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SUMMER 2021

SOC.ORG VOL. 30, NO3

LOVECRAFT COUNTRY

CAMERA OPERATOR ·SUMMER 2021

SNAKE EYES: GI JOE ORIGINS PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURATION 1


chapman-leonard.com

SOCIETY OF CAMERA OPERATORS · SOC.ORG

@chapman_leonard


CONTENTS DEPARTMENTS

FEATURES

4 LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT 6 NEWS & NOTES

10 LOVECRAFT COUNTRY

Ask an Active, Eduction Offerings, Membership Portal Phase Two, and more

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8 THE SOC CAMERA OPERATOR OF THE YEAR 26 SMOOTH OPERATOR by Marcis Cole, SOC

30 CORPORATE CORNER Teradek and ARRI

Of Monsters, Magic, and Hope by Bob Gorelick, SOC

16 SNAKE EYES: G.I. JOE ORIGINS Action in Multiple Styles an interview with Roberto De Angelis, SOC by David Daut

22 LIVE OPERATING: INAUGURATION OF THE 46TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES an interview with Daniel Erbeck, SOC by David Daut

32 WHAT'S YOUR STORY...? by Jessica Lopez, SOC

33 INSIGHT Meet the Members

34 SOCIAL SOC

16 22 30 CAMERA OPERATOR ·SUMMER 2021

ON THE COVER: Rachel Brosnahan with Jim McConkey, SOC, on the set of THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL. This image was safely executed under strict COVID-19 safety protocols. Photo by Christopher Saunders / Amazon Prime Video.

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Society of Camera Operators Technical Standards Eric Fletcher Corporate Member Craig Bauer, George Billinger, Mitch Dubin, Dave Frederick, Simon Jayes, Sarah Levy, Bill McClelland, Jim McConkey, Matt Moriarty, Dale Myrand, Dan Turrett, David Sammons Education Colin Anderson, Will Arnot, Bonnie Blake, Dave Chameides, Mitch Dubin, Dave Emmerichs, Mick Froelich, Craig Haagensen, Geoff Haley, Sarah Levy, Simon Jayes, Jim McConkey, Larry McConkey, Matt Moriarty, Jeff Muhlstock, John “Buzz” Moyer, Jamie Silverstein, Dave Thompson, Chris Wittenborn Technology Andrew Ansnick, Luke Cormack, Rich Davis, David Emmerichs, Eric Fletcher (Chair), Steve Fracol, Dave Fredericks, Chris Haarhoff, Mike Heathcote, Jamie Hitchcock, Simon Jayes, Doc Karmen, Mark LaBonge, Bill McClelland, Rocker Meadows, John Perry, Manolo Rojas, Sanjay Sami, David Sammons, Job Schotz, Gretchen Warthen Inclusion Sharra Romany (co-chair), Nikk Hearn-Sutton (co-chair), Olivia Abousaid, Shanele Alvarez, Alfeo Dixon, Pauline Edwards, Alexandra Menapace, Jeremiah Smith, Lisa Stacilauskas, Gretchen Warthen, Mande Whitaker Social Media and Content Ian S. Takahashi, SOC (Committee Chair), Sharra Romany, SOC, Gergely Harsanyi, Ryan Lewis,

Board of Governors Board and Officers as of July 16, 2021

OFFICERS President George Billinger 1st Vice President Mitch Dubin 2nd Vice President Dan Turrett Secretary Lisa Stacilauskas Treasurer Bill McClelland Sergeant-at-Arms Dan Gold

BOARD MEMBERS Colin Anderson George Billinger Mitch Dubin David Emmerichs Eric Fletcher Michael Frediani Daniel Gold Geoffrey Haley Bill McClelland Matthew Moriarty David Sammons Lisa Stacilauskas David Thompson Daniel Turrett Gretchen Warthen

COMMITTEE CHAIRS Awards George Billinger, Dan Gold, Geoff Haley, Bill McClelland, John “Buzz” Moyer, Dale Myrand, Benjamin Spek, Dave Thompson, Dan Turrett, Rob Vuona Charities Brian Taylor Membership Drive Lisa Stacilauskas Historical Mike Frediani Membership Dan Gold, Dan Turrett

Brandon Hickman, Emily Lien, Agnelia Scuilli, Gloria Bali, Julio Tardaguila

STAFF AND CONSULTANTS Bookkeeper Angela Delgado Calligrapher Carrie Imai Business Consultant Kristin Petrovich and Createasphere

CAMERA OPERATOR MAGAZINE Publishing & Executive Editor Kristin Petrovich Managing Editor Kate McCallum Art Director Stephanie Cameron Advertising Jeff Victor

CONTRIBUTORS Marcis Cole, SOC George Billinger, SOC David Daut Roberto De Angelis, SOC Daniel Erbeck, SOC Bob Gorelick, SOC Jessica Lopez, SOC Philip Martinez, SOC Kate McCallum Aaron Medick, SOC Jack Messitt, SOC

TRIVIA Source imdb.com

TO SUBSCRIBE or for subscription information questions: SOC.org or 818-563-9110

FOR ADVERTISING INFORMATION 818-563-9110 or socoffice@soc.org For digital editions and back issues: SOC.org Camera Operator is a quarterly publication, published by the Society of Camera Operators.

Is a registered trademark. All rights reserved.

PHOTOGRAPHY Eli Joshua Adé Shanele Alvarez Ed Araquel Myles Aronowitz Marcis Cole, SOC Mitch Haddad John Johnson Ruby Martinez Elizabeth Morris Christopher Saunders Niko Tavernise

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Letter from the President Dear SOC Members and Camera Operator Readers: Welcome to the 2021 summer edition of the SOC Camera Operator magazine. As the pandemic continues on its relentless path, I hope and pray that you and all of your families, friends, and communities are safe and healthy. In spite the challenges and uncertainties we face, our organization has made tremendous growth. We have definitely used the circumstances and the time to our advantage. Let’s take a look at where we stand and what lies ahead. The SOC has made a significant impact in the virtual realm. We now have a new Member Portal offering membership the opportunity to set up a profile, in addition to our Content Portal with archives of incredible online learning experiences from the Education Committee. The Mentorship Program continues to see success. The ability to connect with and learn from the “best of the best” has become a hugely important part of engaging and giving back to the membership. We have also formed an Inclusion Committee. We are in the process of learning and listening to our members. With the power and ambition of our members to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. You could not ask for a finer group of passionate individuals. The Society’s Awards Committee has already started planning the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Awards. Their commitment to celebrating the art and craft of camera operating is demonstrated in their commitment and hard work on the awards. We look forward to announcing details soon. I want to sincerely thank the all the committees and the individuals participating for their unyielding commitment and dedication to the SOC. It’s important to remember that without all of their tremendous efforts we would not be where we are today. The SOC recently held the Board of Governors election. I have had the pleasure of serving as President for the last couple of terms. I am again on the Board and we will meet, vote, and announce shortly the Officers of the SOC. Thank you to all the past board members for serving, the members who ran in the election, and for the future work of the incoming Board. I wish you all the rest of a summer that greets you with strength and resilience. We are destined for good things to come. Regards always,

George Billinger, SOC Society of Camera Operators, President

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SOCIETY OF CAMERA OPERATORS · SOC.ORG


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News & Notes NEW INITIATIVE: ASK AN ACTIVE The SOC is creating a new social media initiative, Ask an Active, to share our Active Members’ wealth of knowledge. All you need to do is submit a video of yourself asking a concise question about operating, as broad or specific a question as you’d like. If an Active Member selects your video, they will record their answer and the two videos will be edited together and shared on the SOC’s social media channels. Tech specs: 16x9 please, with the speaker featured in a 4x3 area of the frame. The initial use of these videos will be 60 seconds in length, so questions need to be concise. One question per video submission. Make sure you include your name on the video as well, but there is no need to introduce yourself in the question portion of the clip. We’ll use your name in a lower third. These videos can be submitted via thesocsmc@gmail.com.

AWARDS & CELEBRATION RECORDING

35, Full Frame, and Beyond. Attendees learned how to maximize Full Frame and Super 35 ZEISS lens on any camera system regardless of the sensor size and analyzed lens coverage, crop factor, lens equivalency, magnification, and more. In August, the SOC will present an online session featuring a discussion with Thomas C. Lee M.D. and Simon Jayes, SOC called VISION: A Look Into Eyesight and Eye Care for Camera Operators.

SOC HAPPY HOUR The SOC Happy Hours have been great fun! A special thanks to SOC hosts Dan Gold, SOC, Matt Moriarty, SOC, and Ian Takahashi, SOC, who hosted the June Happy Hour, and to Richard Davis, SOC,  Eric Fletcher, SOC, and Ian Takahashi, SOC, for hosting the Happy Hour in July. The August Happy Hour will be hosted by  Alfeo Dixon, SOC, Pauline Edwards, SOC,  and Nikk Hearn-Sutton, SOC—thanks to each of you! Watch the newsletters for more upcoming Happy Hour dates and times. It’s a fun and casual way to get to know our members.

Thank you to the Awards Committee, volunteers, and staff who worked to make this year’s Society of Camera Operators Camera Operator of the Year Awards & Creative Vision Celebration a success. It is with deep gratitude that we thank the sponsors of the Awards & Celebration: Presenting Sponsor: CineMoves  Title Sponsors: Canon, Chapman Leonard, and Tiffen  Supporting Sponsors: The Studio, B&H, Black Magic Design, ICG Local 600, SONY, That Cat, and Zeiss  The complete Awards & Celebration was recorded and can be watched again in the Membership Content Portal.

EDUCATION OFFERINGS The SOC Education Committee continues their dedication to presenting informative events. In June, the SOC and Canon presented an online event, Band Pro Canon FF S35 Workshop. Band Pro's CTO Randy Wedick, Canon Fellow Michael Bravin, and Canon Senior Trainer Charles Zablan presented a demo of Canon's full frame C500 Mark II and S35 C300 Mark III cameras and a selection of Canon zooms, followed by a Q&A. In July, the SOC and ZEISS cine team presented a practical workshop, ZEISS Cine Lenses for Super

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MEMBERSHIP PORTAL PHASE TWO! The SOC Membership Portal has been launched. All members in good standing received an email on June 28 outlining the details to set up your membership profile. We look forward to continuing to bring value to your membership and participation with the SOC.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED The Society is seeking members that would like to volunteer for upcoming events and administrative assistance. If you are interested in these volunteer opportunities, please email Membership@soc.org.

SOCIETY OF CAMERA OPERATORS · SOC.ORG


Welcome to Our New Board of Governors George Billinger, SOC

Mitch Dubin, SOC

David Emmerichs, SOC

Michael Frediani, SOC

Dan Gold, SOC

Geoff Haley, SOC

Nikk Hearn-Sutton, SOC

Bill McClelland, SOC

Matthew Moriarty, SOC

John “Buzz” Moyer, SOC

Sharra Romany, SOC

David Sammons, SOC

Daniel Turrett, SOC

Gretchen Warthen, SOC

Thompson, CAMERADave OPERATOR ·SUMMERSOC 2021

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The SOC

Camera Operator of the Year AWARDS & CELEBRATION CAN BE VIEWIED ON THE MEMBERSHIP PROTAL

 WATCH the Awards This year, the SOC 2021 Camera Operator of the Year Awards & Creative Vision Celebration went virtual on April 11, 2021, and it was a great success! The Society brought together the community and celebrated the industry’s triumphs, masterful storytelling, and standout creativity. The nominees for the Camera Operator of the Year Film & Television categories were presented with their awards live on ZOOM.

Geoffrey Haley, SOC, on the set of CHERRY. Photo courtesy of Apple TV+

COY RECIPIENTS: SOC 2020 Camera Operator of the Year–Film Geoffrey Haley, SOC Cherry SOC 2020 Camera Operator of the Year–Television Jim McConkey, SOC The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Jim McConkey, SOC, on the set of THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL. Photo courtesy of Amazon Prime Video

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SOCIETY OF CAMERA OPERATORS · SOC.ORG


Camera Operator of the Year Nominees

Don Devine, SOC Greyhound and Perry Mason

George Billinger, SOC Greyhound

Geoffrey Haley, SOC Cherry

John “Buzz” Moyer, SOC The Hunt

Jason Ellson, SOC Mulan

Simon Jayes, SOC The Mandalorian

Sasha Proctor, SOC The Outpost

Andrew Mitchell, SOC Ratched

Jim McConkey, SOC The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Henry Tirl Wandavision

CAMERA OPERATOR ·SUMMER 2021

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Lovecraft Country Of Monsters, Magic, and Hope by Bob Gorelick, SOC

Jurnee Smollett, Jonathan Majors, Courtney B. Vance in LOVECRAFT COUNTRY. Photo by Eli Joshua Adé / HBO

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SOCIETY OF CAMERA OPERATORS · SOC.ORG


Lovecraft Country is an American horror drama television series developed by Misha Green based on and serving as a continuation of the 2016 novel of the same name by Matt Ruff. Starring Jurnee Smollett and Jonathan Majors, it premiered on August 16, 2020, on HBO, and is produced by Monkeypaw Productions, Bad Robot Productions, and  Warner Bros. Television Studios. The series is about Atticus Black, a young Black man, who travels across the segregated 1950s United States in search of his missing father, learning of dark secrets plaguing a town on which famous horror writer H. P. Lovecraft supposedly based the location of many of his fictional tales. TRIVIA: This is a pretty successful year for actress Jurnee Smollett. Besides Lovecraft Country, she also starred in one of the biggest films of the year, Birds of Prey, as the Black Canary. 

 WATCH TRAILER NOW FADE IN: I’ve been a camera operator since 1987 and a member of the SOC since 1998. I got involved in this series with the help of a producer, Dana Robin, with whom I had worked with on several movies over the years. Dana called and said that he was doing this show, and would I be interested and available. He set up a meeting with the DP, Rob McLachlan, ASC/CSC. I had never worked with Rob before, and was excited to meet him. Rob is fantastic to work with. He’s a veteran cinematographer who knows what he wants, how to work with directors, and how to bring out the most in his crew. The one thing that Rob asked me during the interview that stood out was, “Do you make your job look easy?” Rob was extremely relaxed and laid back himself. He seemed like he valued a relaxed energy on set and that he knew I had sufficient experience to do the job, but wanted a camera operator who was relaxed, confident, and did not make himself the most important person on set. Being a “team player” is one of the most important qualities for me to strive for as a leader of a department. I told him that. By the end of the interview I wasn’t quite sure

CAMERA OPERATOR ·SUMMER 2021

how my response went over, but a few days later I received a message from Dana that Rob wanted me on board.

THE TEAM Lovecraft Country had an extremely ambitious schedule, and so they used the talents of two DP’s—Rob McLachlan and Michael Watson. Rob was what you might call the “primary DP,” and he set the tone and look for the series. But Michael came in and not only matched Rob’s look, but also brought his influence in the most complimentary of ways. When you look at all the episodes you will be hard-pressed to see a difference in look or style between them. That is a testament to Michael Watson who had “big shoes to fill” in keeping with Rob’s masterful cinematography. We shot on Sony Venice cameras, with Zeiss Supreme Primes in full frame, 6k format. The high resolution was important in terms of giving this very VFX intensive show a strong palette to work with. We also carried a Maxima head, and a Mosys L40 remote head. We used these tools consistently throughout the series.

I would like to mention A camera 1st AC, Stephen Early. Stephen is not only a very talented focus puller, but he is also a very enthusiastic participant in the overall process. Not only does he manage the department well, he was often there for me as an additional set of eyes and ears, keeping me aware of things I might have missed. He, along with his team, Cory Blake and Kyle Ford, kept the always-changing equipment flowing without incident—and I should also mention—they kept us hydrated, caffeinated, and fed! The rest of the camera crew consisted of Bill Saxelby, B camera/Steadicam operator; Keith Pokorski, 1st AC on B camera; 2nd ACs, Nicole Castro and Lauren Gentry; DITs, Manuel Smith and Nick Kay; and set photographer, Joshua Eli Adé.

THE STYLE, LOOK AND FEEL Although I was not involved in forming the style or look of the show, Rob and Misha Green had a very well thought out concept, and that was communicated to every department. Misha—the writer, director, and showrunner—had this very determined and spirited plan that she brought to the table every day. And she was there, with us, in the

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TRIVIA: The series is based on Matt Ruff's 2016 novel, but its title refers to its reframing of the bizarre pulp fiction work of writer H.P. Lovecraft, who died in poverty in 1937. Jonathan Majors, Jurnee Smollett in LOVECRAFT COUNTRY. Photo by Eli Joshua Adé / HBO

trenches every single day (and night!) Rob and Michael were thoroughly supportive and dedicated to her vision, as was every department. That’s what really stood out to me, how every department was so dedicated not only to the visual execution of the show, but also to what the show was trying to say.

HOW WE GOT THOSE SHOTS We did a lot of shooting with the Technocrane, with the equipment and crew provided by ProCam. The show also had a fair amount of Steadicam, which was operated beautifully by B camera/Steadicam operator, Bill Saxelby. There is also a significant amount of hand-held work, especially during action scenes, arguments among characters, or just to create a slight “uncomfortable” feeling for the scene. Often we would use the Sony Venice Rialto—the stripped down, ultra-portable body for this. For the scenes in Episode 4 that take place in

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the water tunnel, the DP Rob McLachlan, along with key grip Seth Greenwald, best boys Arnaud Pieny and Alfredo Denila, and dolly grip Ralph Scherer, all came up with an extraordinary shooting platform. With two boogie boards they made a small catamaran with rudders for stability, and a platform in the middle to which we mounted Rob’s wireless stabilized Maxima head. As the catamaran was maneuvered through the water by dolly grips, I was able to operate remotely from the set above and communicate with them via wireless headsets. For the most part I was able to stay dry, but—to be honest—I felt a little left out because I could see all the fun the boys were having playing in the water! This system worked better than any of us anticipated, and was a very efficient way to shoot the scenes.

LOCATIONS & VFX Although we did shoot in practical locations, like the big house that the main characters move into, we also had some truly magnif-

icent sets. Created by production designer Kalina Avanov, these sets were just spectacular, and offered the ability to shoot from any position we wanted. A healthy budget and great attention to detail was given to the set design, props, and set dec departments—all of which came together beautifully. For the episode that takes place in 1921 Tulsa, Oklahoma, we shot in Macon, shut down two blocks, and re-dressed the storefronts to create 1921 Tulsa. Fires were burning everywhere, and we shot with several small practical fires spread throughout the street, which were then embellished by visual effects in post. And speaking of visual effects—that team led by Kevin Blank and Robin Griffin had a tremendous amount of work on their plates (pun intended), and they contributed an incredible amount to what you see in the final edits. Kevin and I have worked on several projects together and have a great

SOCIETY OF CAMERA OPERATORS · SOC.ORG


TRIVIA: It also would have been a horror series that had the potential of broadening into other genres. Ultimately, Ruff wasn't able to get the TV show going and instead turned it into a novel a few years later. Courtney B. Vance, Jonathan Majors, Jurnee Smollett in LOVECRAFT COUNTRY. Photo by Elizabeth Morris / HBO

relationship. I would constantly check with him on VFX needed from us, and he, in turn, was willing to share his ideas, plans, and storyboards for what we were about to shoot. Aside from some occasional high-speed work and a lot of smoke in the atmosphere, we rarely used specialty devices. For scenes involving flashbacks we did use swing and tilt lenses, and a CineFade shutter/iris controller was used for a complicated shot in Jurnee’s bathroom where Rob wanted to keep focus in one spot, but alter the depth of field during the shot to include another character in the deep background. For another shot, Rob placed some old space heaters in front of a telephoto lens to create a hazy, “hot on the street” effect. Occasionally, we would mount the Maxima remote head on the dolly along with a stabilized arm, and this would work quite well for long walk-and-talk scenes, or for shooting in tight sets. Our dolly grips were Ralph Sherer on A camera, and Tripp Pair on B camera.

CAMERA OPERATOR ·SUMMER 2021

THE ACTORS It is hard to describe how hard the actors worked on this project. Every day the intensity level was at max. You really got the feeling that this was a very personal story for the actors, and with that came a seriousness, or concern for authenticity. That is not to say that the cast was not friendly or respectful. Quite the opposite, as I felt a strong, personal connection with them, and in the moments when camera was rolling I tried to be very sensitive to their craft, which in turn was reciprocated by them to us. After almost every take, I would look up and there would be eye contact from the cast to see how I felt about what had just been shot.

amazing work ethic, which overflowed to the crew. And I think it shows in the series.

REFLECTION

This show for all of us involved was an important one. Lovecraft Country is an allegory of mixed genres, mixed messages, and was created by a crew of mixed races. Yet we all came together to help Misha Green and HBO tell this very complex, and ultimately entertaining story that was set from the start to have very high expectations. Expectations for the filmmakers to create such a complex drama, and expectations for the audience to receive that complex message. For me it meant an eight-month journey into another world. I loved every minute of it and I can say There was a sense of “we want to make sure that I feel proud to have contributed to Loveeveryone got this right.” Jonathan Majors, craft Country, and to have had the opportuJurnee Smollett, Michel K. Williams, nity to work alongside so many talented Courtney B. Vance, Anjanue Ellis, Wunmi people in telling this story that includes our Mosaku, Jamie Chung, Jamie Neumann, history, some fantasy, and a statement about Jordan Patrick Smith, Abbey Lee, and a Viola Davis as Ma Rainey. Photo by David Lee / Netflix young Jada Harris all came in with an how we approach our future.

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TECH ONmSeraETs 6K 6:5

ice Ca Sony Ven Supreme 8.; Zeiss .7 1 r fo rimes, framing nd 300 p a 0 0 2 n iko nocranes Primes, N -80; Tech 8 2 , 0 3 MaxZeiss 15 ed head; iz il b a t s with Libra Mosys ilized & b a t S a im te heads L40 remo

BOB GORELICK, SOC Bob Gorelick, SOC, started his career in New York City in 1981. With aspirations of becoming a cinematographer, he worked his way up the ranks as a production assistant, film loader, 2nd assistant, 1st assistant, and eventually

became a Steadicam operator and conventional camera operator. Bob credits Todd Crandall, Joe Ritter, Mitch Dubin, Clyde Bryan, Rob Draper, Michael O’Shea, Luciano Tovoli, Larry McConkey, and Ted Churchill as people who have greatly influenced and helped him during his

40-year career. Bob has been a longstanding member of the SOC and Local 600. He would like you to know that he is still at it, and always looking to work with talented filmmakers. Photo by Eli Joshua Adé

TRIVIA: Jamie Chung said in an interview that she had no problem being completely naked for her first ever nude scene in Episode 6 of Season 1 because physicality is so important to her character. But she joked that she still doesn't want her parents to watch. She specifically told them, "I'm so proud of my work, but please, for the love of God, just don't." Photo by Eli Joshua Adé

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SOCIETY OF CAMERA OPERATORS · SOC.ORG


Add Flare to Your Filmmaking

ZEISS Supreme Prime Radiance Lenses ZEISS has added four new lenses to the ZEISS Supreme Prime Radiance family. The 18mm and 135mm focal lengths add telephoto and wide-angle specialties and the new 40mm and 65mm lenses enhance the standard range. The ZEISS Supreme Prime Radiance family now covers all possible applications for high-end film production. With a maximum aperture of T1.5, controlled flare characteristics can be achieved, even in low light conditions.

For more information: www.zeiss.com/cine/radiance CAMERA OPERATOR ·SUMMER 2021

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Snake Eyes:

G.I. Joe Origins Action in Multiple Styles

an interview with with Roberto De Angelis, SOC by David Daut

Henry Golding plays Snake Eyes in SNAKE EYES: G.I. JOE ORIGINS from Paramount Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures and Skydance. Photo by Niko Tavernise

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SOCIETY OF CAMERA OPERATORS · SOC.ORG


Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins is the latest entry in the series of movies based on Hasbro’s popular toy line. As the title suggests, this film explores the origins of the character Snake Eyes, from his training by an ancient clan of ninjas in Japan to eventually joining the ranks of the G.I. Joes. The film is directed by Robert Schwentke from a screenplay by Evan Spiliotopoulos and Joe Shrapnel & Anna Waterhouse.  WATCH TRAILER NOW Camera Operator: To start, could you talk a little bit about how you came to be involved on Snake Eyes? Roberto De Angelis: Yes, I got involved because of cinematographer Bojan Bozelli. We worked together a few times in the past; I actually have known him since I was a focus puller a long, long time ago. He called me and says, “Do you want to join me in Vancouver to do this movie?” That's how I got on board. CO: You mentioned that you'd worked with Bojan Bozelli several times in the past. What has your working relationship been like with both him as well as director Robert Schwentke? De Angelis: Bojan is a very good cinematographer, he works hard and lights every single shot very precisely, and always checks for every detail. I've worked with him several times. Robert is a demanding director—he likes the camera to be very precise. He likes Technochrane and dolly moves, but he is not a big fan of Steadicam—he’ll let you use it but it has to be very precise—that’s his style. I quickly learned what he wanted and we got along. We respect each other professionally, and at the end there was a good collaboration between the three of us. There are several fights in the movie, and each one we wanted to have a different style. Sometime we'd use a dolly with a long lens, sometimes we'd use Steadicam, sometimes we'd use a crane. Robert wanted to do one

CAMERA OPERATOR ·SUMMER 2021

fight with very long shots without a lot of cutting. We also had a fight coordinator and second unit director named Kenji Tanigaki who was very involved in the design of the fight. So we all worked together—Robert, Kenji, Bojan, and myself—to try to make those fights look different from typical fight scenes, you know, with a lot of cuts where it can be hard to understand what’s going on. Robert wanted this to be more stylistic. He loves Japanese culture and Japanese film, so he wanted this to feel like that kind of style. Quiet, symmetrical, camera moves that evoke that culture. CO: So, with these fight scenes being shot with different styles or different textures at different parts of the movie, what was it like preparing for those scenes? Did that involve more prep work than maybe other movies you've worked on? De Angelis: Robert and Kenji did a lot of prep work in advance, so by the time we got on set, we had a pretty clear blueprint to follow. In fact, Kenji did a lot of test versions of shots by himself with a little camera, so sometimes we just replicated what he did. I’ve done a lot of action movies in my life, so especially with hand-held stuff you do it one way and everything works with the stuntman, but then once you put the actors in you have to adjust for what makes them look better or more violent or just like a better fighter. We're shooting the wide shots with the doubles and also going in tight with the doubles, then the actors look at what they were doing and we bring them in for some

details. Probably the biggest challenge was doing long shots that require choreography and camera moves. When you are selling a punch, if the camera is not in the right angle it looks fake. So, for a long shot you have to make sure that you know the moment when the punch is happening and you are in a good spot and then do the same for the next punch. You really have to be in sync with the fighters, and it's fun to do it. CO: You mentioned that you shot partially in Vancouver, but I understand that you also shot in Japan as well. What was it like shooting over there? De Angelis: Shooting in Japan is beautiful, but you also have to adapt yourself to a different culture. Their way of making movies is completely different from Hollywood. For example, with the grips working with the Technocrane, they had never done the kind of complicated moves we were doing on this movie, so there was some patience required while everyone got on the same page. After I finished shooting Snake Eyes, I went back to Tokyo with Michael Mann to do another job with some of the same crew and I could see (L already to R) Emily Mest as Nurse Amelia, Sarah that they’d adjusted to a more HollyPaulson as Mildred Ratched, Alice Englert wood approach. as Nurse Dolly, Charlie Carver as Huck Finnigan and Jermaine Williams as Harold But it was a great inexperience. went to Episode 101 We of RATCHED. Credit: Saeed Adyani/ this castle in a littlePhoto town southwest of NETFLIX © 2020

Tokyo, close to Osaka, called Himeji. I think it’s the oldest castle in Japan. We did a sequence over there, and then we went to Tokyo, Osaka, and a few other places. It was a lot of good production value. I love

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TRIVIA: Snake Eyes will be changed from a Caucasian character seen from the comics, animated series, and both of the live action films to a mixed race character due to actor Henry Golding who's both English and Malaysian.

to work in Japan, even if it's sometimes a bit complicated. CO: Kind of on the subject of complicated, were there any sequences that stood out as being particularly complex, or maybe difficult to shoot? Any big moments in the movie that stand out in that way? De Angelis: Just before Christmas we did a big sequence on stage in Vancouver with rain—it's a big fight under the rain—and the rain was freezing cold, you know, because the water was coming from the ground. We needed so much water to fill up this alley, combine that with cables and camera moves and fight choreography. The biggest challenge was probably that sequence with the rain. It was very complicated. We had so many problems with the cameras trying to stop the lens from fogging because the camera is warm and the rain is really cold. It was a big challenge. My focus puller, Chris Gibbins, did a great

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Camera operator Roberto De Angelis, Haruka Abe, Andrew Koji, and Henry Golding on the set of SNAKE EYES: G.I. JOE ORIGINS. Photo by Niko Tavernise

job. Bojan is also demanding director of photography for a focus puller—he’s another guy who’s really precise—but Chris, even if he's young, did a good job. CO: What kind of equipment did you use on this film? You mentioned some Technocranes and stuff like that, but what other kinds of equipment did you use shooting this? De Angelis: We used ALEXA Mini cameras, and as I mentioned before, we worked with Technocranes, dollies, and Steadicam. I like to keep the camera moving, especially for these movies that are aimed at a young audience. You want to keep it interesting because kids nowadays, their eyes are going fast and picking up a lot of information. I don’t want to move the camera just for the sake of moving the camera. Every time you move the camera has to have a reason, but you also want to keep the energy up.

When we did a scene with cables, we had the actors attached to the cables going from one roof to another roof, and I was on the same line attached with a cable over the shoulder. Also, to make the cameras lighter and easier to work with for fights, I used a backpack with all the accessories and batteries either on my back or on the dolly grip, so I’m only holding the body and the lens. The camera is really small, so especially for action sequences, you’re able to be more flexible and can hold the camera for a longer time. You actually have to be careful to not move too much. Because it’s so light, you feel a lot of vibration and that all gets blown up on the big screen. So, you have to use it knowing that you have to be smooth. Energetic, but at the same time, really solid and steady. In the beginning Robert was a little skeptical about the hand-held stuff, but then slowly he started to get it. I think it’s a good mix. Every time we went hand-held, it's a

SOCIETY OF CAMERA OPERATORS · SOC.ORG


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good punch in the movie. It’s stylish; you cut from this Japanese tableau—perfect, beautiful frame, then cut to hand-held so you can really see the difference in styling. CO: I understand that this movie wrapped principle photography just prior to the the major outbreak of COVID-19. What does it feel like now that this movie is finally getting released more than a year later and people are finally going to have a chance to see it? De Angelis: Yeah, we finished a couple of months before COVID started—I think it was January. I stayed in Japan because I started another job with Michael Mann right away, and that one we had to stop for COVID. For Snake Eyes, the movie was always planned to have a long post-production, so even before COVID, it would have been many months after we finished before the movie came out. But I hope this is going

CAMERA OPERATOR ·SUMMER 2021

Camera operator Roberto De Angelis (left), Andrew Koji, and Haruka Abe on the set of SNAKE EYES: G.I. JOE ORIGINS from Paramount Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures and Skydance. Photo by Ed Araquel

to be the type of movie that brings a young audience back to the theaters. CO: Other than Snake Eyes, which is out in July, what other projects do you have coming up that you're able to talk about? De Angelis: So, right after Snake Eyes, I did a pilot called Tokyo Vice. Michael Mann is the director, and we started filming in the beginning of March, but then had to stop after three weeks. We came back at the end of the year to finish shooting the pilot. Between that, I did a movie in Vancouver in August with Sandra Bullock and a young German director, Nora Fingscheidt. The movie doesn’t have a title yet. They actually started before the pandemic and they had to stop like everyone else. The DP was Guillermo Navarro, and they called me to do the second part of the movie. Right after that, I went back to Tokyo to finish Tokyo Vice. And then, at the beginning of the year, still

in full pandemic in L.A., I did the movie as a camera operator and DP with Michael Bay. The movie's called Ambulance. That was an interesting project. It was tough— because operating and lighting for Michael is tough—but I think we made a nice little movie. We only shot maybe less than eight weeks, but the movie looks like a big, big movie. It has Jake Gyllenhaal as the main character. And then we have Eiza González, who I worked with on Baby Driver, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. It's a good movie,like a mix between Baby Driver and Speed. So, in spite of everything, I’ve been busy. It was a little bit hard, for example in August I flew to Vancouver, that was really one of the first movies that started after the pandemic, so I had to get used to all the protocols—mask, goggles, COVID testing—it was surreal. It was my first time back on set, seeing everybody with masks. It was a big challenge.

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TRIVIA: Simon Waters, who oversees consumer products at Hasbro Studios, said the company wants to take "a more millennial approach." As he explains, "The world has changed, and I think you're going to see G.I. Joe changing with it," he said. "There's going to be a much more contemporary approach to the whole franchise, and that will allow us to develop different characters. Henry Golding plays Snake Eyes in SNAKE EYES: G.I. JOE ORIGINS from Paramount Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures and Skydance. Photo by Ed Araquel

When we stopped filming in March in Tokyo and went back home, we were all thinking it would be a long, long time before we went back to work. I was really surprised when I got this call in July to go out to Vancouver in August. And as we went on, the protocols started to work better and people were able to fly for work. That was another incredible experience; I live between Los Angeles and Rome, so being in the Vancouver airport with maybe ten other people, with all the stores closed down, it was like a ghost town. It was a very different vibe to fly. I will remember that. I’m glad we’re starting to come out of it, but I'm glad that I was still able to work under those circumstances.

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I think operating is probably one of the best jobs on set. Truly. I love to use the camera, I think I'm a very eclectic operator, and I love the challenge of working with different directors and stories and style—going from being really precise to doing hand-held. Using all those tools for the proper moment. I don’t want to be just a Steadicam fan, and that’s all I use. I really like to use the tool that’s best for that moment and for the style of the movie. Sometimes you have a director who really knows what they want and do a lot of work in prep on the design of the movie, so you just have to move the camera for them, but other directors really ask you to be much more involved. In those cases,

you try to figure out from the beginning what the style of the movie is going to be, and it is not always easy because sometimes things change quickly, but that's what I love to do. I also really like working with actors, which is also a big challenge, because you have to be almost invisible for them so they can do their job. Sometimes there are specific marks, and sometimes it’s very spontaneous and you have to let them do whatever they do, and you have to adjust for them. There are so many different ways to make movies, and that’s the good thing. Every move is different, and every move is different for an operator.

SOCIETY OF CAMERA OPERATORS · SOC.ORG


Henry Golding and camera operator Roberto De Angelis on the set of SNAKE EYES: G.I. JOE ORIGINS from Paramount Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, and Skydance. Photo by Niko Tavernise

TRIVIA: The movie is a reboot of the G.I. Joe property on film, and intended to be part of a shared universe of features based on Hasbro properties with G.I. Joe: Ever Vigilant; Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light; M.A.S.K.: Mobile Armored Strike Kommand; ROM: Spaceknight; and Micronauts. Rossellini. He has worked as a camera operator for over 20 years with many esteemed directors, including Michael Mann, James Cameron, Michael Bay, Susanne Bier, and Mel Gibson, among others. Select credits as a camera operator include Avatar, Public Enemies, La Vie en Rose, 13 Hours, The Jungle Book, and

Photo courtesy of David Daut

Baby Driver. De Angelis served as director of photog-

DAVID DAUT

raphy on Michael Bay’s upcoming movie

A writer and film critic for close to ten

Ambulance and the Academy Award nominated documentary Faces Places, co-directed by renowned filmmaker Agnes ROBERTO DE ANGELIS, SOC

Varda and multimedia artist JR. He has

Roberto De Angelis was born in Rome,

directed several short films and high-pro-

Italy, where he attended Istituto di Istruz-

file second unit sequences.

ione Superiore Statale Cine-TV Roberto

Photo by John Johnson

CAMERA OPERATOR ·SUMMER 2021

years, David Daut specializes in analysis of genre cinema and immersive media with bylines at Lewton Bus, No Proscenium, and Heroic Hollywood. David studied at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and currently works as a freelance writer based out of Orange County, California.

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Live Operating: Inauguration of the 46th President of the United States An interview with Daniel Erbeck, SOC by David Daut

Daniel Erbeck, SOC, captures President Biden and Mrs. Biden. Photo was taken off a TV screen and is courtesy of Daniel Erbeck Beyond just the entertainment industry, camera operators play a crucial role in documenting news and current events. For this article we had a chance to sit down with Steadicam operator Daniel Erbeck, SOC, to discuss his history as an operator and his recent work shooting coverage for the 2021 U.S. Presidential Inauguration. Camera Operator: To start, could you tell us a little bit about your background working as a camera operator? Daniel Erbeck: Sure! I started in the industry in 2004 as a technician for a robotic camera company. I started operating robotics within that company, and that company did a lot of sports—NASCAR, football, tennis—and entertainment as well, also news, inauguration coverage, election coverage, but strictly robotics. Then I transitioned to Stea-

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dicam in 2009, opened my own company, Diamond Steadicam LLC, took the workshop, did the whole process, and started training with a fellow Steadicam operator, who brought me in, helped me out, and gave me the inside knowledge that I needed to know to get into that field of the industry. So, 2009 is when I started the company and I’d say probably by 2011, I started getting busy exclusively with Steadicam. The Martha Stewart Show was one of the first shows I started doing, sharing the Steadicam position with another operator, then I started doing The Dr. Oz Show a little bit, then from there it snowballed into a little bit of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The Tonight Show, Rachel Ray, Wendy Williams, anything New York-based I started doing, and then NBC started crewing me to do coverage with them on election coverage, primaries, debates, and then CBS did the same thing as well.

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That’s how I started to get into the whole political area. This past inauguration, CBS was the pool feed for the actual parade, and I was the operator who was requested to do it, because I’d done it four years ago as the Steadicam operator. It was just a little different this year because there was no real parade, just a very long walk. CO: It sounds like you've worked on a lot of different TV productions, but I imagine when it comes to doing a production that involves the President of the United States, that’s kind of at a different level. Could you talk a little bit about what that's like? Erbeck: Sure! On top of all the other things we need to know production-wise, there’s a whole other level security clearance-wise—what we can and cannot do, how we have to shoot it. It’s definitely more stressful; with other productions you're able to go in and you create the shot, and you’re able to have a little more influence rather than being told what to do with the inauguration. You can't be this close to the President, you have to stay within this bubble; you can't come to this side, you have to stay on this side. So, it's just a whole other factor that adds to the stress. Even though it's a live show, I never think of who's watching this or let it get to my head. You know, I'm into it, but I'm never really thinking past that to who's actually watching it. It's only after the fact that I realize, “Wow, that was actually a huge moment that I was a part of.” So, something like the inauguration that's being broadcast everywhere and multiple networks are taking that feed, but in the moment, I'm not thinking of that—I think more in the moment, I’m more involved and concentrated on what’s in front of me so I'm not as stressed out. As for working with the President, yeah, super strict rules, but we got to know the Secret Service agents too when we did that. We introduce ourselves, we respect them, they respect us; they know we have a job to do just like they have a job to do, and as long as we're on the same page and don't do anything sudden that we're not supposed to do, everybody's pretty much fine and cool with it. These past two inaugurations I did, that's how it worked. We just became real friendly with everybody and didn’t push the limit and it became easy. But you can't really do a walk wrong with the President. Although on this past inaguration with President Biden, he did juke me a couple times by going over to the side and shaking hands, I wasn't expecting that. [Laughs] He did it once, and I was like, “okay,” then he did it twice, I was like, “all right,” three times, I was like, “all right, I'm seeing a little pattern here.” But if that's what he's doing, okay. We'll follow.

stand-ins for the President and Vice President getting out of the car then walking down the entire street. And that was it, we did it one time whereas in the past, four years ago, we probably did it at least three times. Yeah. And that was just because there was more worry about shutting down areas and having the clearance. But it was one rehearsal and going into it I knew what I had to do and how I had to handle it, and I was okay with having one rehearsal. CO: Digging into that a little bit more, this was somewhat unique Presidential inauguration in a number of ways, not the least of which was that considerations had to be made for both filming amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as security concerns, like you mentioned, in the wake of the January 6 siege on the Capitol. How did all of that affect your job as a camera operator? Erbeck: Actually, it kind of made it a little bit easier. Granted, for COVID-19, we had to wear face masks—they had to be the N95—so doing what we do as an operator becomes a little more difficult because now I'm breathing through that mask and it's hard enough to breathe with the rig on and backpedaling down the street, and then you add that to it. So, that was a little difficult, but shutting down the perimeter actually made it a little easier. I can’t say it was better without the crowds there, but it was much easier to get around. Once you were in the perimeter, you were in, and we were at the safest place we could be at that time. Because if anybody were to get through those perimeters, they either had a reason to or something had to have failed drastically. I

Photo by David Levisohn

CO: And for technical rehearsals, I imagine that it's all coordinated with the Secret Service? Erbeck: Yeah. This past inauguration was a little weird, because the city of Washington, D.C. was shut down that Sunday because of the protests that potentially could happen. Normally we would rehearse the actual walk more than once, but for this past one, we only did it one time, we did it on that Monday. They had stand-ins and we did the whole procession from the limos coming up the street, to the

CAMERA OPERATOR ·SUMMER 2021

Mission accomplished. Camera assistant Dominick Chierico and Daniel Erbeck, camera operator, take a well-deserved breather after completing the two walks. Photo courtesy of Daniel Erbeck

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mean, it was the same clearance that we always had to do. We actually had, in our van that drove us around, a Secret Service agent that was assigned to us that would take us through. Having him on board was key because that allowed us to get in without problems. And like I said, once we were in, we were in for the remainder of the day. CO: Were there any other unique challenges to filming that event that maybe people wouldn't expect? Erbeck: There was one specific thing. CBS was the pool feed for the parade, so every network could take not only my shot, but another camera located on top of our van, and a few others around downtown D.C. Our director was back at the bureau, and we had an RF wireless camera with RFPL to hear her. During rehearsals everything was great, I could hear perfectly, they could see me perfectly, but at one point during the actual Inauguration Day, when the President's motorcade was coming up the street, I lost all communication with the director. At that point I knew I had to hold the shot as if I was live the entire time. Really made it difficult to rest, but there was one point where I just had to peel off to the side and throw it up on my shoulder for a quick ten seconds just to catch a breather, and then I caught back up. When I was doing that, I made sure to make it an airable move to let them know that I was leaving the walk for a second so they could cut to another camera and then I came back in. But that whole time I had no clue who was on me or if I was on, I just assumed I was. I also didn't have any return to take a peek at, but I just made it work. I couldn’t really do anything in that situation, so I just said, “All right, well, make it look pretty and hold it.” I have to say, of everything I've done, doing that walk was probably one of the hardest things I've done because of just how long it was having that situation with the PL system, and then having to go all the way back down the street to get the Vice President, and then do the walk again with her. I think we clocked it—it might have been about a half a mile that I did with the rig on, going, coming down, going back, and then coming down again. A half mile sounds like nothing, but with the gear on, and just the pressure of everything—it was tough. One thing I find interesting and somewhat funny is if you hear the clean feed of the audio from that day, you hear me breathing very heavily through the microphone that was mounted on my camera. That was the only mic close enough to capture the natural sound. At the time I didn't even think about it but after watching it back and listing, I'm like, “Okay, yep, that's me.” CO: Yeah, that’s a lot of work. I can only imagine. And kind of to that point, how would you say that doing work in this political space— whether it's inaugurations or debates or any of the other stuff you've done—compares to more traditional television production? What about your experience on this do you think will influence your other work in the future? Erbeck: I feel like it's all technically the same stuff. Steadicam is another creative tool to use on a shoot. So, whenever I get a call for a

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show, always know there's a reason it’s being added and there’s some specific use for it. So going into the Inauguration, I approached it the same way as any other show. Whether it's entertainment, sports, or news, they want to add some dynamic and aesthetically pleasing movement to it. I go into every show very similar, then the specifics just kind of come out when we do it. I treat everything the same way starting out, even with the President. Filming something with the President is definitely high profile, but I still treated it just like anything else. I can’t look at it any other way or else my nerves would come out. I just have to treat it as this is just a person, I'm capturing history and telling a story that will be seen forever. Eventually after I do realize millions of people have watched. But even the night before I don't get the jitters or I don't get nervous because I can’t. I have to just go in and do it.,

Photo by Rob Paine

On set at Google Next 2018. Photo courtesy of Daniel Erbeck DANIEL ERBECK, SOC Dan Erbeck, SOC, is a New York City–based Steadicam operator. After attending William Paterson University for communications, he jumped on the opportunity to learn and explore the art of Steadicam. He then attended a workshop and fell in love with the craft. Immediately after the class, he bought his first rig, started Diamond Steadicam, practiced, trained on friends’ independent films, and carved his path to level he is at now. Dan has been the main operator on The Wendy Willams Show for the past six seasons. He has been honored to be an operator on other productions such as the Olympics on NBC, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, The Dr. Oz Show, VMA Awards, and not to mention countless news and music events. His passion for Steadicam is shown through his work on a daily basis.

SOCIETY OF CAMERA OPERATORS · SOC.ORG


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Smooth Operator by Marcis Cole, SOC

Camera operator Marcis Cole, SOC, on the set of JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH. Photo courtesy of Marcis Cole Camera Operator: Let’s start with your backstory. From whence did you come and how did you become a camera operator? Marcis Cole, SOC: I studied art at the Philadelphia School for the Creative and Performing Arts. I would later join the school of “PAing,” I call it. I learned from the ground up, working as a production assistant for Garrett Brown’s company, Shire Productions, in Philadelphia. It was great training ground and lots of great filmmakers walked through those doors. Haskel Wexler, ASC, Tas Michos, ASC, to name a few. I later learned to load 16mm cameras for Steve Sabol over at NFL Films—aother amazing learning experience. I would go on to attend workshops up at Rockport, Maine where I met the likes of John

Cole: Well, when I came up in the film industry, there was a lot of nepotism in the business. The roster read like the Yellow Pages...ha ha ha. If you were lucky enough to be on set, you pretty much kept your head down, and definitely didn’t want to be the one to screw something up. I really didn’t focus on the fact that I was first generation, but more that I was one of very few persons of color on set. Lots of times I was the only person of color. Being of mixed heritage, this added no real weight on my shoulders...but I noticed it. My eyes were on the mission from the start...make something out of the opportunity! CO: Did you have mentors? If so, who, and how did they help you?

Zigmond’s 1st AC. I grew up in this business…it was my school.

Cole: I've had a lot of mentors…so I'll just list them as I’m not able to only list one: Garrett Brown, Chris Harhoff, Jimmy Muro, Ed Barger, and George Paddock. They all taught me something very valuable!

CO: What challenges did you have coming up in the business?

CO: What were your takeaways from Judas and the Black Messiah?

Rodriduez (Panavision) and 1st AC, Peter Santoro who was Vilmos

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Camera operator Marcis Cole and character Judy Harmon, played by Dominique Thorne, on set of JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH. Photo courtesy of Marcis Cole Cole: Judas and the Black Messiah—where do I start? It was a very meaningful project, and one that I felt all the other jobs I’ve had prior prepared me for telling THIS story. Coming into this project I knew that the director, Shaka King, and the director of photography, Sean Bobbitt, would have specific movements for the camera in how they would be telling this story—and with lots of preparation. This really wasn't the type of job where you’re suggesting a lot as an operator. This movie would be shot through “one eye's” perspective…meaning there would not be multiple angles of one scene. Sean wanted to tell ONE story through the lens, to keep the audience's focus, and how they would see things in one or two directions only. When you shoot like this you're grabbing hold of your audience, and you're not letting them divert, so to speak. I approached this film with the mindset that wherever I was asked to put or move a camera…the answer would be "YES, yes, I can do that." There's a scene in the film where Chairman Fred comes to speak to a large crowd who has gathered at a church. This church was beautifully

CAMERA OPERATOR ·SUMMER 2021

designed, as the seating area was actually on the second floor. As you entered the front entrance, you then could go left or right up a curved set of stairs. I knew the shot was coming up, so I spent my lunch break counting stairs, and just walking them over and over again so I’d be prepared. I didn't know how fast the actors would take these stairs, so I pushed it as I practiced. I always try to make asking actors for help a last resort. We followed and preceded the Panthers up these steps, and into this beautiful platform for speaking at—which was the church. This scene was my favorite, for I, too, was sucked into his speech. So many moments while working on this picture gave me a feeling of how important this story was to tell. You know this story took place in a very troubling time in American history. What was most disturbing, in looking at our country back then, was looking at how far we have not really come in the present day. CO: What advice would you give to camera operators starting into their careers today? Cole: My advice is this—don't expect everything to fall into your

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Left: Scene from JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH; Right: Panther headquarters set location, JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH Photos courtesy of Marcis Cole. lap. Don’t expect to make moves from one position to another before learning all that one position has to teach you. Observe, and learn to listen to those with more time in the driver's seat. If you feel you are ready to bump up…bump up, but just know you get one chance to make a first impression. Know what humble pie tastes like. Forever be the example for those under you. Understand that there is a code of respect that comes with this job. That you are representing more than yourself when on set. I feel like a lot of this is lost with the newer generations of camera men and women. Learn to listen. Learn to observe your actors, and how to approach them and when. CO: What are you doing now and or what’s next for you? Cole: I'm doing a spin-off of the show Bosch. It's fun to shoot around

Photo courtesy of Marcis Cole

Los Angeles, the city in which I live. Some environments are challeng-

MARCIS COLE, SOC

ing, but who doesn't like a challenge? [laughs]

Marcis Cole, SOC, started working as a production assistant for Garrett Brown‘s company, Shire Productions, in Philadelphia. He then moved on to load cameras at NFL Films in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, for four years. Marcis then began working as a 2nd AC for three years before becoming a 1ST AC for two years. He started operating in 1992, and has worked on projects such as Black Widow, Warrior, First Snow, Westworld, and Sleepless.

What’s next for me? I’m looking forward to seeing Black Widow. I was the A camera operator for the Los Angeles Unit. It was a blast to work on! Make something out of every opportunity, I say. There will always be challenges in life...it just comes down to, how bad you want something.

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#NETWORKING

#FUTURE

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Corporate Corner KENNY KEEPS ACTION HIGH WITH HELP OF BOLT 4K MAX CBS megahit S.W.A.T. moves fast. Shot at Santa Clarita Studios and diverse locations throughout Los Angeles, the series averages 100 set-ups a day. Giving life to the adrenalin-pumping story is cinematographer Francis Kenny, ASC (Heathers, New Jack City, Justified). The 2020–2021 season brought extra challenges—shortened 10-hour days, smaller crews and COVID safety protocols. “Camera crews were required to social distance from both actors and each other; cameras moved farther apart, crews were limited in size and segregated between the cast, A, and B crew. Video village was eliminated, replaced by multiple video stations, some sent to remote areas allowing writers and producers to see images live from an increased number of monitors,” says Kenny. When planning gear for the season, dependability was at the top of Kenny’s list. Production moved to 8K RED Monstro cameras, supported by tools like Teradek Bolt 4K Max and SmallHD 1703 monitors. With stakeholders depending on safe monitor viewing, a reliable, real-time camera signal was vital. The show’s three cameras were outfitted with Teradek’s Bolt 4K, containing the game-changing BB3 chipset. That meant reliable signal transmission and reception over more frequencies

(13x 40MHz), faster reconnection times, automatic signal switching, and a more robust frequency-hopping algorithm. It fit the bill for S.W.A.T.’s high-traffic locations that face excessive interference from other wireless devices. Additionally, new BB3-equipped Bolt 4K systems sync up to six transmitters to enable multiple points of viewing. “We couldn’t have done it without the Bolt 4K Max,” adds Kenny. “The newer system is even more dependable under challenging locations. It is fast to set up, has a quicker reconnection rate than previous designs, and transmits longer distances where proximity between transmitters and receivers is no longer possible. This is especially true on location—in small rooms, where multiple video signals are required to transmit through walls and other barriers.” The script called for police surveillance from a hotel, across a park to a rooftop 1000-feet away. With Max’s 5000' range, distance was no issue. For the rooftop P.O.V. Kenny placed a 1000mm lens on C-camera rigged with the Bolt 4K Max transmitter. “Within the hotel suite we staged the actors near the window,” shared Kenny. “On a monitor inside we watched what they were shooting, live with zero delay— through walls and microwave towers, amid crowded city phone signals.”

0% FINANCING ON SELECT ARRI PRODUCTS Have you ever dreamed of owning an ARRI Mini LF or TRINITY? It is easier than ever to become an owner of our award-winning gear with the flexible financing options developed by ARRI in cooperation with our financing partners, Western

Equipment Finance and DLL. Whether you are just starting out, or already working on major productions, our experts will dedicate their time to tailor a solution that will help move your creative and business goals forward.

Take advantage of our special 0% financing, available through December 2021 on these select ARRI products: ●

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LCS, cforce RF & WCU-4 set

Master Grip set

SOCIETY OF CAMERA OPERATORS · SOC.ORG


For vehicle chases B or C cameras were rigged with Teradek. “Even on a racing speedboat, the wireless signal stayed strong with no lag. It couldn’t have been done without the Bolt. It just worked and that’s the only way we got through the show,” says Kenny.

designed to manually designate specific 5GHz channels and monitor interference. “It makes syncing to another receiver simple—showing status, configuration, and pairing with different devices. Before, pairing manually was always an issue. Now the Bolt App lets us dedicate channels to prevent conflict.

Through the door of a Black Hawk helicopter, Kenny sometimes covered his eyes as they flew through the city from 4' off the ground to 1000' altitude as Bolt beamed an uninterrupted signal back to the ground crew.

“This season we had three or sometimes four different wireless video systems on set at the same time, plus signals from 25 iPhones, Wi-Fi and unshielded cable going through the air—a lot of wireless conflict. But Teradek’s Spectrum Analyzer always found the right signal.”

Kenny was happy with the new Bolt App for his iPhone. Its Spectrum Analyzer and Wireless Health analysis tools are

For more information, visit teradek.com.

We crafted the solution with flexibility in mind. You can add or even upgrade technology to keep a leading edge with the latest ARRI equipment at any time during the contract term. A minimum transaction of $10,000.00 is required for financing. Eligibility is subject to credit approval by Western Equipment Finance or DLL. The total technology investment can be financed, including “soft” costs such as software, extended warranties, and training. Financing terms ranging from 12 to 60 months are available. For more information, please contact us at financing@arri.com

CAMERA OPERATOR ·SUMMER 2021

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by Jessica Lopez, SOC

What’s Your Story…?

Like any young kid fresh out of film school, I moved to Tinseltown with hopes, dreams, and naïve thoughts of how I was going to make it in the film industry. If it weren’t for film school, and if it weren’t for professional filmmakers willing to educate students, I would not be here today. In 2004, I took a two-day Steadicam workshop with Peter Abraham and the Tiffen Company at my college, The University of Toledo. That experience electrified me so much that I was hooked. Peter became the key person in the shaping of my future. Through him whose personality was humble, informative, contagious, and excited, I found my filmmaking dream. I had learned the Steadicam technology represented who I was and always wanted to be. Basically, I wanted to be like Sarah Connor from Terminator 2 (1991) or Vasquez from Aliens (1986). Realistically, Steadicam was as close as I was going to get, short of going into the military. I was born an Army brat in 1983 and was groomed to be in the armed forces by my parents. Before college I had joined the Navy temporarily, then got a very bad feeling, and chose not to deploy. I don’t regret my decision for I was scheduled to leave September 5, 2001, six days before 9/11. Instead, my path led me to a college degree on accident. In May 2006, after graduation, I moved to Hollywood with $4000 dollars of savings. I grabbed every production assistant (PA) job I could find. I remember…delivering film canisters to Freestyle on Sunset, running errands for producers, watching pets and houses, working at Blockbuster, and eventually…I landed a PA job for a month on a union feature in the prop department (for free and uncredited). I learned how to tie knots, how to use a ratchet strap, how to pack a truck, label everything, how to work in extreme heat, how to anticipate things, and take initiative. It’s also where I first saw a badass woman in the film industry who not only got along with the guys, but knew her stuff, and was gravely respected by the crew. Immediately, after watching her work, I was inspired and motivated to go for the impossible. Once that show ended, I was down to my last $130 in my savings fund, and my credit card was maxed. I didn’t know how expensive living and eating in Los Angeles was, and my savings depleted quickly. But then something amazing happened, I got a call back from Tiffen Steadicam (after a couple months of persistence applying for a job) and they said they needed to fill a temporary entry-level position. I got to work next to some amazing people that made Steadicam rigs and best part was working with inventor Garrett Brown anytime he

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was at the shop. I was also fortunate to assist Steadicam workshops and attend tradeshows. Through my work at Tiffen, I got a job referral to work for Panavision Hollywood in the service department. Eventually, I had to stretch my freelancing legs after the 2007/2008 Writer’s Guild Strike. I worked as a grip, crafty, art department, camera assistant, and eventually I saved enough to get my first used Steadicam EFP rig (circa 1989/90). Fast forward 15 hard years later, and here I am working as a union professional camera operator/Steadicam operator for shows I’ve always dreamed of working on. All I know is that I learned from my mistakes and I never gave up. It just takes time to grow and become more experienced and hirable.

Anything to get the shot! Photo by Shanele Alvarez, SOC JESSICA LOPEZ, SOC Jessica Lopez, SOC, is a camera operator and Steadicam operator based out of Atlanta, Georgia, and Los Angeles, California. She's been a member of SOC since 2007 volunteering for numerous committees, event planning, and education. In 2013, Jessica became a union operator in IATSE ICG Local 600, and has worked on various shows like Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, Transparent, Grown-ish, and most recently The Lincoln Lawyer. In the past couple years Jessica has stepped into the A camera/Steadicam position for OWN Network's NAACP award-winning show, Greenleaf (Seasons 4 and 5) and a OWN's new legal drama Delilah (Season 1).

SOCIETY OF CAMERA OPERATORS · SOC.ORG


Insight PHILIP MARTINEZ, SOC What was one of your most challenging shot or challenging day in the industry? The first day shooting The Path (Hulu). It was a Steadicam shot through the aftermath of a tornado, stepping onto a crane in low mode. What is your most memorable day in the industry? Shooting Stumblin, an SNL Digital Short that featured Paul McCartney. Having the incredible opportunity to meet him was a unique reward for the work I do. What would be the most important improvement you would like to see in our industry? I would like to see the mandatory recycling of plastic water bottles and aluminum cans on every union set all the time. Credits: The Deuce Seasons 2 & 3, Seven Seconds, SNL Digital Shorts, The Path, Prodigal Son

Photo by Ruby Martinez

AARON MEDICK, SOC What was one of you most challenging shot or day in the industry? The most challenging day I’ve had was Mr. Robot Episode 305, “Runtime Error.” My ARRI Trinity rig had just arrived, and this five minute “oner” was going to push it and myself to the limit. The shot begins by pulling out of an elevator TV monitor, revealing Rami Malek. When the elevator door opens, we move down hallways to an office bullpen where Rami sits at his desk.  There are lock-offs and whip pans sprinkled into a very exacting choreography of BG, props, actors, and camera movement. It took 27 takes to build all the timing, pieces, and six pages of dialogue until it all came together. It was the hardest episode of television I’ve ever operated, and it’s the one I’m most proud of.   Credits: STARZ Power, Ghost, Raising Kanan; USA Mr. Robot; HBO Julia

Photo by Myles Aronowitz

JACK MESSITT, SOC How did you get started as a camera operator? For years, I worked for the late DP Clyde Smith as a grip/electric/camera assistant until we both moved up into projects that could afford hiring a camera operator. I wish I could have articulated back then how much money having a camera operator actually saves a production. I might have gotten into the chair a lot earlier. What is the most challenging part of your job? Dealing with different personalities is the toughest aspect of all of our jobs. So when you’re in the thick of things, it helps to realize that you're getting paid to deal with that particular a***ole! The operating you do for free because it’s what you love to do. Photo by Mitch Haddad

CAMERA OPERATOR ·SUMMER 2021

Credits: Mixed-ish, Scandal, Bones

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Social SOC @filmotechnicusa

@hydroflexinc

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@ Society_of_Camera_Operators TAG us or use #TheSOC and your pics could be featured here. 34

SOCIETY OF CAMERA OPERATORS · SOC.ORG


Being a member of the Society of Camera Operators gives you access to the Camera Operating Series in partnership with AFI; priority and discounts to training; invitations to events and screenings; over seventy hours of videos, members only mentorship program. JOIN NOW

The Society offers multiple levels of membership; Active, Associate, Student, Educator, and Corporate. For a full description of benefits, costs, and qualifications visit SOC.Org/Membership.

CAMERA OPERATOR ·SUMMER 2021

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M AT R I X 4 AXIS GIMBAL

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Profile for Society of Camera Operators

Camera Operator: Summer 2021  

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