me forever. Next, I spent a year recording other operator’s great shots from features and shows like ER on VHS. I’d watch them over and over, gaining anything I could from them. I lived on one of those great, deep lots in Sherman Oaks with room to re-enact those same shots for hours at a time. This was long before marriage and children, so yes, I had that time to obsess. I didn’t want to make a bad name for myself by being just so-so. I needed to make my mistakes outside of the mainstream I had been assisting in, so I made flyers and placed them up in the halls of AFI. Soon I had film students all clambering to have free Steadicam as part of the making of their shorts, music videos, and theses. Sometimes they would offer me a couple 100 dollars, and I would ask that they spend it on coffee or food for the crew. I made my first reel solely from AFI content and now wish I could find an old copy. I continued as assistant camera on a few more films during that time, but eventually I kindly started turning those jobs down with, “I’m operating now.” When questions came like, ‘How’s that going for you?’
I’d say that it was really going well, and when asked what I had been working on I’d give the names of the shorts. Though the names were not familiar, no one connected them with AFI projects. I tried not to sound broke over the phone and just hoped the plan would work. Who wants an operator who is really an assistant? I felt I had to make a choice. That all seems like a dream at this point so many years ago. I’ve done so many films, and have had such an enchanted time working with so many truly wonderful people on so many projects. So many I’d like to mention, but that would inevitably leave out someone I truly care about. Every turn produced significant changes. Sometimes life-changing. I’ve spent months at a time in Paris, Prague, Brazil, Russia, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Spain, Mexico, Canada, Italy, Vienna...I’m forgetting some here. And—I’ve shot in almost every state in this great country, and not just for a couple of weeks but long enough to get a feel for how people live in each area. In this life of vast choices, I say, “Do what you love.” It’s that simple. “Do what you can’t not do.” We all work enough hours that when challenged, having this inner energy, for me, is vital. And love the people around you because, in the end, it shouldn’t be only about the great films you made. If you feel you’ve made these bonds with your great fellow filmmakers, the making of the films will have become the better memories.
JODY MILLER, SOC Jody Miller, SOC was nominated for the 2019 SOC Camera Operator of the Year - Feature Film Award for his work on Beautiful Boy. Jody started his career working in commercials loading film and assisting camera. He then branched out as a camera assistant and began operating in both feature and episodic television. His credits include productions such as; The Expendables, Escape Plan, Joy, Beautiful Boy, Patriot, and Snowfall to name a few. Photo courtesy of Jody Miller
SOCIETY OF CAMERA OPERATORS · SOC.ORG
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CAMERA OPERATOR · FALL 2019
Contemplating Risk in a Cynical World with Geoffrey Haley, SOC
JOAQUIN PHOENIX as Arthur Fleck in Warner Bros. Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures and BRON Creative’s tragedy JOKER, a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo by Niko Tavernise
SOCIETY OF CAMERA OPERATORS · SOC.ORG
Joker is a 2019 American psychological thriller film directed by Todd Phillips, who co-wrote the screenplay with Scott Silver. The film, based on DC Comics characters, stars Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker. The film, which acts as an origin story for the Joker, is set in 1981 and follows Arthur Fleck, a failed stand-up comedian who turns to a life of crime and chaos in Gotham City. There’s no denying it—folks these days are pretty risk averse—socially, emotionally… professionally. We generally want the sure thing, the safe bet—and why not? The great part about following the herd mentality is that you feel like a rock star when you’re right, without being ostracized by the herd when you’re wrong. You know what they say, “Bet not, fret not.” Okay, maybe they don’t say that. I just made that phrase up. But admit it, for a second there, you thought that maybe people DO say that, which is really my point. True risk takers are few and far between. That’s why it’s an absolute miracle that Todd Phillips’ Joker ever came into being. Wait a minute, back up! “What risk?” Where’s the risk in a movie starring America’s favorite comic book villain, you ask? Well, how about the risk Warner Bros. and DC took in fielding a pitch from Todd Phillips to turn a Joker origin story into Taxi Driver meets Serpico, and then saying to him, “Okay, go ahead and shoot that movie, guy who brought us hard-hitting gritty dramas like Old School and The Hangover trilogy.” That’s Warner Bros. playing Russian roulette with one of its most closely held intellectual properties. That’s a gutsy studio play. And what about Todd Phillips? He re-invented the modern buddy comedy and singlehandedly turned the likes of Will Ferrell, Zack Galifianakis, and Bradley Cooper into overnight stars. Why did he take on Joker? What does Todd have to gain by diving headlong into a fan-crazed, emotionally charged genre he’s never dipped a toe into? Even Larry Sher, Joker’s cinematographer, took a risk with ultra-moody, minimalistic
CAMERA OPERATOR · FALL 2019
lighting that was simultaneously dramatic, but somehow pliable enough to allow Joaquin (and the camera) complete freedom to move wherever whimsy took each moment. In my experience, DP’s handle the challenge of lighting for 360 degrees in one of three ways: 1) drench the set with soft top light so that every angle looks equally inoffensive and flat, 2) turn your dimmer board operator into a spring break DJ with constant back and fill fade up’s and down’s, 3) maintain contrast with practical and single source lighting. But that approach requires imagination, tremendous tradecraft, and faith in allowing your actors to interact with darkness and shadows. It also means giving the audience enough credit to know they don’t always need to see every face perfectly lit. Larry’s use of this third method was awe-inspiring, verging at times on the sublime. But it was also risky—his assured embrace of darkness and shadow drew some nervous concern from Todd on more than one occasion. But Larry never retreated from his position, and to Todd’s credit, in the end, he always trusted his DP. That said, I certainly faced my share of struggles with low light levels. At times I felt like I needed Silence of the Lambs-style night vision goggles just to keep from tripping over my own camera. It was no picnic for Greg Irwin (our A 1st) either, though you’d never know it. He’s a focus machine—and he never complains. I don’t know how you teach what he does. I honestly think it’s just a gift, and I was extremely lucky to have him at my side. This film was a risky proposition for a lot of folks on various levels—and as the A camera operator, I was taking my own share of risks too. Allow me to explain:
A BRAVE NEW WORLD A brief glance at my CV will betray that I’m no stranger to big budget action / adventure, comic book, and franchise films. I’ve shot more car crashes, space adventures, and superhero battles than I frankly care to remember. It’s fair to say that when I got the call to join Todd and Larry last September, I was really looking forward to the change of scenery. You see, even though Joker could technically still be considered a “comic book movie,” it was fundamentally different in some crucial ways. There would be no bluescreens, wire rigs, motion capture, pre-vis, pithy one-liners, or grown men parading around in latex unitards. We’d be shooting primarily on location, with real people behaving in REAL ways—in and around New York city, which was dressed up to portray Gotham at the height of the worst garbage strike in the city’s history. The first thing that struck me about Joker was the script, which I read a month before principle photography. It’s fair to say that my initial reaction was…nervousness. The world (including its protagonist) read cold, relentless, a bit detached. But that’s the funny thing about scripts, no matter how well crafted—to the unanointed, they can seem didactic, more like blueprints or road maps. It’s like seeing the Mona Lisa translated into binary code—an endless series of ones and zeroes on a page. But then the computer renders the code back into its graphic representation and we experience the emotional impact of the artwork. So it is with some scripts. They can seem feckless, springing to life only when an actor decodes the words into an expression of humanity. The prob-
Geoffrey Haley, SOC on the set of JOKER. Photo by Niko Tavernise
lem is, in the hands of the wrong actor or misguided direction, projects like these can easily be driven off a cliff. Now, I’ve done four movies with Todd Phillips. He’s one of the most intelligent, nuanced, and aesthetically mature writer / directors I’ve worked with, so I came to the project with tremendous faith, but I was also keenly aware, given audiences’ lofty expectations, and a completely original approach to a well-loved franchise, that the waters ahead might be treacherous. A bit uneasy about what to expect when we rolled cameras on the first day of production, I nervously watched through the eyepiece as Joaquin’s character, Arthur Fleck, spilled out onto the street in a per-
formance that took me (and everyone else) by complete surprise. There was a vulnerable, almost child-like quality, a borderline unhinged naivety to his delivery. It felt both grounded and surreal at the same time, and it drew me in completely. This wasn’t the Joker I expected. It felt fresh, but was it going to sustain in the long run? Joaquin and Todd were clearly throwing a Hail Mary pass right out of the gate—very risky. The one thing I realized immediately was that I had found a project that played directly into my own skill set. This probably warrants some clarification:
THE CONFESSION After over 20 years at this job, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not a very good
TRIVIA: Three of the previous actors who have played the Joker—Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger, and Jared Leto—are Oscar winners (with Ledger winning for playing the Joker). Joaquin Phoenix has been nominated for an Oscar three times.
camera operator—at least not a good technical one. I’m not great with human motion control; landing the frameline on the edge of the toaster every time, or executing the perfect diagonal. I don’t obsess over gear— don’t pay much attention to the crosshair. If I ever got hired to operate a David Fincher movie, I’d get fired on day one. Truth be told, I don’t even think that much about composition. What I DO think about is William Archer, a 19th century theater critic who summed up storytelling in six words, “Drama is anticipation mingled with uncertainty.” That’s fantastically simple. By my translation—great stories unfold when we experience the aspirational “near misses” of people we care about. THAT’S what I fixate on—finding visual ways to explore the “near misses” of empathetic characters. Why would an operator value story and emotion over the mechanics of operating? Why not stay in my lane and just…worry about framing the shot? For Photo by Stephane Malenfant one thing, I selfishly entered this industry,
SOCIETY OF CAMERA OPERATORS · SOC.ORG
ET TECH O6N5SCameras;
lexa atio; ARRI A spect R A l a ic r I DNA; he g: ARR 1.85 Sp in d lu c tage ckage in RRI Vin A ; s ie r Lens Pa 5 se coping Prime 6 d Teles ir b Arriflex ie v ra II s; Mo ead; Ult H e 65 serie t o em shot Libra R n Sling e s Crane; s la K am; ist Rig Steadic eld Ass Hand-h
On the set of JOKER with Joaquin Phoenix. Niko Tavernise
as I suspect most of us did, to be moved by stories and to move others by telling them. I don’t much care about framing the perfect two shot. Compelling composition is a result of connecting an audience with a moment of truth. For me, all technical and aesthetic details emanate from that truth. So, at any given moment, I expend most of my mental energy on story, emotion, and performance. That means I don’t focus on technical shot execution (i.e. my job) nearly as much as most operators do. If I screw up a shot, I won’t ask for another take if I feel like the actor’s performance has peaked. I’ll make creative suggestions even if executing them makes my life more difficult. Boom mic dropped into the frame? If the performance moved me, let them paint it out in post—I might not even mention it to the script supervisor. Now I know this may seem like risky, even reckless behavior, but consider for a moment that my priorities are in perfect align-
CAMERA OPERATOR · FALL 2019
ment with the director’s. A film crew’s often myopic fixation on executing their individual technical tasks can run counter to the director’s overall role of protecting story, emotion, and performance at the expense of all else. It’s a lonely place to be—the director is on an island. But…if I can show that I care more about the director’s priorities than I do my own, that our agendas are completely aligned, I’m able to put myself on the island with the director—there is an immediate bond of trust, and that director will always want me by his or her side. So my risk isn’t reckless, it’s a calculated one— sacrifice my short-term wellbeing to foster a valuable long-term relationship. I haven’t “stayed in my lane” for the better part of the last decade, and so far, it’s worked out pretty well. Now for all I know, this approach may one day backfire, in which case, look out for my next SOC article entitled “I veered out of my lane, and now I live off dry dog food and proceeds from bi-weekly visits to the blood bank.”
True to my philosophy, On Joker I was passionate and brutally honest with Todd about thoughts and ideas, as was Larry Sher, who also operated the B camera and has a long collaborative history with Todd. The structure and tonal center evolved dramatically throughout the shoot, as Todd adopted new character perspectives and abandoned others from one day to the next. It was a thrillingly malleable process. Technically, I let a lot of cringe-worthy operating stuff go on my end, for the sake of chasing “truth” and protecting Joaquin’s performance. Joaquin is the kind of actor who submits so completely to his role that you begin to worry about his well-being— like a hyper-energized ebullient child in danger of tripping down the stairs or running into traffic. The pressure for us to nail each take was palpable, partly because every take was so vastly different, AND because you didn’t want Joaquin to have to exhaust himself needlessly by going again due to a technical problem on our end.
TRIVIA: The filmmakers used the fake working title 'Romeo' while filming to keep the film's production a secret.
Geoffrey Haley on the set of JOKER with 2nd AC, Anthony Coan; dolly grip, Joaquin Padilla; and boom operator, Mike Scott. Photo by Niko Tavernise
HEAVY NUTS AND BOLTS Of course, like most films of this nature, we weren’t immune to our share of technical challenges. Now, for those of you waiting for me to get to the “technical” portion of this article, I’ll say this—we shot the movie with some cameras and lenses and dollies and stuff…blah, snore, blech! If you want to know what T-stop we set for subway interiors, go read about this movie in one of the other technical magazines, and then maybe drop some acid and take a walk in the woods, cause I tend to think life’s too short to spend mired in technical minutia. (I kid about the acid—“Hugs not Drugs”). The one thing I will mention on the technical side, is our use of the Alexa 65 large forHarold. Image courtesy of CBS Films mat camera, a beastly-heavy, power-hungry thing akin to the Panavision Genesis or the ARRI 535 (if you can remember that far back). It’s particularly sadistic in Steadicam and hand-held mode, but on Joker, a num-
ber of factors mitigated this a bit. Firstly, I had been physically conditioned somewhat from the past two years of Marvel projects, which also used this camera. Secondly, I’d carry a 100-pound crate of rusty railroad ties in my arms all day just to watch Joaquin Phoenix read the annual U.S. crop report. I think every operator reading this article would agree that the amount of physical pain felt carrying a camera is inversely proportional to the quality of work happening in front of the lens. I experienced a similar endurance boost working with Christian Bale on The Fighter and Michael Fassbender on Steve Jobs. Pain tends to melt away when you are in the presence of transcendent creative talent. Thirdly, for hand-held work, I began using the Klassen Slingshot (handheld assist rig) a few years back—it has sin-
glehandedly added years of longevity to my career and vastly improved my hand-held flexibility and performance (especially with heavy cameras) beyond anything I could have ever dreamed. I’m not associated with or compensated by the company in any way, but when I encounter something this revolutionary for our job, I’m not afraid to call it out. As an operator, one of the most creatively gratifying moments of Joker (and possibly my entire career) occurred the day we shot a pivotal scene in a dingy bathroom set. As per the script, Arthur was meant to race into the bathroom and do a certain, very specific action that I won’t describe because it could spoil the sequence beforehand if you haven’t seen the movie yet. On this particular morning, although I was typically
TRIVIA: The song heard in the teaser trailer is "Smile", composed by comedian Charles Chaplin for his film Modern Times (1936).
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Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck in Warner Bros. Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures and BRON Creative’s JOKER, a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo by Niko Tavernise
used to being present for private rehearsals, I was asked to step away as Todd conferred with Joaquin and Larry alone. Not surprisingly, the decision was made to change the scene (scenes were changed or completely abandoned routinely), but this time—by design—I was meant to have no idea how it would be different, so I could experience and react to the moment spontaneously on the day. I was equally not aware that Todd had asked Hildur Gudnadottir, the film’s composer, to record a few thematic tracks for Joker ahead of principle photography (a masterstroke on Todd’s part). I remember, after we hit sticks, nervously standing in the bathroom with my hand-held camera as Joaquin raced in, slammed the door, and collapsed against a wall. Gradually, his frantic breathing and post-traumatic shock gave way to an eerie calm as the air suddenly filled with one of the most hauntingly sorrowful and exquisite pieces of music I have ever heard. Then, out of the corner of
CAMERA OPERATOR · FALL 2019
my eye…Joaquin’s foot began to sway—I lowered the camera to ground level, completely engulfed in the moment, witnessing what would become Arthur’s fateful transformation…into the Joker. Joaquin metamorphosized a flood of cathartic emotion…into an almost trance induced, spontaneous dance, which I photographed in a completely reactive, hypnotic flow state. It felt volatile and truthful and immediate. Capturing an emotionally powerful spontaneous moment, accompanied by a mesmerizing musical score, is every operator’s dream—that just doesn’t happen…and I will never forget it.
CONFRONTING A HARSH REALITY I have no idea how Joker will be received by its audience. At the time of this writing, the film hasn’t come out yet, so I don’t know if all the risks that were taken will pay off. What I CAN say is that I saw the near-completed Joker about a month ago and I’m immensely
proud of it. It SAYS a thing—and it does so without apology or equivocation. It has also turned out to be one of the most creatively rewarding and professionally challenging experiences of my career. For my opportunity to play a part I feel a tremendous debt of gratitude to Joaquin, Todd, Larry, Greg Irwin, Tim Metivier, the rest of the cast, and a fantastic New York crew that busted its ass every day. Most importantly, I feel like we need films like Joker more than ever. Today’s cinematic landscape is not what it once was. Gone seem the days of the mid-budget thriller or smart romantic comedy. You’re more likely to interest today’s studio exec in a one-bedroom Chernobyl timeshare than the script for Annie Hall 2. In an increasingly polarized world, our fear to offend has begun to outweigh our compulsion to challenge. This is why movies like Joker are so important. They serve as essential affirmations that smart and daring and uncomfortable films are necessary, and
can still have mass market appeal. Joker will no doubt be divisive. It will be vilified within certain circles, denounced in others, assailed by DC purists, and dissected in ways no “comic book” film has ever had to endure. But that is exactly why it’s worth the two hour investment of our time. In my 24-year career, I’ve been fortunate enough to scrape together a precious handful of hard-fought projects that truly justify the comprehensive sacrifice and commitment this industry commands of us who work in it. Despite all the risks taken in making this film, or perhaps BECAUSE of them, I am proud to place Joker…at the top of that precious list. And in this cynical, risk-averse world, I can’t ask for much more than that.
GEOFFREY HALEY, SOC Geoffrey Haley, SOC, is a 24 year veteran camera / Steadicam operator, whose credits include five seasons of Six Feet Under, the Hangover trilogy, American Hustle, four Fast and Furious films, Steve Jobs, Star Trek Beyond, The Fighter, Avengers: Infinity War and Engame, as well as Jumanji and the upcoming Jumanji sequel. A classically trained cellist from age five, he shifted attention to a love of filmmaking when he located to Los Angeles in 1994, after completing undergraduate studies in Psychophysiology at Stanford University. These days, he averages 11 months per year on location, in the perpetual search of compelling imagery, energizing tennis, and the perfect bowl of Ramen. Photo courtesy of Geoffery Haley Robert De Niro as Murray Franklin in Warner Bros. Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures and BRON Creative’s JOKER,a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo by Niko Tavernise
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SOCIETY OF CAMERA OPERATORS EDUCATIONAL WORKSHOPS
Join the SOC in 2019 for Camera Operating Workshops taught by working professionals. These workshops are designed to sharpen your skills, teach techniques for operating, better understanding of the roles and responsibilities on set, and to elevate the craft of camera operating. • Underwater Camera Operating Workshop • Operating in the 4th Dimension - Working with Telescopic Cranes • Camera Operating for Cinema & TV • Camera Operating for Live & Sports Production • Running the Set – the Role of the Operator
SOC members will receive details via emails in addition to priority registration and discounts. Workshops will be noted if non SOC members are able to register.
CAMERA OPERATOR · FALL 2019
DOUBLE FEATURE Reflections on Harriet and Gemini Man with Daniele Massaccesi, SOC an interview by Kate McCallum
(L-R) Director Kasi Lemmons with actors Zackary Momoh, Cynthia Erivo and Vanessa Bell Calloway on the set of her film HARRIET, a Focus Features release. Photo by Glen Wilson
Harriet is an American biographical film directed by Kasi Lemmons, who wrote the screenplay with Gregory Allen Howard. It is based on the life of abolitionist Harriet Tubman, who escaped slavery and led hundreds of enslaved people to freedom on the Underground Railroad. It stars Cynthia Erivo as Tubman, with Leslie Odom Jr., Joe Alwyn, Jennifer Nettles and Janelle Monáe in supporting roles. 20
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TRIVIA: Harriet is a biography about Harriet Tubman had been in the works for years, with several actresses, including Viola Davis, rumored to star. Erivo was cast in February 2017, much of the cast and crew the following year, and principal photography began in Virginia in October 2018. Camera Operator: You’ve worked on two fabulous movies that are out in the theaters this year—Harriet and Gemini Man, and have offered to share your insights on both. We’ll start with Harriet. But first, how’d you get your start as a camera operator? Daniele Massaccesi: I am the third generation in my family to work in the film industry. My grandfather had a camera rental house in Rome, my father was a cameraman, and I tried to follow in his path. I worked my way up in the camera crew. I started as a loader then a focus puller, and I got lucky. I used to work with a nice Italian director/actor, Francesco Nuti, and in 1991, he and the director of photography I used to work with, Gianlorenzo Battaglia, were looking for a new camera operator. They both like my precision and my enthusiasm, and even though I was very young they offered me the job. I was 26. During that movie, Women With Skirts, we used a remote head that was actually able to rotate on the third axis—quite innovative but a bit delicate. The next year George Miller was coming to Rome to shoot the Italian sequences of Lorenzo’s Oil and they needed a 3-axis remote head for a specific shot, so I got hired to supervise the Italian remote head and make it work. I ended up meeting John Seale, whom I consider my mentor. I ended up working with him again on The English Patient and four more movies. CO: Where do you live and how does it work for you travel-wise when you are hired on these films? Massaccesi: I live in Rome—in Italy, in theory, but I am almost never there. I end up working mostly out of Italy. A lot of traveling everywhere that sometimes is not so fun, but l still consider the camera operator one of the best job in the process of filmmaking. That is actually what Ridley Scott once told me. I’ve done 10 projects with him.
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CO: How’d you get the job working on Harriet? Massaccesi: I was lucky. I worked on few movies with John Toll, a great DP, and when they offered him this project, he thought that l was the right person for the job, and l thank him for that. Production was very nice, and even if the project was not a big budget they got me a Visa and they hired me. CO: Who made up your production team? Massaccesi: My focus puller was Chris Toll. He did a great job on keeping everything sharp, considering that we used Sony Venice, a large format camera, and most of the movie was shot at night in the woods. We also used quite a bit of Steadicam and a lot of the time actors were on horses, who usually don’t stand on their marks. At the dolly, and helping me, I had Mike Moad. He did a wonderful job helping me to get the shots John and Kasi desired for the scenes. But all the crew was very nice, and we all helped each other like a family. Art Bartels, the key grip, and Jarred Waldron, the gaffer, were a great support. Also a great help was the B camera team—operator, Kim Marks, and focus puller, Dwight O. Campbell, who both helped us the get the extra coverage we needed for the scenes. CO: What locations were used for the film? Where was the film shot? Massaccesi: We were in Virginia for the whole shoot. Most of the movie takes place in the forest, and we crossed a few rivers. The art department gave us a great hand finding urban locations that would fit the period. One night while we were filming in the woods we got attacked by some wasps. All the crew started running, some of the actors were bitten, and I too got bitten on one hand. For a week it looked like I was wearing an inflated rubber glove.
TECH ON SET:
SONY Venice; Sphero Primes ; Panaspeed Pri mes; Steadicam M1 with the Volt CO: What are your thoughts about working on period films? Any special challenges? Massaccesi: Working on a period movie is always fun, and it’s like stepping back in time. Seeing how people were living in the past, and considering how we now live at the present time. The challenge is trying to keep the shots within the period set. It is very rare that you have a 360 degrees set that you don’t have to worry about. Keeping cars, lamp post, signs, and all the modern stuff out of frame saves some money in post trying to erase them at the computer. The Steadicam is in this case a good help, you can often adjust trying to keep the frame within the sets fast enough so that there are no problems. CO: What tech did you use? Massaccesi: We didn’t have much tech, was like going back in time when we were getting a good camera and the rest was a bit of scramble. We used the Sony Venice provided by Panavision with Sphero Primes and Panaspeed Primes. The cameras were reliable considering the conditions we were filming in—cold and wet. CO: How was it working with the talent? Massaccesi: The cast was very nice. We were all very proud to tell such an interesting story, and we were all honored to remember such an important character as Harriet Tubman, and such an important period of history. The filming was hard on them in the cold and rain with period clothing.
Zackary Momoh stars as John and Cynthia Erivo as Harriet Tubman in HARRIET, a Focus Features release. Photo by Glen Wilson
Director, Ang Lee with director of photography, Dion Beebe on the set of GEMINI MAN from Paramount Pictures, Skydance and Jerry Bruckheimer Films.
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CO: Any special challenges or special experiences to share while working on the film? Massaccesi: The movie was low budget so we didn’t have much possibility of get-
ting the latest equipment. We had an old modular crane, and a 2-axis remote head, not stabilized. We tend to forget how useful it is to have a stabilized head, but that is how we used to shoot in the past. It was like going back in time—trying to keep
the frame steady enough, doing counter pans when you swing it, and trying to make them imperceptible was challenging and fun. Again, I received great help from my dolly grip, Mike Moad, and his soft hands.
Gemini Man is an American science fiction action film directed by Ang Lee and written by David Benioff, Billy Ray, and Darren Lemke. The film stars Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen, and Benedict Wong and follows an aging hitman who is targeted by a younger clone of himself.
Will Smith in GEMINI MAN from Paramount Pictures, Skydance and Jerry Bruckheimer Films. Photo by Ben Rothstein
Camera Operator: Gemini Man is a much different film than Harriet. How did you get hired to be on the crew of this project? Massaccesi: Gemini was a completely different project—a lot of technology was involved. Ang Lee wanted to shoot this movie in 3D at 120fps. Because, he recalled, that is how we see so shooting that way would give
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the audience a unique experience watching the movie. I must say that watching that way is unique. Originally, John Toll was asked to do the movie and he started prepping it. He asked me to do the movie so my name was attached to the project, but then John had some personal issues and couldn’t do the movie anymore. I have to thank Ang Lee;
the producer, Brian Bell; and especially Dion Beebe, who took over for John, and let me stay on the project. CO: The premise of this story calls for Will Smith to play himself. How was it shooting and working with Will on set to accomplish this? And can you explain the technical process?
TECH ON SEiTfi: ed to do
d mes; M mo ARRI Master Pri peru s. 120fp c 3D Rig; S tor; e t yva Stereo 50; Donke s; o ra Tehcn mal Came r e h M1 T icam Stead
Daniele Massaccesi, SOC and Douglas Hodge on the set of GEMINI MAN from Paramount Pictures, Skydance and Jerry Bruckheimer Films. Photo by Ben Rothstein
Massaccesi: Will is a very nice man and a great actor, and it was very pleasant to work with him. He understood the process, and was very patient with all the various passes, and steps that every scene required. In the story he plays an undercover sniper that, when he retires, starts to get chased by someone who is trying to kill him. I don’t want to spoil the story, but Will had to act not only with himself, but as a 30-years younger self. Bill Westenhofer, the VFX supervisor, and Guy Williams, the WETA supervisor, did a great job and helped us to understand the process. For every shot that involved the second Will, there was an actor named Victor Hugo who was Will’s body. They would act together, and Victor would match Will’s body language. Then we would have a few more passes for the other elements—so we had a few steps, and were trying to match the moves for every pass.
CO: Where was this film shot? Massaccesi: The movie was shot in Savannah, a little town on the coast of Georgia. It was, for me, such an interesting part of United States, and not a place where you would usually think to go on vacation. We then went to Cartagena in Columbia, where a big action sequence takes place. There is a long motorcycle chase all along of the old part of the city. We blocked all city for days, and that was quite a challenging moment trying to rig the 3D camera on every possible moving vehicle, including a motorcycle. Then for the final part of the film, we went to Budapest where we did quite a lot of stage work and all the clean-up for the movie, and the final motion capture. CO: Who was on your team? Massaccesi: This project was technically very challenging because of the technology that was used to create it. My focus puller
was E.J. Misisco, who did a great job. When you shoot at 120fps it usually doesn’t give you much depth of field to work with. My 2nd AC was Paul Tilden, who did a wonderful job keeping the 3D rig running, helped by Sandra Lombardi, the 3D tech. The whole 3D department did a great job on the show. Demetri Portelli, the stereo supervisor, also helped with the framing and the perspective, which in 3D is very important, and Ben Gervais, the 3D tech supervisor, made the whole process run smoothly. The person that helped me the most was my dolly grip, Mike Moad. The whole movie was designed with previews, and some shots that might be very easy to be done on a computer, are not that easy to create when your camera weighs 100 pounds. They became not so easy. Mike helped me figure out how to make every single shot work. Some scenes are a combination of dolly, Technocrane, Steadicam, and a little wheeled cart with the remote head mounted on it. Douglas McCormick did a
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CAMERA OPERATOR Â· FALL 2019
great job putting the rig on the remote head in every possible situation we needed it. The big challenge of the project was to do an action movie with a camera that is 100 pounds, and the size of a dishwasher. We did some hand-held, which wasn’t fun, but the show needed that kind of look so the key grip, Donald Reynolds, came up with the idea of using a special winch that is used to lift heavy tools to which we attached the 3D rig, and in order to move it around he would put some metal beams with some rollers on them that allowed us to move the camera in every possible position on the set. We call it “The Donkeyvator.” It was still a lot of work, but “The Donkeyvator” definitely made it possible. Big help also came from the B camera team, both our first, Kim Marks, and then Mick Froehlich, gave the movie the coverage that we couldn’t get.
camera, but when is as big as an TV, and weighs 100 pounds it becomes a bit more complicated. Following actors who are running, jumping, fighting, on motorcycles, and in the water—everything becomes a bit more complicated for everyone, beginning from the director, who on top of these logistics, is also trying to tell a story. CO: How was it working with Will Smith on such a challenging part? Massaccesi: Will Smith is such a lovely man that is a pleasure working with him. He understood the process, and helped everyone enormously. He also is a leader for all the actors. When he was on set there was always a cheerful atmosphere. Will is also a good boxer—after all the training from the past movies he’s done, I guess—so we actually used him for quite a bit of the fighting scenes.
CO: What type of tech did you use on set?
CO: Any special stories to share from the set?
Massaccesi: Shooting at 120 frame per second with a 3D rig is a big challenge, especially if you are trying to do an action movie. Is easy when the camera is a mini or a small
Massaccesi: We had many meetings during prep on how to actually make the shots as the preview, a lot of head scratching and, “How are we going to do this?” moments.
Some crazy ideas came out, but actually some were not so crazy in the end. CO: What are you doing next? Massaccesi: I am now in London working on Infinite, directed by Antoine Fuqua, whom I worked with a long time ago on King Arthur, and with Mauro Fiore as the director of photography, who is also Italian, but unfortunately our paths only crossed for couple of days on some reshoots of X-Men. CO: Any special thoughts on the future of filmmaking? Massaccesi: I think the industry is at an interesting moment with new products coming out to create the films, and also new way of watching these stories. I think the best we can do is to keep all the doors open and not limit our creativity. Be open-minded to new technologies and don’t be afraid of them. Indeed use your experience to improve the new technology and make it better instead of trying to change it because “we never did it that way” and go back to what was before.
DANIELE MASSACCESI, SOC Daniele Massaccesi, SOC was born in Italy and is a third generation camera operator raised in a family of filmmakers. Movies were always a part of the family conversation, especially the camera work. Massaccesi was very influenced by art and the Italian paintings he observed growing up—especially the artist, Caravaggio, who he often uses as a reference for framing. He credits his study of paintings to his success as an operator as he’s had the great fortune to work with top directors such as; Ridley Scott (also a painter), on The Martian and nine of Scott’s other films; Anthony Minghella on The English Patient and two of his other films, with Steven Spielberg on Munich, Martin Scorsese on Gangs of New York, Woody Allen’s To Rome with Love, and with the Wachowskis on Cloud Atlas, Jupiter Ascending, and Sense 8 to name a few. Photo by Peter Mountain
TRIVIA: Originally conceived in 1997, Gemini Man went through development hell for nearly 20 years. Several directors, including Tony Scott, Curtis Hanson, and Joe Carnahan, were all attached at some point and numerous actors, including Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Clint Eastwood, and Sean Connery, were set to star. In 2016, Skydance Media purchased the rights to the screenplay (which had been through several rewrites) from Walt Disney Pictures, and in October 2017, Ang Lee signed on to direct. Filming took place from February through May 2018.
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CAMERA OPERATOR Â· FALL 2019
Ford v Ferrari Full Throttle Operating with David Luckenbach, SOC an interview by Derek Stettler
Matt Damon at Willow Springs Raceway in the Mojave Desert. Photo by Merrick Morton
With Ford v Ferrari, director James Mangold (Walk the Line, Logan) tells the incredible true-life drama of the powerful friendship between American car designer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and racing legend Ken Miles (Christian Bale), who overcome corporate interference, conventional wisdom, and their own personal demons to forever change racing history. Their challenge: build a revolutionary race car for Ford that can challenge the powerhouse Ferrari team at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966. 28
SOCIETY OF CAMERA OPERATORS Âˇ SOC.ORG
Taking on the challenge of capturing this enthralling true story was A camera operator David Luckenbach, SOC. Camera Operator caught up with Luckenbach to learn more. Camera Operator: You’ve had a fantastic career so far, please tell me a bit about your road to success and how you came to be where you are now. David Luckenbach: I started off as a complete outsider to Hollywood. I originally went to college to study graphic arts, geared towards the print publishing industry. But after college, I ended up back in my hometown of Seattle, doing many different jobs, included a multi-year stint as a commercial fisherman up in Alaska. After a while, I came to realize I was most satisfied when I was working creatively, and working with cameras and filming began to be of great interest to me. And around that same time, my wife got a job that took her to Los Angeles. So I came with her, and set out to start working in the film industry. It took a while, lots of networking and trying to figure out how to get an in, but I ended up taking a camera assistant’s extension course at UCLA, where I met a man by the name of Paul Taylor. He was a working camera assistant in the industry, and we initially connected because he was also from Seattle. Through him, I got invited onto sets with the late Steadicam operator, Jeff Mart, and I was mentored by them both. I owe them so much, their mentorship really helped me get my start. That one class at UCLA was invaluable, actually. I also met Jerry Chan there, and he was looking for an AC he could train, so I worked with him and he gave me a very solid foundation for working in the camera department. At that time, I was also doing grip and electric work on a non-union show in West Virginia, with cinematographer, Mikael Salomon, ASC. That was a pivotal experience as well, because it led to working as an electrician for about a year, which helped me learn the filmmaking
process from that angle as well. I ended up getting more camera work, and that made me let that line of work go. But it all came full circle when, a few years after arriving in LA, I got asked to work on The Abyss. One of the assistants, (Ian Fox, now a camera operator) broke his ankle and they needed another assistant to come in for a few weeks. Mikael Salomon was the cinematographer on The Abyss, so from there, I ended up becoming his 2nd AC for about four years on films and commercials. Steadicam operator, Greg Lundsgaard was also a mentor for me, as I was very intrigued by the Steadicam. After I realized I wanted to pursue Steadicam operating, I took a course which made me really enamored with it, and then I purchased a used one and practiced my craft by working on student films. I kept growing from there and slowly worked from camera assistant to Steadicam operator on feature films. CO: What an interesting journey! So how did you get hired on Ford v Ferrari? Luckenbach: Many, many years ago, Jack Green hired me to work on the film Girl, Interrupted, which was directed by James Mangold. Since then, I worked on a lot of his films, including 3:10 to Yuma, Walk the Line, and Logan. So that collaboration continued when I was asked to work on Ford v Ferrari. It’s been a great ride. CO: Speaking of rides, this film looks to have some amazing racing sequences. Did Matt Damon and Christian Bale do much actual driving on set. Luckenbach: Actually, yes, they both drove a lot. At some points we had up to four cameras rigged on the car to get all the various angles as Christian Bale drove. But, naturally, nearly all the wide shots of the cars racing are done with stunt drivers. But whenever you see close-ups in the vehicles with the actors, it’s almost always them doing the driving.
TECH ON SET:
ARRI Alexa LF camera; Modified Panav ision anamorphic le nses; Chapman/Leo nard doll Steadicam; Ocu ies; lus remote head CO: You’ve worked with quite a few major stars over the years. What was it like working with Matt and Christian? Luckenbach: They are both such professionals, and so easy to work with. Very personable and approachable on set. It was just a pleasure to be around them all day long. What can I say, they really made my job easy. CO: Can you talk about the locations in this film. Were there any particularly challenging ones? Luckenbach: We essentially circled the city of Los Angeles for this film. We filmed from Long Beach and Venice Beach to Riverside and Mojave. One part that really stands out is during our first week of filming, which was during the middle of the summer, we shot at Willow Springs Raceway out in the Mojave Desert. I recall it was around 106 degrees, and it was definitely a wakeup call as to what we were getting ourselves into. It was a challenge to stay cool and keep our energy up, but it was great to start with a challenge upfront. The Le Man’s race portion was shot at Agua Dulce Airpark, and we also shot at the Ontario Airport inside a big hangar, which was a cool location to be in. The sets on this film, especially the Ford factory, are like going back in time. It really felt like we were transported to that era. It becomes a bit of an emotional experience, being in an environment you’d never otherwise get the chance to experience. It’s part of what makes this job so fun—you get to travel back in time.
TRIVIA: This movie was formerly titled Go Like Hell and Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt were considered for the roles.
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(L to R) dolly grips Dave Ariniello and Charlie Ehrlinger along with off screen talent push in on Christian Bale inside the Ford GT 40. Photo by Merrick Morton
CO: This film has a very rich visual aesthetic to it. What gear was used to capture it? Luckenbach: The main camera was the ARRI Alexa LF with vintage period correct Panavision anamorphic lenses. We went with the LF for the sheer quality of the image, and combined with the anamorphic lenses, it gives the film this grand scope. The anamorphic lenses were actually modified by Dan Sasaki at Panavison because the originals didn’t quite cover the size of the LF sensor. James Mangold didn’t want to complicate things when it came to gear, and we only used a crane a few times. We used one in the Ford factory set because of the scale and multiple levels in that building, but other-
wise we kept things very simple, using dollies and Steadicam for the majority of the film. Of course, we did use stabilized heads on pursuit vehicles for the racing sequences. And during one memorable scene, we used the Oculus head on a dolly directly on the runway of our airport location, which allowed us to move quickly and get smooth shots without needed to take the time to lay dolly track.
on set basically fell by the wayside and the film benefitted from essentially having two A camera operators. We would often leap-frog each other, with Scott naturally handling all the Steadicam shots. It was an interesting way to work, which I really enjoyed.
There was a unique relationship that evolved on this film with Scott Sakamoto, SOC. I was a Steadicam operator for 25 years, but don’t do it anymore after knee surgery. Scott was hired to do Steadicam on this film, but he’s such a talented and gifted operator that the traditional mechanics of A and B camera
Luckenbach: Cary Lalonde was my 1st AC. We’ve worked together before on a few projects over the years, and this experience was fantastic. He’s a great technician and has a great sense of humor, so he kept me smiling the whole time. Charlie Ehrlinger was my dolly grip, and I’ve worked with him
CO: Very interesting. So who else in the camera department did you work closely with?
TRIVIA: According to Matt Damon, Christian Bale had to lose 70 pounds before filming began. Bale had previously gained a lot of weight for his role in Vice (2018) and had about seven months to lose it all and then some to play the lean race car driver, Ken Miles. Damon inquired of Bale how he managed to lose all the weight, to which Bale replied that he simply didn't eat.
SOCIETY OF CAMERA OPERATORS · SOC.ORG
(L to R) Matt Damon, camera op, Dave Luckenbach, and director, James Mangold filming at Willow Springs International Raceway, Mojave. Photo by Merrick Morton
(L to R) Dolly grip, Charlie Ehrlinger, camera op, Scott Sakamoto, and film actor, Matt Damon in Shelby Cobra. Photo by Merrick Morton
CAMERA OPERATOR Âˇ FALL 2019
on several projects now. Ray Garcia was our key grip, and I can’t say enough good things about him and his whole grip crew. He understands where the camera goes and how to put it there. He has a great eye for shots, and I can always trust him to help put the camera in the right place. Dan Schroer was my 2nd AC. Between him and Cary, I didn’t have to worry about anything, they’re both very capable and thorough. CO: Was there a particularly challenging or memorable shot for you? Luckenbach: Everything was challenging on this film. James Mangold and Phedon [Papamichael, ASC] had to retrain me a bit, because prior to this, I was doing a lot of high-energy hand-held camerawork on another film. This was a very classically-shot film, quite the opposite aesthetic. So they
had to remind me to calm the camera down and operate as little as possible and let the action happen within the frame. It’s certainly something I learned to embrace again. For example, I’d set an end frame before the action is shot, hoping that everything falls in place, without correcting the frame to capture it. You just have to learn to trust that what’s supposed to happen, will happen. One shot I look back on is one of the rare times we used a crane. It’s where Matt Damon’s character visits Christian Bale’s character in a neighborhood street in South Pasadena, and it took place at sunset, with Matt driving down the street into the sunset. We had been shooting all day already, and it was a bit of a pressure cooker to get all the shots in the time we had while the light was right. We were walking the line of success and disaster, but of course the professionalism of
the crew made it all come together in a very fulfilling way. This is where experience really pays off. Everyone on set came together and knew exactly what to do to get it done efficiently. But it must’ve looked like chaos for someone watching from a distance! CO: I can imagine. Though I often think the world could learn a lot from how film sets work. So what have you been up to since you wrapped on this film? Luckenbach: After Ford v Ferrari, I worked on 2nd unit on a few films and shot some commercials with director, Wally Pfister, ASC. Commercial work is great, if you can get it. They’re so much fun to work on, and I find it’s a very rewarding creative process. FORD v FERRARI races into theaters on November 15, 2019.
DAVID LUCKENBACH, SOC Born in Seattle, Washington, Dave attended Mesa State College in Colorado earning a degree Graphic Communications with the intent on a career as a graphic artist. Things changed when he moved with his wife Lisa to California in the late 80’s to pursue work in the film industry. His 'big break' came when he was offered the chance to work as a ’Swing Man’ (Grip/Electrician) on the feature film Zelly and Me shot by then DP, Mikael Salomon. “I remember walking out of the electronics store where I was working and thinking, It’s happening, I'm never going back in that door again, I'm working in the film industry,” says Dave. Just a short time later he had the chance to work with Mikael again on a much bigger film, James Cameron's The Abyss, becoming part of Mikael's crew as a Union 2nd AC after that and working on a number of features and commercials over the next few years. He moved up to operating after taking a Steadicam course and purchasing a ‘very used’ model II rig, then gaining much needed experience by working on student films, soon becoming a proficient steadicam operator. Dave worked on James Mangold's, Girl, Interrupted which started a 20 year relationship with the director which included his other films: Identity, Walk The Line, 3:10 To Yuma, Knight and Day, Logan, and Ford v Ferrari. He attributes his success to his early mentors; Jerry Chan, Paul Taylor, Jeff Mart and Greg Lundsgaard. Other selected credits include; The Lone Ranger, Pirates of The Caribbean I, II, III, IV., This Is 40, The Amazing Spider-man, Hancock, Friday Night Lights, The X-Files, Speed II, Twister, Mr. Hollands Opus. Photo courtesy of David Luckenbach
DEREK STETTLER An Associate Member of the SOC since 2015, Derek Stettler is a filmmaker who also writes for the ASC's American Cinematographer. Derek discovered filmmaking as his life's passion after graduating high school in 2010, having since made a number of short films and commercials. He currently works as a freelance video editor, camera operator, and writer. Photo by Carter Smith
Society of Camera Operators
Lifetime Achievement Awards JANUARY 18, 2020 AT THE LOEWS HOLLYWOOD HOTEL Purchase your seats today SOCAwards.com Photo by Niko Tavernise
CAMERA OPERATOR Â· FALL 2019
Smooth Operator How’d You Get That Shot?: Homecoming Throughout my 29-year career, I’ve had the great opportunity to execute many different types of shots. Last year, I worked on the first season of Homecoming for Amazon. A particular “oner” we shot on the series exemplifies the ambition and visual style of director, Samuel Esmail, and I’d like to share how we executed it.
THE ONER If you search YouTube for Amazon's Homecoming: One-Shot Sequence From Julia Roberts' Thriller [Found here: youtu.be/RnAMqLC_TZM] you will find the ambitious three-minute oner shot for Episode 1. We achieved it in three shots with two stitches, and a lot of planning and rehearsing. I brought in Mitch Dubin to cover me on the A camera for one day while I took my A camera team and dolly grip (Serge Nofield and John Mang) with me to the stage next door in order to rehearse the first two of the three shots which would take place on our primary set on the Universal backlot. The third shot was on a practical location in Torrance.
by Will Arnot, SOC ure 1), and hoisted the base of the 72-foot Chapman Hydrascope crane onto scaffolding (Figure 3) with enough height to clear the set walls of the second story, which put the fulcrum about 30 feet off the ground, and we still had trouble achieving a wide enough composition above Julia’s desk that was to Sam’s liking. Working out this placement was paramount, and luckily we had a scale model of the set to work out details. We needed every single foot of the reach of the crane arm (Figure 2 & 5), and I was concerned that we might need one of the only two new 76-foot Technocranes that were in the country at the time.
Figure 1: 73’ Chapman Hydrascope above two-story set, Ceiling pieces raised to the perms. All images courtesy of Will Arnot, SOC.
THE LOCATION LAYOUT Stage 25 is one of the newest stages at the Universal Studio lot. It measures over 18,000 square feet, and is 51 feet to the perms. It was required to accommodate the primary two-story interior set of the Homecoming facility, cafeteria, kitchen, dorm rooms, offices etc. The first shot of the sequence begins far overhead of Julia Roberts’ second-floor office. We flew the ceiling pieces up to the perms (Fig-
Figure 2: Invited the discussion of where we were going to make the 1st stitch. Critical was how long we would lose sight of Julia as she rounds the triangle wall, and before she got to the top of the stairs. The longer reach pictured was what was needed to see here for as long as possible, but would require the 76’ Technocrane. 72’ Hydrascope was the middle position.
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Figure 5: Scale accurate crane arm.
Figure 3: 72’ Hydrascope 29,000 pounds loaded.
THE VISION The original concept of the shot had us following Julia down the hallway outside her office (Figure 4). However, it became much more interesting to leave her and travel over a storage room opposite her office and then rejoin her on the other side. Because it’s basically just a long walk-and-talk for almost three minutes, it was more compelling to continue the dialogue off-screen, and visually explore the set and Homecoming facility life. The 72-foot Hydrascope is an absolute beast in terms of moving mass. It is very difficult to be precise at such long lengths, and it’s very hard work for the man on the bucket since there is so much inertia involved to control the panning speed of the arm. Sam is a very exacting director about the composition and feel of the shot, so precision was critical. Luckily, I had a great dolly grip in John Mang, and excellent precision on the telescope with Steve McDonagh of The Crane Company.
TOOLS OF THE TRADE For planning purposes. we had a stick made up with scale markings in order to assess the crane’s reach within the set. The start and the finish of the shots were very specific. Starting directly over Julia’s office desk, and then finishing in a manner where we dropped all the way down into the first floor cafeteria set, so that we could stitch to the second part of the sequence which we would achieve with the Oculus remote head mounted onto the PeeWee 4 Chapman dolly.
Figure 4: Overview and scaffolding/base placement.
CAMERA OPERATOR · FALL 2019
We were obliged to use the PeeWee instead of our larger Hustler dolly, due to the second stitch requiring a fast, tight maneuver through one of the two glass doors as Julia makes her way out of the
facility heading for the lobby. The compromise, however, is that the PeeWee has a shorter and weaker arm than the Hustler, so achieving the matching height for the first stitch became more critical. For this reason, we then added a riser (down) to the 72-foot Hydrascope in order to drop the camera into the first floor set. (Figure 6)
The solution was to use a Chapman SuperNova driveable base with a fixed arm and receive the PeeWee/Oculus and the dolly grip from the second floor after it made the trip down the hallway from the stitch doors/set wall, on the new location. This made the stitch successful, but we were very challenged keeping it safe with a dolly driving onto a fixed arm, but key grip, Jim Kwiatkowski, and John Mang did a great job. When we replicated this shot again for another set-up, Universal safety required that we not use the SuperNova base, and instead reach down the hallway with a Technocrane, and then pull up the track as we pulled back through the lobby since the arm telescope was not long enough. Ultimately, with a lot of planning we succeeded with a very effective oner.
SPATIAL RELATIONS & MECHANICAL REASONING
Figure 6: 1st stitch
EXECUTING THE SHOT Once down in the cafeteria we continued with the PeeWee Dolly and Oculus. There is a green garden feature in the center of the cafe which construction had cleverly built with airbags to move it easily. It gave me the idea to continue the feel of the crane by floating over the garden. This set up a longer push into the symmetry of the next part of the set which leads us to the dorm rooms of some of our main characters. We also floated a dining room table out of the way. By apparently traveling over these elements it helped disguise the fact that we were no longer on a crane. The compressor to move the garden was (of course) too loud, so we shot it as an element and VFX pasted it into the foreground. The dining room table was silent on furniture sliders; sadly in the take they used, the background worker fumbled the cutlery, then panicked at the last moment and ran out too quickly. The PeeWee portion of the shot pushes through the cafeteria, then again leaves Julia to continue her dialogue off-screen, and explores the dorm rooms of our characters. As Julia rejoins the shot we then exit the facility through swinging glass doors which provide the second stitch element to get us to the third portion of the shot. The third shot challenged us with constraints of a practical location, as the shot takes us to the lobby of our facility and the exterior courtyard. In order to reach far enough down the hallway on the second floor, where we built a set wall to match our Stage 25 set glass doors, we could not fit a long enough Technocrane into the lobby below.
In school I was no good at math, but I excelled in geometry. This part of my brain, I think, is essential for operating. You have to understand the physics of how the lens travels through three-dimensional space. This is especially so with crane work as you cannot be next to the camera and have to visualize where the lens is in space. So the way I break down a crane shot is to identify “The Dots.” The Dots are the key frames, beginning frame, end frame, and then the critical frames needed along the way (like how we passed over the doorway to Julia’s office). You have to be very clear to all the grips involved and camera assistants so that everyone gets on the same page, and each person can focus on exactly their role and their timing. Timing is everything, of course, but if you don’t know where you are coming from or going to, then you will never be clear on how to make the move precise and repeatable. I go through and discuss and explore each one of the key frames, then we go back and connect the Dots. Then the final layer of the cake sometimes involves adjusting the key frames slightly to serve the momentum and pacing of the move. Being able to examine the Dots/key frames is paramount to building an effective shot. Another tenet of my operating is “Less is more.” For example, identifying the correct lens height minimizes how much you may need to tilt. Having a camera that is flat to the architecture means your vertical lines in the frame will be straight. I learned a lot of these things from Steadicam as I analyzed how to quiet down the frame, and not give away that we are on a Steadicam. The same things apply to all operating. The more invisible your operating becomes, your compositions will evolve in elegance.
NO PANNING ALLOWED Which brings me to an interesting challenge with Sam on Homecoming. NO PANNING ALLOWED! How strange is that!? He has great reverence for the controlled framing of David Fincher’s films, and the sight of panning in a shot would literally make him
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nauseous. I worked on Girl with the Dragon Tattoo with David and understand his approach. If David could do everything motion control he would. I love being that exact so this approach is right up my alley. The concept of being ‘quiet’ and ‘invisible’ doesn’t mean ‘don’t move the frame.’ It means you have to be in exact sync with the movement occurring within the frame. If you are out of sync you notice the movement of the camera, if you are in sync you become invisible.
LESS IS MORE I have spoken about the concept of “Less is more…” in other articles, but I’m constantly reminded of its importance on many levels, both at work and in life. Serge Nofield, my incredible assistant, greatly reinforced this concept to me. Serge has grown up in the business—his mother was a crew member, and cinema is in his bones. He is unfazed by the chaos, and is the person you want next to you in the trenches. I called him “The Panther” because he was like a silent assassin. Mostly out of sight, but always within earshot, and always keenly aware of every dynamic needed to perfectly execute the shot. Sometimes I would look around after a complicated shot and I couldn’t see him. I’d call out his name and he’d immediately appear from some crafty hiding spot where he could observe all the action. Great dolly grips and assistants are essential to being a smooth operator. It is always a team effort.
HIRING PRACTICES One issue I do encounter more these days is that the operator is often the last person hired on a camera crew. Several cameramen still pay the operator the respect of letting them select some of the crew they work with. Being that we are on the front lines directly interacting with the actors, director and all the on-set crew, having friends around you greatly enhances your opportunity for success. The more we are involved in being allowed to help build the team the better. After all, we are the cinematographer’s right hand. We are the mechanics of framing, protectors of lighting, and maestros of movement. We are entrusted with great responsibility, so we should be involved with deciding the team who helps us achieve and uphold that weight.
WILL ARNOT, SOC Will Arnot, SOC grew up in 21 homes by the time he was 21 years old, and lived on five continents by the time he got to high school. Born in Capetown, South Africa he also grew up in England, Saudi Arabia, Australia, and the U.S. It was perfect training for the professional gypsy life of filmmaking around the globe. Arnot was a collegiate runner and raced all distances of triathlon, received All-American honors twice, and made it to three world championships. Now he continues to just race the bicycle, and takes it with him wherever he goes on location. He considers it an anchor that keeps him fit for the grueling hours that he sometimes must endure on set. Arnot’s been blessed to learn from legendary cinematographers such as; Vittorio Storaro, Stephen Goldblatt, Russell Carpenter, Emanuel Lubeski, and Harris Savides; and he’s been witness to the insight and leadership of brilliant directors like Mike Nichols, Woody Allen, Terrence Malick, Clint Eastwood, Ron Howard, and Gus Van Sant. Photo courtesy of Mark Little, 1st AD
Lifetime Achievement Awards JANUARY 18, 2020 AT THE LOEWS HOLLYWOOD HOTEL Purchase your seats today SOCAwards.com CAMERA OPERATOR · FALL 2019
History in the Making THE FIRST LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS
by Michael Frediani, SOC Historical Chair
Left: Gregory Peck and attendee at the 1981 SOC LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS. Right: George Hurrell and John Huston.
“The normally unsung-artisans of the film and television industry stepped out from behind the cameras Saturday night at the Friars Club in Beverly Hills to pay tribute to the lifetime achievements of some of their own. Though all but unknown to the general public, they had a conspicuously good time in the spotlight, while a generous sprinkling of TV and film stars played supporting roles in what amounted to an extended family affair of about 600 attendees.” —David Smith, LA TIMES, August 25, 1981
Society co-founder Tom Laughridge, SOC born in 1932 told me, “Cinematographers were the chiefs and there was very little public praise given to the rest of the crew. So our Board of Governors en masse thought this was a great idea. I recall saying ‘Let’s do it!” Jay Nefcy, SOC added, “Another forward-thinking co-founder Tom Munshower (SOC) suggested the Friars Club, as his father-in-law was a member there, so we had our first location!” The SOC, barely two years old, not only jump-started its foray into honoring camera operators such as Jimmy King, SOC, Al Meyers, SOC, and Moe Rosenberg, SOC, but others in the industry who work tirelessly in the background—awards were but a vague aspiration. In 1981,
our nascent organization of dreamers aimed for the stars by coming together recognizing lifetime careers of camera assistants Charles Termini, Joe Raue and Walter Rankin. But the Board of Governors dove deeper awarding the first CAMMY awards to: makeup artist, Frank Westmore; hairdresser, Mary Keats; electrician, Bobby Comer; script supervisor, Meta Rebnor Wilde; newsreel cameraman, Sam Greenwald; prop man, Ed Keys; still photographer, George Hurrell; costumer, Wes Jefferies; key grip, Harry Jones; and boom operator, Clint Althouse. Gregory Peck presented the first award to camera assistant Charles Termini by stating, “My deep feelings of friendship and loyalty go back some 36 years with my man Charles Termini,” who first worked with Peck on The Yearling in 1946. Legendary portrait photographer George Hurrell was presented with his award by another legend, John Huston. In his acceptance speech Hurrell noted that of the many stars he photographed, one of his favorites was in-fact actor Walter Huston. Peter Hapke, SOC recently noted, “I think in many ways the Society has realized its envisioned goal. I am very proud that prior to the Society’s Lifetime Achievement Awards no other Hollywood society had considered presenting such an award to its members. It was this failing that gave the charter members of the SOC the idea to recognize those people. There is no movie star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame who doesn’t owe some
SOCIETY OF CAMERA OPERATORS · SOC.ORG
Harry Jones and Robert Stack.
part of their fame and fortune to the art and craft of the unseen men and women behind the camera.â€? So in 1981 the stage was set, and since then our Society has honored notables too many to list here. The up-todate compendium can be viewed at: issuu.com/cameraoperators/docs/soc-tributebook2019 SOC members and others are invited to join the next celebration at the Loews Hollywood Hotel January 18, 2020. More information here: socawards.com
Above: Courtesy Peter Hapke, SOC. Below: The first CAMMY awards. Courtesy SOC Archives
MICHAEL FREDIANI, SOC Michael Frediani, SOC has been an SOC member since the mid1980s, first as an associate member, then an active member since the early 1990s. He was elected president in 1995 and again in 2011 contributing articles and serving as editor of this magazine in the interim. Frediani is currently a 20-year member of the Board of Governors.
CAMERA OPERATOR Âˇ FALL 2019
Insight JAMES B. REID, SOC What was your most memorable day in the industry? A most memorable day was day one out in the Mongolian steppes shooting a BBC Arts docudrama on Genghis Kahn. This was a stunning, beautiful countryside, but we also experienced a stunning thunderstorms that developed quickly and violently. Our set, catering, props, animals, and working trucks were all washed away in a flash flood of hail, water, and manure. It was like a page taken from Terry Gilliam’s, Lost in La Mancha. What is the job you have yet to do but most want to do? To work on a strong historical film with plenty of controversy, that challenges one to look back onto our humanity. Credits: Dr. Sleep, The Haunting of Hill House, Fast Color, American
Photo by Nicola Goode, SMPSP
Horror Story, Getting On
MARK SCHMIDT, SOC What was one of your most challenging shot or challenging day in the industry? The most challenging shots would have to be the Steadicam work on the many dance scenes I shot for my most recent project, In the Heights. I enjoyed working with the dancers and the challenge of the movement required of me to capture the choreography. What is your most memorable day in the industry? I have had many memorable days in the industry, but the most recent memorable day was my on-screen debut with Anne Hathaway in Oceans 8. I played the role of a cameraman. Credits: In The Heights, Fosse/Verdon, Oceans 8, John Wick Chapter 2,
Photo by Jessica Miglio
Body of Lies
JEFF MUHLSTOCK, SOC What was one of your most challenging shot or challenging day in the industry? Way too many of these…I can certainly remember shooting some live concerts on Steadicam that ran well over four hours. A Bruce Springsteen show in Boston stands out. More recently, Mr. Robot has challenged me more mentally than ever before with elaborate, single-long takes. What is your most memorable day in the industry? Walking President Obama down the steps on Steadicam at the Lincoln Memorial for his inaugural celebration live on HBO! Epic moment in history and in my career. Photo by Tavernise Niko
Credits: Mr. Robot, Captain America, Smash, Across The Universe, The Get Down
SOCIETY OF CAMERA OPERATORS · SOC.ORG
SOC Roster CHARTER MEMBERS Lou Barlia Parker Bartlett Paul Basta Michael Benson * Stephanie Benson Rupert Benson Jr. Bob Bergdahl Howard Block Donald R. Burch Jerry G. Callaway David Calloway Philip Caplan Mike Chevalier Bill Clark * Dick Colean Steve Conant Jim Connell Rick Cosko Jack Courtland Elliot Davis Sam Drummy Joe Epperson Michael Ferra Ron Francis William Jay Gahret Jim Glennon Ray Gonzales Jerry Good Jack Green, ASC Gil Haimson Peter Hapke Lutz Hapke Bill Hines Jim Hoover Bill Howard John Huneck Wayne Kennan, ASC Bob Keys Gary Kibbe David Kurland Norm Langley Thomas Laughridge * Steve Lydecker Brice Mack III Joe Marquette Jr. Owen Marsh * Bob Marta * Bob McBride Ed Morey Tom Munshower Fred Murphy Al Myers Lee Nakahara Jay Nefcy Rik Nervik Leigh Nicholson King Nicholson John G. Nogle Dan Norris Skip Norton David B. Nowell, ASC Wayne Orr Richard Price Ernie Reed Arnold Rich
Randall Robinson * Parker Roe Sam Rosen Peter Salim Lou Schwartz Chris Schwiebert Michael Scott Bob Seaman Hal Shiffman Roger Smith Fred Smith Michael St. Hilaire Ray Stella Joe Steuben John C. Stevens Carol Sunflower Bill Swearingen Joseph F. Valentine Ron Vidor Sven Walnum
ACTIVE MEMBERS Peter Abraham Steve Acheson, Jr. Grant Lindsay Adams Danny Alaniz Michael Alba Jeffrey Alberts Shanele Alvarez Colin Anderson Nathan Anderson Philip Anderson Kevin W. Andrews Zefred Ansaldo Andrew Ansnick Mariana Antunano Christopher Arata Francois Archambault Joseph Arena Robert Eugene Arnold Wayne Arnold Will Arnot Ted Ashton Jr. Kjetil Astrup Mark August Andrei Austin Grayson Grant Austin Jacob Avignone Daniel Ayers Jesse Bactat Lonn Bailey Scott Baker James Baldanza David Baldwin Jr. James Ball Christopher Banting Jeff Barklage Angel Barroeta John James Beattie Jonathan Beattie Jonathan Beck Tim Bellen Stefano Ben Garrett Benson Brian Bernstein Justin Besser
CAMERA OPERATOR · FALL 2019
George M. Bianchini George Billinger Howard H. Bingham Daniel Bishop Maceo Bishop Bonnie S. Blake Jason Blount Jeff Bollman John Boyd Katie Boyum Hilaire Brosio Garrett Brown Kenny Brown Pete Brown Scott Browner Neal Bryant Stephen Buckingham Robin Buerki Gary Bush Rod Calarco Stephen S. Campanelli J. Christopher Campbell JR D. Campbell Susan A. Campbell Jeffrey Canfield Stewart Cantrell Jose A. Cardenas Robert Carlson Jeffrey Carolan Michael Carstensen Peter Cavaciuti Vincent Cerone Dave Chameides Lou Chanatry Joe Chess Jr. John Christopher Cuthbert Anthony Cobbs Craig Cockerill Steven Cohen Marcis Cole Keith Colodny Kris A. Conde Andrew Glenn Conder Brown Cooper Dan Coplan Fares Corbani Gilles Daniel Corbeil Luke Cormack Ross Coscia Javier A. Costa Richard J. Cottrell Tom Cox Rod Crombie Bradley Crosbie Jeff L. Crumbley Grant Culwell Francois Daignault Nicholas Davidoff Markus Davids Collin Davis Richard W. Davis Roberto De Angelis Andrew A. Dean Anthony Deemer William Demeritt
Kris Andrew Denton Kevin Descheemaeker Joel Deutsch Don Devine Kenny Dezendorf Twojay Dhillon David E. Diano Troy Dick Jim van Dijk Alfeo Dixon Timothy Dolan Tetsuyuki Domae Rick Drapkin Megan Drew Scott C. Dropkin David Drzewiecki Mitch Dubin Simon Duggan, ACS Orlando Duguay Mark Duncan Jeffrey Dutemple Allen D. Easton Pauline Edwards William Eichler David Elkins Jason Ellson David Emmerichs Kevin J. Emmons Ramon Engle Ezra Epwell Alex Escarpanter Steve Essig Brant S. Fagan Diane L. Farrell Dianne Teresa Farrington Gregory Faysash Jesse Michael Feldman Ellie Ann Fenton Michael Ferris George Feucht James Anthony Firios Andrew Fisher Lance Fisher Dawn Fleischman Torquil Fleming-Boyd Michael-Ryan Fletchall Eric Fletcher Christopher Flores Michael Flueck Houman Forough Felix Forrest Ian Forsyth Justin Foster Steve G. Fracol Malkuth “Mo” Frahm Keith Francis Tom “Frisby” Fraser James Frater David J. Frederick Michael Frediani Brian Freesh Steven French Dan Frenkel Guido Frenzel Mick Froehlich Jeff Fry Michael Fuchs Michael Fylyshtan Paul M. Gardner
David Gasperik Rusty Geller Eric Gerber Michael Germond George R. Gifford William Spencer Gillis Christopher Glasgow Mark Goellnicht Daniel Gold James Goldman Robert Gorelick Roger Grange Afton M. Grant Chad Griepentrog Ric Griffith James Gucciardo Robert Guernsey Pedro Guimaraes Craig Haagensen Chris C. Haarhoff Jess Haas Bob Hagerty Kevin Haggerty Geoffrey K. Haley John Hankammer Simon Harding Tim Harland Joshua Harrison Matt Harshbarger Daryl Hartwell Kent Harvey Chris Hayes Nikk Hearn-Sutton Mike Heathcote David Heide Dawn J. Henry Alan Hereford Steven F. Heuer Kevin Hewitt Brandon Hickman David Hirschmann Jamie Hitchcock Scott Hoffman Abe Holtz Jerry Holway Paul Horn Casey Hotchkiss Bradley Hruboska Colin Hudson Ashley Hughes Philip Hurn Matthew Hutchens Spencer Hutchins Alexa Ihrt Dave Isern Christopher Ivins Eugene W. Jackson III Jerry Jacob Francis James Alec Jarnagin Gary Jay Simon Jayes Andrew “AJ” Johnson Christopher D. Jones Quenell Jones Steven Jones Sven Joukes John H. Joyce David Judy
Mark Jungjohann David Kanehann Mark Karavite Lawrence Karman Jason Kay Derek Keener Adam T. Keith David Kimelman Taro Kimura Dan Kneece * Rory Robert Knepp David T. Knox Beth Kochendorfer Robert Kositchek Bryan Koss Bud Kremp Kris Krosskove Jay Kulick Mark LaBonge Thomas Lappin Per Larsson Jeff Latonero Sergio Leandro da Silva Richard Leible Alan Lennox Rachael Levine Ilan Levin Mikael Levin Sarah Levy Jimmy Lindsey, ASC Abigail Linne Hugh C. Litfin John Lizzio Christopher Lobreglio Chris Loh Henry “Hal” Long Patrick Longman George Loomis Jessica Lopez Benjamin Lowell Greg Lundsgaard Kenji Luster Guido Lux Rob Macey Vincent C. Mack Paul S. Magee Giuseppe Malpasso Kim Marks Justin Marx Jared G. Marshall Cedric Martin Adam Marschall Philip J. Martinez Daniele Massaccesi J. Steven Matzinger Nathan Maulorico Brennan Jakob Maxwell Parris Mayhew Peter McCaffrey Bill McClelland Jim McConkey Calum McFarlane David B. McGill Patrick McGinley Ian McGlocklin Michael P. McGowan Christopher T.J. McGuire Ossie McLean Aaron Medick
Alan Mehlbrech Luisa Mendoza Hilda Mercado Olivier Merckx Matias Mesa Jack Messitt Mark J. Meyers Mike Mickens Duane Mieliwocki Mike Milia Darryl Miller Marc A. Miller Phillip Miller Thomas Miller Ethan Mills Andrew Mitchell William Mitchell William Molina Mike Mollica Mitch Mommaerts Christopher Moone Mark Emery Moore K. Neil Moore Matthew Moriarty Josiah Morgan Dana Morris Josh Morton Manolo Rojas Moscopulos John “Buzz” Moyer Jeff Muhlstock Nick Müller Michael James Mulvey Scott T. Mumford Peter Munson, Jr. Keith Murphy Sean Murray Saade Mustafa Dale Myrand Yoshinobu Nagamori Leo J. Napolitano Marco Naylor Robert Newcomb Julye Newlin George Niedson William Nielsen Kenny Niernberg Terence Nightingall Kurt Nolen Randy Nolen Austin Nordell Casey Norton William O’Drobinak Mark D. O’Kane Michael D. Off Andrew William Oliver Tony O’Loughlan John Orland Brian Osmond Kako Oyarzun Georgia Tornai Packard * Heather Page Nick Paige Curtis E. Pair Victor J. Pancerev Noah Pankow Andrew Parke Patrick J. Pask Micah Pastore Al “Tiko” Pavoni Matthew Pebler Paul C. Peddinghaus Karin Pelloni Andre Perron
John Perry Matthew A. Petrosky Jonathan F. Phillips Alan Pierce Theo Pingarelli John Pingry Jens Piotrowski Joseph Piscitelli David Plakos Carl Prinzi Sasha Proctor Adrian Pruett James Puli Louis Puli Kelly Pun Ryan Purcell Yavir Ramawtar Hector Ramirez Juan M. Ramos James B. Reid John Rhode Dax Rhorer Selene Richholt Alicia Robbins Ari Robbins Peter Robertson Brooks Robinson Dale Rodkin Eric Roizman Sharra Romany John Romeo Peter Rosenfeld Jesse Roth Rafael Sahade James Sainthill P. Scott Sakamoto Sanjay Sami David M. Sammons Joel San Juan Juanjo Sanchez Bry Thomas Sanders Milton A. Santiago Ricardo Sarmiento Daniel Sauvé Gerard Sava Sean Savage Ron Schlaeger Michael Scherlis Mark Schmidt Job Scholtze Vadim Schulz David Jean Schweitzer Fabrizio Sciarra Bob Scott Brian Scott Ian Seabrook Dave Selle Benjamin Semanoff Lisa Sene Barry Seybert Barnaby Shapiro David Shawl Chelsea Lee Shepherd Osvaldo Silvera Jr. Gregory Smith Marques Smith Needham B. Smith III Teddy Smith Vanessa Smith Dean Robert Smollar John Sosenko Andy Sparaco Mark Sparrough
Benjamin Xavier Spek William Spencer Gills Francis Spieldenner Lisa L. Stacilauskas Robert Starling Meagan Stockemer Thomas N Stork Timothy Sutherland David L. Svenson Kenichi Taguchi David Taicher Ian S. Takahashi Yousheng Tang Jaron Tauch Gregor Tavenner Brian Taylor Christopher Taylor Gregory Taylor Paige Thomas David James Thompson John Toll, ASC Eduardo Torres Remi Tournois Neil C. Toussaint Jamie Trent Bryan Trieb Bela Trutz Michael Tsimperopoulos Chris Tufty * Dan Turrett Brian Tweedt Joseph Urbanczyk Matt Valentine Dale Vance, Jr. Paul D. Varrieur Leandro Vaz Da Silva Ron Veto Adi Visser Stefan von Bjorn Rob Vuona Bill Waldman Michael J. Walker Timothy N. Walker Gareth Ward Gretchen Warthen Mic Waugh Raney “Bo” Webb Aiken Weiss Drew Welker Alex Wentworth Des Whelan Robert Whitaker Mande Whitaker Parker Whittemore Jeffrey Wilkins Ken Willinger Tom Wills Chad Wilson David A. Wolf Ian D. Woolston-Smith Santiago Yniguez Brian Young Lohengrin Zapiain Chad Zellmer Mirko Zlatar Brenda Zuniga
ASSOCIATE MEMBERS Christine Adams Justin Aguirre Jeechul Ahn
Brian Aichlmayr Colin Akoon Jamie Alac Tyler Allison Ana M. Amortegui Greg Arch Fernando Arguelles Michael Artsis Joshua Ausley Richard Avalon Laurence Avenet-Bradley John Bailie Blaine Baker Denson Baker Ryan Vogel Baker Scott Gene Baker Jeffrey Ball Thomas Bango Tyson Banks Michael Barron Craig Bauer Adam Wayne Beck Trevor Beeler Andres Bermudez Justin Berrios Robert Beverlin Nicholas Bianchi Alicia Blair Stas Bondarenko Peter Bonilla Jean-Paul Bonneau David Boyd Katherine Brennan Maksim Brenner Mary Brown Rochelle Brown Donald Brownlow Deborah Brozina Clyde E. Bryan Sasha D. Burdett Jorge Bustamante Leslie McCarty Chip Byrd Eusebio Cabrera Anthony Q. Caldwell Calvin Callaway Justin Cameron Ryan Campbell Jack Carpenter David John Carroll Marc Casey Quaid Cde Baca Kirsten Celo Johanna Cerati Kenneth Chan Ian Chilcote Damian Church Celeste Cirillo-Penn Kerry Clemens Mark Cohen Gregory Paul Collier Antoine Combelles Nathan J. Conant Shannon Connally Chad Cooper Christopher “Chase” Cope Gabriel Paul Copeland Gareth Paul Cox Richard P. Crudo, ASC Jack Cummings Chad Daring Farhad Ahmed Dehlvi Enrique Xavier Del Rio
Galindo James DeMello John Densmore Johnny Derango Caleb Des Cognets Ronald E. Deveaux Vincent DeVries Eric Druker Matthew Duclos Keith Dunkerley Colin Duran Brian James Dzyak Robert Eagle Edward Endres David T. Eubank Allen Farst Nicholas A. Federoff Ellie Ann Fenton Kristin Fieldhouse Stephanie Fiorante Tom Fletcher Mike Fortin Tammy Fouts Michael A. Freeman Fred M. Frintrup Hiroyuki Fukuda Ruixi “Royce” Gao Sandra Garcia Geoffrey George Hannah Getz Shingo Gima Jake Glaviano Daniel Godar Michael Goi, ASC Al Gonzalez Emily Gonzales Geoff Goodloe John M. Goodner Giulia Governo Noble Gray John Greenwood Adam Gregory Phil Gries Ryan Grosjean Heather Grothues Tomasz Gryz Lauren Guiteras Josef “Joe” Gunawan Shelly Gurzi Marco Gutierrez Jason Hafer Badra Haidra Bob Hall Adam Hamer Mufeng “Derek” Han Tobias Winde Harbo David “DJ” Harder James Hart John Hart Kyle Hartman Jason Hawkins Adam Heim Andres Hernandez Orlando Herrera Daniel Hertzog Anthony P. Hettinger John M. Hill, Jr. Andrew Hoehn Chris Horvath Nichole Huenergardt Brett Hurd Jake Iesu Toshiyuki Imai
Andrew A. Irvine Gregory Irwin Michael Izquierdo Mark Jacobs Neeraj Jain Jendra Jarnagin Jennie Jeddry Keith Jefferies Lacey Joy Henry Bourne Joy IV Jessica S. Jurges Timothy Kane Ray Karwel Frank Kay April Kelley Alan G. Kelly Mark H. Killian Dae Hyun Kim Douglas Kirkland Sean Kisch Christian Kitscha Michael Klaric Michael Klimchak Nick Kolias Mark Knudson Robert Kraetsch Brian Kronenberg Robert La Bonge Michael Landrian Laurence Langton Tung Le Barbie Leung Alan Levi Mark Levin Ilya Jo Lie-Nielsen Jun Li Tian Liu Niels Lindelien Marius Lobont Eamon Long Gordon Lonsdale Dominic Lopez Bob Lord Jasmine Lord Carl Nenzen Loven Justin Lutsky Christopher Lymberis Dominik Mainl Steven Mangurten Max Margolin Aaron Marquette Nicole Jannai Martinez Emma Massalone Joshua Mayes Brett Mayfield Ray McCort David William McDonald Mike McEveety Josh McKague Nathan Meade Rocker Meadows Marcel Melanson Alexandra Menapace Sophia Meneses Christopher Metcalf Jonathan Miller K. Adriana Modlin-Liebrecht Madelyn Momano Michael Monar Kenneth R. Montgomery Autumn Moran Vincent Moretto
SOCIETY OF CAMERA OPERATORS · SOC.ORG
Dean Morin Mark Morris Evan Morton Matthew C. Mosher Damon Mosier Jekaterina Most David Mun Matthew Murnan Nicholas Matthew Musco Hassan Nadji Sam Naiman Navid John Namazi Zach Nasits Michael Nelson Colemar Nichols Dennis Noack Chastin Noblett Jose Maria Noriega Louis Normandin Crescenzo G.P. Notarile, ASC Tiffany Null Jorel O’Dell Bodie Orman Pascal Orrego Jarrod Oswald Paul Overacker Justin Painter Larry Mole Parker Steven D. Parker Art Parnitudom Andrew Parrotte Florencia Perez Cardenal Angelica Perez-Castro Mariia Perlifonova Anthony Perrella, Jr. Mark W. Petersen Jon Philion Tyler Phillips W. S. Pivetta Ted Polmanski Robert Primes, ASC Joe Prudente Delia Quinonez David Rakoczy Jem Rayner Brice Reid Claudio Rietti Nathan Rigaud Mario Rodriguez Tyler Rocheleau Andy Romero Tim Rook Peter J. Rooney Daria Rountree Jordi Ruiz Maso Jan Ruona Dylan Rush Kish Sadhvani Christian Salas-Martos William Tanner Sampson Sean Sanchez Christian Satrazemis Chris Sattlberger Nick Savander Steve Saxon Ryan Schultz Angelia Sciulli Carolyn Scott Christopher Seehase Brian Sergott Alexander Seyum Sathish Shankutty
Haley Shepard James Shipley Yael Shulman Stephen Siegel Peter Sikkens Karina Maria Silva Anil Singh Michael Skor Jan Sluchak Joshua Smith Robert F. Smith Tyson Smith John Snedden Laurent Soriano David Speck Picha Srisansanee Derek Stettler Michael Stine Landis Stokes Joshua Stringer Aymae Sulick Jeremy Sultan Andy Sydney Tiffany Taira Fabian Tehrani Matthew Thorp John Twesten Jonathan Tyler Thomas “Joe” Tyler Justin Uchendu Gary Ushino Daniel Urbain Sandra Valde Thomas Valko Michael Velitis Nick Vera Benjamin Verhulst Marshall Victory Jesse Vielleux Breanna Villani Miguel Angel Vinas Terry Wall Louis-Pascal Walsh William Walsh Neil Watson Jared Wilson Ryan Wood Peiqi “Eric” Wu Tim Wu Watcharawit “Koon” Ya-Inta Tim Yoder Yasutomo Yoshida Scot Zimmerman Evan Zissimopulos
CORPORATE Abel Cine Anton Bauer Arri, Inc. Atomos B&H Foto & Electronics Corp. Band Pro Film & Video Blackmagic Design Canon, USA Inc. Carl Zeiss Microimaging, Inc. Chapman/Leonard Studio Equipment CineDrones Cinema Devices Cinemoves Inc.
CAMERA OPERATOR · FALL 2019
Codex Cooke Optics Limited CW Sonderoptic Duclos Lenses Freefly Systems Fujifilm/Fujinon Filmtools, Inc. Geo Film Group, Inc. Helinet Aviation Services History For Hire Imagecraft Productions, Inc. JL Fisher, Inc. JVC Professional Video Products Keslow Camera Litepanels Manios Digital & Film Matthews Studio Equipment Monster Remotes Other World Computing Panasonic Cinema Panavision Preston Cinema Systems Pursuit Aviation RED Digital Cinema Schneider Optics Sigma Sim International Sony Electronics That Cat Camera Support Tiffen Transvideo Ver Wooden Camera
EDUCATORS John M. Grace Ron McPherson Rafael Nobre Mauricio Vega Ralph W. Watkins
HONORARY John Bailey, ASC Tilman Buettner James Burrows Alexander Calzatti Trevor Coop Roger Corman Dean Cundey, ASC Bruce Doering Clint Eastwood Tom Hatten Ron Howard Gale Anne Hurd Sarah Jones Michael Keaton Ron Kelley Kathleen Kennedy-Marshall Jerry Lewis Gary Lucchesi Larry McConkey A. Linn Murphree M.D. Diana Penilla Steven Spielberg Robert A. Torres George Toscas Roy H. Wagner, ASC Alfre Woodard
RETIRED MEMBERS Aldo Antonelli Paul Babin Tom Barron Al Bettcher James Blanford Bruce Catlin Ivan Craig Richard A. Cullis George Spiro Dibie, ASC Robert M. Feller Jerry Fuller Dick Fisher Anthony Gaudioz Wynn Hammer Ken Hilmer Gary Holt Robert C. Horne Douglas H. Knapp Michael Little Heather MacKenzie James Mann Stan McClain * Michael McClary Ron McManus Mike Meinardus Emmanuel Metaxas Robert “Bob” Moore Sol Negrin, ASC David L. Parrish Aaron Pazanti Richard Rawlings Jr., ASC Andy Romanoff Frank Ruttencutter Carl Schumaker Sr. Chuck Schuman Philip D. Schwartz Guy Skinner George B. Stephenson Gene Talvin Joseph N. Tawil Ronald Veto Adam S. Ward
STUDENTS Jack Armstrong Reynaldo Aquino Sammy Avgi Melissa Baltierra Zakrey Barisione Bedik Bedikian Ziryab Ben Brahem Caitlin Brown Jian Cao Stephen Carlus Carmen Chan Jiayao Chen Shun Man Cheung Yongmin Choi Petr Cikhart Autumn Collins Richard Colman Dennis Connelly Guilherme Costa Andrea Damuding John Darian William Dauel Dakota Diel Michael A. Garcia Sam Gilbert Christian T. Hall Yuqiao Han
Marisa Harris Myles Anthony Holt Guanchun Hu LaKisha Renee Hughes Carolyn Scott Hunt Piankhi Iknaton Daniel James Crystal Kelley Sung Yen Lai John P. Lansdale Shangche Lee Eric Liberacki Bocong Lin Ari Linn Tianyi Liu Bali Majji Francesco Malandrino Jeff-Steven Arevalo Mojica Fabian Montes Joshua Montiel Takuya Nagayabu Lucien Night Ruben Palacios Weerapat “Art” Parnitudom Connor Pollard Melissa Pratt Karina Prieto Macias Cheng Qian Ryan Richard Matthew Richter Marco Rivera Edgar Santamaria Emil Schonstrom Simon Sidell
Carley Steichen Jennifer St. Hilaire-Sanchez Amara Stinson Grace Thomas Joshua Thomas Kendra Tidrick Romas Usakovas Akina Van de Velde Anna Vialova Gideon Watson Watcharawit “Koon” Ya-inta Kehan Yang Linxuan “Stanley” Yu Cong Zhou Yiyao Zhu
* Past SOC President Current as of October 1, 2019.
AD INDEX Blackmagic Design 3 blackmagicdesign.com Chapman/Leonard Studio C2
Equipment chapmanleonard.com Cinemoves
cinemoves.com J. L. Fisher
jlfisher.com Leitz Cine Wetzlar 11 leitz-cine.com Schneider Optics
schneideroptics.com Sony Pictures
sonypictures.com That Cat Camera Support
Curated by Ian S. Takahashi, SOC society_of_camera_operators
society_of_camera_operators @studlycam says HI from a bathroom in Woodland Hills ———————————————————————— #bestJobEver #thesoc #cameraOperator #Photographer #Camera #Lens #DirectorOfPhotography #Cinematography #Cinematographer #Videography #Photography #Videography #PhotographyIsLife #CameraSupport #CameraAccessories #SOC #bts #movies #film #TheSOC ———————————————————————— image.tech.nick I usually take my D.I.T. cart too when I gotta go. ericpatch You know you can dock the camera to go to the bathroom. LOL!
society_of_camera_operators (@steadimike) Serenity—Shot by Jess Hall BSC (Ghost in the Shell, Transcendence, Hot Fuzz) pictured on the left, myself next to him and A Camera Operator Lars Cox @larsographer far right, a well respected DOP and Operator in South Africa. Graham Bartholomew @grahambart ———————————————————————— #TheSoc #bestJobEver #thesoc #cameraOperator #Photographer #Camera #Lens #DirectorOfPhotography #Cinematography #Cinematographer #Videography #Photography #Videography #PhotographyIsLife #CameraSupport #CameraAccessories #SOC #bts #movies #film ————————————————————————-
Photo by Jake Koenig
Follow the SOC membership on Instagram. See iconic photos from behind-the-scenes, on-set backstories, and images that inspire. Join in the conversation! @ Society_of_Camera_Operators 44
SOCIETY OF CAMERA OPERATORS · SOC.ORG
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