Camera Operator: Winter 2021

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SOC.ORG · VOL. 30, NO.1










SOC Education & Membership Portal, SOC Happy Hours, SOC Educational Courses, and more


42 WHAT'S YOUR STORY...? by Lisa Stacilauskas, SOC

44 CORPORATE CORNER Blackmagic Design, Nemal, The Studio-B&H, and NODO

47 INSIGHT Meet the Members


"Rosebud. . ." an interview with Brian S. Osmond, SOC by Kate McCallum

14 ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI "Shooting a Moment in History" by Chad Chamberlain, SOC

20 HILLBILLY ELEGY "Making an American Dream" by Christopher T.J. McGuire, SOC

26 THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 "Framing History" an interview with Michael Fuchs, SOC and Alan Pierce, SOC by David Daut

36 SHOOTING THE SUPER BOWL by David Daut with interviews from: Jay Kulick, Lyn Noland, Jofre Rosero, and Rob Vuona, SOC



26 ON THE COVER: Brian Osmond, SOC on the set of MANK. Photo by Nikolai Loveikis

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Society of Camera Operators 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, Brandon Hickman, Emily Lien,

Board of Governors 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 Technical Standards Eric Fletcher

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 Austin Alward George Billinger, SOC Chad Chamberlain, SOC David Daut Michael Fuchs, SOC Jay Kulick Tom Lappin Kate McCallum Christopher T.J. McGuire, SOC Lyn Noland Austin Nordell, SOC Brian S. Osmond, SOC Jamie Pair Paul Peddinghaus, SOC Alan Pierce, SOC Joseph Piscitelli, SOC Jofre Rosero Lisa Stacilauskas, SOC Ian Takahashi, SOC Rob Vuona, SOC

PHOTOGRAPHY Alice Award Ryan Chamberlain Ryan Cox

Miles Crest Joey Despenzero Karen French Jonathan Harrison Michael Jonas Robert Lorenz Nikolai Loveikis Lisbet Musteller Evelyn Osmond Patti Perret Rebecca Rahm Gisele Schmidt Cory Stambler Nico Tavernisel Lacey Terrell Beka Venezia Barry Wetcher


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Letter from the President I hope this finds you all doing well, and looking forward to a promising and encouraging 2021. We are just not sure what tomorrow will look like. It seems so impossible. So after much discussion and thought, the SOC Board of Governor’s has decided not to put the in person SOC Lifetime Achievement Awards 2021 on pause. We are going virtual. On April 11, 2021 we’ll stream the SOC Camera Operator of Year Awards & Creative Vision Celebration live from 5-6:30pm. Our hope and enthusiasm for the awards and celebration, and what it means to all of us lingers on. It’s been confusing, and not easy, but we needed to do it. To acknowledge and showcase the brilliant work being done by our membership during this unprecedented pandemic. In spite of things that seem impossible right now, our dedication, spirit and creativity moves forward. We are unrelenting and passionate. I hope you all will enjoy this truly unique virtual live event. It’s going to be different, but also familiar. We are not losing sight of our future. Our perspective will pay off, and we will remember our accomplishments, in spite of the circumstances. Let’s keep working towards being the first to always be inspired. As Steven Spielberg is fond of saying “Always trust your instincts.” I remember these words often. They’ve led me to meaningful discoveries as a storyteller. I hope you will enjoy the awards and celebration show, and discover for yourself the beauty and achievements of this year’s remarkable body of work from our incredible membership. With best regards and blessings to you and your families,

George Billinger, SOC Society of Camera Operators, President





The SOC’s Awards Committee Announces

SOC CAMERA OPERATOR OF THE YEAR AWARDS & CREATIVE VISION CELEBRATION April 11, 5–6:30pm PST, Online Join the Society of Camera Operators in honoring the Camera Operator of the Year for Film & Television. Hosted by the Awards Committee, bringing together our community to celebrate our industry’s triumphs, masterful storytelling, and stand out creativity.




SOC CAMERA OPERATOR OF THE YEAR AWARDS & CREATIVE VISION CELEBRATION April 11, 5–6:30pm PST, Virtual Although we will not be having our traditional annual SOC Lifetime Achievement Awards show this year, please join the Society of Camera Operators virtually, to honor the Camera Operator of the Year for Film & Television. Hosted by the Awards Committee, the event will bring together our community to celebrate our industry’s triumphs, masterful storytelling, and standout creativity. Attendee registration details to be announced at

MEMBERSHIP PORTAL The SOC is proud to have launched the first phase of the Membership Portal, which now houses 150 + hours of content, education, panels, workshops, and podcasts. Additionally, a membership benefits section, where Corporate Members post offers, announcements for the membership. All membership categories have access to the Membership Portal. To set up your user name and password, please email for that information. The Membership Portal is updated on a weekly basis and some of the new additions are:

• • •

SOC January Happy Hour SOC’s Stabilized Camera Light Weight Gimbal Workshops: Complete series 1–4 Practical Applications of Large Format Cinematography

Log on to to see the offerings on the Membership Portal.

SOC HAPPY HOUR LAUNCHES! The SOC has introduced a new networking online event as an informal Zoom gathering. These take place on the first Saturday of the month from 4:30pm - 6:00pm PST with the purpose to meet and greet with fellow members. These gatherings are intended to be fun, informal, freeform, and hosted by an SOC host. Jump on at any time during the "happy hour," with a drink in hand and connect with your fellow operators.

SOC EDUCATIONAL COURSES The Education Committee has been busy creating online educational courses which members are able to attend live, and then access on the SOC Membership Portal as well. Here are examples of the classes that have been presented:


News & Notes SOC’S STABILIZED CAMERA GIMBAL WORKSHOPS With the proliferation of camera gimbals onto sets, for use as stabilized remote heads, specialized camera movement platforms or something in between, this series explores this technology and how it can be used to advance the art of storytelling. The workshop series focuses on the tech, the challenges, and the opportunities presented by professional camera gimbals. The series is held virtually with multiple teaching locations, and taught by SOC Active members. SESSION #1 – THE BASICS The first session discusses the history and development of the technology that made lightweight stabilized camera gimbals possible. The basics of preparing a camera package and a gimbal for use on set—from building the camera to balancing to tuning and understanding basic settings. This session gives ACs and camera operators the background, preparation and a solid footing for the next two sessions examine specific use cases. SESSION #2 – STUDIO MODE The second session explores using the popular combination of the DJI Ronin 2 and the Flowcine Black Arm in a studio setting. Through the development and setup of a complex dolly shot, attendees learn to understand how to use these devices, how they work together, and the common problems that may arise. This understanding can then translate to other use demanding scenarios. SESSION #3 – ADVANCE USE CASES The third session goes deeper into advanced camera movement and the work of Jim McConkey, SOC and Larry McConkey, SOC with the Freefly MoVI PRO. The demands presented by multi-platform shots and how expanded use of creative camera movement can advance our ability to tell the story. A discussion of the technical challenges that may arise on set and how to overcome them, is included. SESSION #4 – ADVANCE USE CASES Session #4 is a wrap up from the past three workshops and is hosted in a discussion and Q&A format. A review of what was taught in the weeks prior and discussion about the creative applications of the technology is presented.

SOC BUSINESS OF CAMERA OPERATING Saturday, February 27, 11 AM PST This Zoom session focuses on the business of camera operating. Candid discussions address many of the mysterious topics of the business of operating and how to navigate these sometimes difficult situations and make the most of the opportunities. This session is only open to SOC members of all categories.


Topics presented for SOC Business of Camera Operating:

• • • • • • •

Getting started and “moving up” Buying Equipment - major considerations and best “bang for

Speakers: Bonnie Blake, SOC; Mitch Dubin, SOC; Geoff Hayley, SOC; Gretchen Warthen, SOC

your buck"

Register here:

Transitioning into a new segment of your career


Making the best deal – with and without gear Who is your best “agent” Getting or not getting an agent The operators relationship with the director, cinematographer, and producer

• • • • • •

News & Notes

Negotiating tactics, tips, and pitfalls The operator’s relationship with the rental house Rate, rates, and more rates In town or out of town The worst mistake I made and the lessons learned The criteria for taking a job


Our corporate sponsors have been active as well. ZEISS presented this informative workshop: Are you one of the viewers that made The Queen’s Gambit the mostwatched limited series on Netflix? Or perhaps you’re a superfan of HBO’s Lovecraft Country? What these shows—plus features such as Downton Abbey and the upcoming Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom—have in common are the cinematographers’ tool of choice: ZEISS Supreme Primes, a full-frame 13-lens set ranging of cinematic lenses from 18mm-200mm with an additional focal length of 15mm to be released in 2021. The recorded session is posted in the membership portal.


Gary Oldman as Herman Mankiewicz in MANK. Photo by Miles Crist



MANK Rosebud. . .

an interview with Brian S. Osmond, SOC by Kate McCallum

Mank is an American biographical drama film about screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz and his battles with director Orson Welles over screenplay credit for Citizen Kane (1941). The film is directed by David Fincher, based on a script written by his father Jack Fincher, with Gary Oldman in the title role.

 WATCH TRAILER NOW Camera Operator: How did you end up working on this phenomenal film? Brian S. Osmond: In 2016, I started to build rapport with David Fincher and Erik Messerschmidt on two seasons of the Netflix show Mindhunter. It was there that we forged a successful working relationship and developed a shorthand for achieving David’s distinctive visual style. When Mank came along, it was an honor and a thrill to be invited to such a unique and special project. CO: Who made up your team?

ing the precise look that David prefers. They had worked with Fincher before so I was the new guy. Mindhunter allowed us a lot of time together to form a connection. Together I think we work tightly as a team and get the task done. To say that “I couldn’t do it without them” would be an understatement. Dwayne is a phenomenal dolly grip and critical to making the exacting moves. One day David commented, “Well, we start with perfection and then we work up from there.” So, you’re not going to be phoning in anything on his set!

Osmond: Our team consisted of DP, Erik Messerschmidt; A 1st AC, Alex Scott; A 2nd AC, Gary Bevans;

Our B camera operator, Will, joined us for

A dolly grip, Dwayne Barr; B Cam OP: Will Dearborn; B 1st AC: Dvaid Edsall; and B dolly grip, Michael Mull. Alex (1st AC), Gary (2nd AC), and Dwayne (dolly grip) are incredibly important to our work in achiev-

David likes to use two cameras extensively.

the second season of Mindhunter, and became an integral part of our camera team. If we can get that B camera in there, we will. It’s sometimes quite a ballet as you get two cameras on dollies moving around on a dance floor for an eight-page scene!

TRIVIA: This is the second film to detail the process of creating Citizen Kane (1941), following the semi-fictitious RKO 281 (1999) which starred John Malkovich as Herman J. Mankiewicz, and Liev Schreiber as Orson Welles.


Our DP, Erik Messerschmidt is simply a wonderful support and leader. I like to call him our quality control manager where, back at the monitors, his insights help communicate David’s intentions to us and hone what we are doing. Erik dovetails well with Fincher’s work style and together they are an uncompromising team. CO: Citizen Kane is one of the great America films of all times. How was it working alongside David Fincher and the cast to tell this story? Osmond: Well, I certainly felt a gravity in the project. We were making a film led by David Fincher from a script written by his father (Jack Fincher) based on the celebrated film Citizen Kane! Many times I think we all felt there was something remarkable, something special, in what we were making. The cast was terrific and they were onboard for achieving David’s unique vision. David Fincher is a strong filmmaker with specific, well considered ideas. It’s rewarding working with him as you know that he will push you to do nothing less than great work—every shot, scene, act, and movie.



ochro lor) Red Mon lium (Co ; Red He s ra e m u a C mil x eica Sum L ; ra e m Ca 9, 40, 21, 25, 2 , 8 1 : s e iz as lenses (s in (used 00); Ron 1 , 5 7 , 5 otion 50, 6 head); cm a remote Cinefade

Gary Oldman as Herman Mankiewicz and Sean Persaud as Tommy. in MANK. Photo by Gisele Schmidt/NETFLIX CO: What challenges came up during the shoot? Osmond: It was shot in black and white so that offers some interesting visual challenges to be sure. Obviously, you can’t rely on the tonality of color anymore to separate the various planes of interest. So there is a bit more attention perhaps that has to be paid to composition and especially—lighting. There are fun opportunities to be had there with, for example, classic noir techniques. That said, you’ve got to be careful to stick to the overall theme, and walk a fine line between homage and cliché. There are also simple, if irritating, logistical challenges like, for example, green/blue screen. That naturally becomes a useless gray screen. To get around that, we would sometimes use a color camera with green screen to achieve SFX work. Most of the time for utilitarian SFX shots, like a car driving, we used


rear screen projection with a large LED wall. And being a period film, there is always the lurking concern of catching something out of the time period and giving watchdog viewers anachronistic ammo. Our production designer and set dressers were both attentive and quite clever. And there is always the support of some visual effects wizardry, so I expect very little will slip through. Otherwise, the process was familiar and much the same as other projects with David. CO: Where did you shoot? Locations? Osmond: There were a number of interesting locations that we used. We spent a week out in Victorville, California on a ranch there. Fun fact: it was the actual ranch where Herman Mankiewicz wrote Citizen Kane, so there is some real authenticity in making the effort to be at that location. That was exterior work only. The significant amount of

interior scenes for the Victorville work were shot on stage. Because the movie centers around a motion picture writer, and his experiences in the industry, we got a fun tour around Hollywood, shooting several exteriors at the Warner Brothers, Paramount and Sony studio lots. Dressed for the day (1930’s) and populated with costumes of the time, it was entertaining to watch and shoot. You don’t see too many hats, ties, and coats behind the scenes on movie sets today! Standing in for William Randolph Hearst’s immense home and property in San Simeon were the grounds at Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens in Pasadena. The interior work for those locations were largely shot on stage. The renowned dining room of Hearst Castle in particular was recreated with loving and great detail for a number of scenes. CO: Any special style that David had you use?


TRIVIA: The film is David Fincher's first film to be presented in full black-and-white, his first feature film for a streaming service rather than exclusively for theaters and his second film to be set prior to the 1970s.

Brian Osmond on the set of MANK. Photo courtesy of NETFLIX Osmond: Mank used precise compositions and camera movement that is the familiar hallmark of Fincher. The story needed to be told from an objective point of view; the camera is not meant to be a “personality” in this film. Camera movement needs to disappear into the scene and avoid becoming a character itself. If you become aware of the camera, it takes something away from the scene. You’ve lost something. Certainly for some films it can be a lively tool that way and you need that “character” but for this project, a more classic look was part of the vision. If I’m doing my job well, hopefully you don’t notice the camera work at all and I’m eliminated from the equation. This sort of thing requires extra attention from the actors as far as marks, and their movement becomes decidedly more deliberate to achieve specific compositions. All the players in our cast were gracious and cooperative about this as a part of embracing David’s aesthetic.


CO: How did you achieve it? What tech did you use on set? Osmond: 90% of the time, Will and I used Pee-Wee dollies and O’Connor fluid heads to do the work. Pretty simple and low-tech really. No zooms, no hand-held, no gear head, no gimbals, etc. We did have available a Ronin head with DJI Master Wheels. This was our go-to remote head that we used when it became impractical to achieve certain shots the old-school way. We only used it as a remote head though; never hand-held or carried. Mank was captured on the RED Monochrome Helium with Leica Summilux lenses. Our lens set was 18mm to 100mm with the 29mm and 40mm getting a consistent workout. We generally like to work ‘closer and wider’ rather than throwing on long lenses. It’s a more intimate and natural look, in my opinion, but does add demands with

things like eyelines and sightlines around the set. Again, the actors were supportive of this, and willing and able to repeatedly deliver amazing performances to a tape mark inside the matte box when required. One interesting device that got used was the cmotion Cinefade. The Cinefade is a system that places a variable ND filter in the matte box and a motor on the iris. Controlled together to always achieve the same exposure, the result is dynamic control over depth of field. This tool gave us an additional control to add texture in a scene. We often already worked at a deep stop (much as Citizen Kane did) so it was uncomplicated to make a “depth of field pull” from a sharp background to a soft one or vice-versa. It’s a subtle effect, but I think you’ll find the result reinforces the storytelling in a clever way. Aside from the Cinefade and straight ND’s, we used an orange 2 filter for exteriors. This provides improved contrast.


TRIVIA: The script was written by David Fincher's late father, Jack Fincher.

Top: On the set of MANK. Bottom: Pictured are Gary Oldman and Tom Pelphrey on set with Brian Osmond with dolly grip, Dwayne Barr. Photos courtesy of NETFLIX A large LED screen was used primarily for rear projection backgrounds: car process work, and the occasional exterior scene that benefited from studio control. The screen was a 2mm pitch wall so that it could be photographed directly.


CO: How was it working with Academy Award-winning actor, Gary Oldman? Osmond: Working with Gary Oldman was wonderful. He is a superb actor and took the role seriously. It was a delight to watch him work and he worked hard. Gary is also an

awfully nice guy, and just a true gentleman when comes to our crew and the often technical irritations of filmmaking. The rest of the cast—Lily Collins, Tom Burke, Amanda Seyfried, Tuppence MidPhoto by Stephane Malenfant dleton, Charles Dance, Tom Pelphry, Arliss


Brian Osmond on the set of MANK. Photo courtesy of NETFLIX Howard, and Ferdinand Kingsley—all were so terrific and invested in the film. They showed up with their performances, aware of and responsive to the technical requirements of the visual dynamic. CO: David Fincher has a reputation for shooting numerous takes? Can you explain why he does this and what it’s like to work with him? Osmond: Fair to say that Fincher has this reputation and we do indeed shoot a num-

ber of takes on many shots and scenes. David has such a strong style and idea in his head that he is always working to achieve that. To the casual observer it might seem exorbitant, or perhaps even irresponsible. But David works constantly to craft the scene, both technically and in the actor’s performances. Nearly every take will have notes of increasing nuance to bring the story to life. It’s never doing takes for the sake of doing takes. When people ask me what it is like to do so many takes day after

day, I respond this way… “How often do you get to completely perfect a shot?” In my experience, not often. I can work with Dwayne, Alex and the cast so we can get every shot dialed in technically at a level that really cannot be achieved without the “homework” of several takes. It’s not necessarily easy, but it is rewarding in the end. It’s a pleasure working with Fincher because he is simply a strong filmmaker. Your best efforts will be required each day and good leaders draw that out of their crew.

BRIAN S. OSMOND, SOC Brian S. Osmond, SOC has been a camera operator for 12 years, and came from an unlikely beginning. Osmond began college pursuing computer science, but got seduced by the idea of making films and left the world of tech behind. Starting out as a camera trainee on Silence of the Lambs, he worked his way through the camera department plying his craft in each position. As a camera operator, Brian enjoys working with so many talented people, and the challenges of daily problem solving, and he’s not sure if it’s the best job on the set or not, but it’s one that he enjoys, and looks forward to doing each day. Photo courtesy of Evelyn Osmond



One Night In Miami

Shooting a Moment in History  by Chad Chamberlain, SOC

TRIVIA: Leslie Odom Jr. and Jasmine Cephas Jones previously worked together in the Broadway production of Hamilton.


Eli Goree as Cassius Clay with camera operator, Chad Chamberlain, SOC. Photographer Patti Perret


One Night in Miami is an American drama film directed by Regina King (in her feature directorial debut), from a screenplay by Kemp Powers based on his stage play of the same name. It stars Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge and Leslie Odom Jr., and tells a fictionalized story of Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown and Sam Cooke, as the group celebrate Ali's surprise title win over Sonny Liston in a Miami hotel room in February 1964.  WATCH TRAILER NOW I believe that many of us in the camera department pursued our careers because we were inspired by something. It can then become very easy to put that project that inspired us on a pedestal. We assume there is some mystical process executed by the best of the best. We believe every major film or TV show is carried out by individuals with some unattainable skill level. Then you start working in the industry and you may find that isn’t always the case. You may also find yourself on jobs where you ask yourself, “What am I doing here?” Perhaps the content isn’t what you hoped for, or the crew isn’t what you expected, etc. You start to find it can be a rare and coveted experience when all those objectives align with what you fabricated in your mind. One Night In Miami was one of those exceptional experiences where everything not only met, but exceeded expectations in every category. I had just finished a film with most of the camera crew and was lucky enough to work with them right away on One Night In Miami. Our B camera team was made up of Austin Alward, operator; Zachary Blosser, 1st AC; and Haley Turk, 2nd AC. I was the A camera/ Steadicam operator, with Sarah Brandes, 1st AC; and Sienna Pinderhughes, 2nd AC. Tami Reiker was the cinematographer. I never had the pleasure of working with Sarah or Tami prior to this film, and I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity. They have had a long working relationship that really assisted in the workflow. Both are very skilled artists at the top of their game.


Since One Night In Miami was adapted from a stage play and directed by an accomplished actress, it created some unique and unforeseen challenges for the crew. One of those challenges was adapting lengthy sections of dialogue, that largely take place in one location, into bite-size pieces we could shoot. In a stage play there is essentially one “action” and one “cut.” In this particular play, we center around the dialogue of four monumental public figures, having arguably one of the most important and pivotal conversations of their time, following a fight that would launch the career of someone who is arguably the world’s best athlete, philanthropist, and activist…Muhammad Ali. Not only did these conversations take place in mostly one location, but in terms of the film’s timeline, also in one night. The conversation that takes place that night in 1964 played out like a piece of music, and the actors were much like musicians in a band. In order to keep the rhythm, Regina King and Tami Reiker did everything they could to allow the actors the chance to play the whole song uninterrupted. Of course, we would go in and get our pickups and inserts, etc., but we would do our best at every setup to run the scene as long as possible. With two people sitting, at a table, this is no big deal. However, when you have four people standing, sitting and walking around each other in a small room throughout a three, five, or even 12-minute scene, it can be very disorienting. Solving that puzzle, by allowing the actors the space to truly be present in the scene, is what makes the job so exciting.

Tami and I had some meetings during prep to discuss the objectives of the film, and to walk the space they were constructing on stage that would become the hotel room. You could tell even at this early stage that she had a firm grasp on the look she wanted. This is always a very valuable time to get on the same page, and to think ahead about obstacles that can be avoided during production. This is when Austin Alward, B camera operator, made a crucial suggestion to cut holes behind the mirrors and photos in the walls of the hotel room. He used these holes in the wall to film through when he couldn’t physically get in the room. It can save a lot of time and allow for quick decisions to add a camera if you’re simply removing a mirror rather than a wild wall. This also kept everything intact which allowed A camera to see most of the room. During the development of the film, I remember having talks with Tami about the bulk of the film being shot on a jib arm. I said, “Okay, so I’ll just be outside the room on the wheels since it will be a small room with four guys in it?” She then expressed to me her desire of wanting to use a Lambda head. I was convinced the remote head would be(Lthe go.asHowever, it isSarah alto R)way EmilytoMest Nurse Amelia, Paulsonasas an Mildred Ratched, Englert ways important operator to Alice advise but as Nurse Dolly, Charlie Carver as Huck ultimatelyFinnigan do everything you can to make and Jermaine Williams as Harold the cinematographer’s vision101 a reality. I canin Episode of RATCHED. Photo Credit: Saeed Adyani/ not express how clear Tami’s vision truly was. NETFLIX © 2020 She always saw 10 steps ahead, and this was another important lesson—to keep an open mind and stay flexible. The Lambda was absolutely the right choice for this project. Being in the room with the actors and having


TRIVIA: Director Regina King and actor Beau Bridges both appeared in Jerry Maguire but didn't share any scenes.

the ability to manually operate the jib and head—while physically challenging—was freeing in many ways. The key, as always, was having a dolly grip who was on the same page, and could be in sync with me to react and move in ways that at times isn’t possible to communicate. Wayne Sharp, my dolly grip, was instrumental in this process. The bulk of the film was shot on the jib with the Lambda, and the majority of the time it was on track as well. This gave us the flexibility to move in and around the room and characters—through these long pieces of dialogue—to bring this stage play to life. The goal was to create a continuous omniscient movement nearly the entire film. Even as the characters would pause, we would attempt small, sometimes imperceptible and uncomfortable movements. This perpetual motion made our static frames that much more powerful. This was another brilliant decision by Tami that went


Above: Behind the scenes of ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI with Chad Chamberlain. Opposite, top: Leslie Odom Jr. stars in ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI. Opposite, bottom: L to R: Lance Reddick playing Kareem X, Eli Goree playing Cassius Clay, and Kingsley Ben-Adir playing Malcom X. Photos by Patti Perret/Amazon Studios.

against my instincts and yet, once again, the perfect choice for this project. Much like the rest of the movie, the “B” camera operator, Austin Alward, and I spent a lot of time dancing around each other. The roof scene was the most literal dance we did together, being that it was one of the two times in the film we went handheld. It is important for all crew members, while rolling, to be in sync and as invisible as possible. Austin was no exception. The scene on the roof was another lengthy endeavor, and as with every scene, during the rehearsal I would record it on my phone and play it back to make a plan of where to be and when. As I stated earlier, we wanted to do everything we could to continue the intention of playing out the scenes as long as possible. The true linchpin to the creative process was my focus puller, Sarah Brandes. She was as flawless as a focus puller could be. Con-

sidering the curve balls we continuously threw, her performance only became more impressive. Having her on the team really allowed us to go for creative choices that would evolve mid-scene, particularly during the roof and boxing scenes where we were mostly handheld and no longer anchored to anything. Without her expertise, we would not have been able to make the bold choices we were able to make in the middle of a three minute plus scene with handoffs. One day on stage, I recall a moment when one of the actors was struggling to get to the emotional place Regina was pushing for. I remember that there was a lot of discussion as we all stepped out to give them space to work it out. Then we hear, “That’s a wrap.” We locked off the cameras and bagged them. We had more time in the day, but she chose to walk away and start fresh rather than continuing to make something work that clearly wasn’t going to at that time. The care that was taken to


TECH ON SETrr: i Prime

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TRIVIA: Michael Imperioli appeared in Malcolm X as a reporter in the scene where Malcolm X's family home is firebombed. The same historical incident is portrayed in One Night In Miami in which Imperioli plays boxing trainer Angelo Dundee. Dundee was played by Ron Silver in Ali. Ron Silver and Michael Imperioli both appeared in Girl 6. make this tough decision was a thread Regina wove throughout the entire production. This is something I hope that I can remember in the future. So often we are stuck following a schedule, and are in situations where we have no choice but to shoot it and move on. She could have easily handled that night in the same way, but she didn’t. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the schedule and the finances of a film, and I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t; however, art is really made when you can be aware of when it pays to walk away and come back to it later. Working with actors can present different challenges for different reasons. Since almost every scene had very palpable tension, we were always doing our best to give the actors as much direction in terms of marks or anything specific before we would start rolling one of our long takes. What you can’t plan for however, is having such an incredible team of actors. Our commitment to the jib arm sometimes meant taking up a large amount of real estate in a small location, particularly when the two jibs were filming simultaneously in the hotel room. You would always have to keep an eye on the peripherals around the camera as we would move in and around the room. Every one of our actors would be ducking under the arm as they walked off screen, stepping over track, squeezing by the base, etc. This type of setup was truly only made possible by their cooperation and understanding. As I was thinking back on when we recreated the photo shoot of Cassius Clay underwater, it made me wonder what was going through our B camera operator, Austin Alward’s, mind while he was filming what I consider to be the most iconic shot of the movie. I asked him for his perspective on that moment as well as other takeaways from the film. The following are his thoughts:


“Once the camera is balanced, there is that moment with underwater work when you dip your head below the surface and everything goes quiet. There’s a stillness, a weightlessness, and in this case a timelessness too because Eli Goree is a dead ringer for young Cassius Clay—fists forward, knees bent, poised to shatter the liquid glass ceiling above his head as he channels Flip Shulke’s iconic Life magazine photograph, and I feel transported back in time. Regina’s voice clicks direction through the submersible speaker. A period underwater photographer drifts into frame and composes the shot for the history books. One of the exciting things about period pieces based on real people is the opportunity to consult the past for inspiration and guidance. In this case we had a tremendous photographic history to dive into, from the geometry of the boxing rings and music venues to that iconic underwater pose to the final scene at the diner. Malcom was an avid photographer who understood the power of public image to effect social change. He shoots with his cherished Rolleiflex throughout the movie, so filming directly down through his camera’s viewfinder is not only a literal element we had some fun with on set, but it also fits the visual telling of this particular story and its historic context like a glove. Playwright Kemp Powers adapted his stage play to create the screenplay we photographed, so there’s a continuity to his vision that runs through the script and sustains the heartbeat of his source material. Regina and editor Tariq Anwar have achieved the tone and patience of a stage play, peeling back layers of character relationships so that spoken words land with the impact of a live audience experience, while still playing to cinema’s strengths. There’s not much more any adaptation, any audience, or any crew can ask for.” —Austin Alward

As I prepare for a film, one thing I always try to do is watch as many projects by the director and DP as time allows. With this project, in addition to my standard prep, I did an entirely different type of research. I really wanted to immerse myself in the time period and truly understand these four men. I knew the names, and many of the stories, but I wanted a deeper understanding and I wanted it to be fresh. This required watching as many documentaries as I could squeeze in before we started filming. What I learned added so many layers to my understanding of the material, and a respect for their lives and careers I can’t properly put into words. It also gave me an incredible level of respect and admiration for the actors and their efforts to portray these men not only as the characters that were so well known on TV, but also how they could have behaved behind closed doors with those they trust. I will never be able to properly express what it felt like to hear Malcom X over my shoulder, to see Jim Brown and Cassius Clay banter, or Sam Cooke singing Chain Gang acapella. There are too many moments to recall that were amplified and enhanced by the research undergone to truly understand the characters. My hope is that somehow the emotion I felt while filming was in some way translated on screen. Every film you take on has its own unique challenges. Sometimes those challenges are technical, logistical, or political. Overcoming those challenges can be very satisfying. To me, though, nothing is more satisfying than being a part of the storytelling process, particularly when the story you are telling has the weight of a film like this, in a time when the world needs to hear it most. There is nothing more surreal than standing next to these historical representations of some of the most inspiring men to ever live. I hope we can take some time to hear their voices one more time; to truly listen to their struggles, thoughts, and dreams. May we not let their work be for nothing. This is why we make movies, and it is truly an honor and a privilege to be a part of a story the world needs to hear.


CHAD CHAMBERLAIN, SOC Chad Chamberlain, SOC picked up his first camera in third grade and by age 19 he had turned it into a full-time career. He started in the commercial industry with an emphasis on Steadicam, aerial, and crane work. Since changing his focus to feature films and TV, he has operated on projects such as Queen and Slim, Project Power, Happy Death Day, and Bill and Ted Face the Music. “Operating a camera is not only my job, it is my favorite thing in the world to do. There is no greater honor than to help create a story through the lens of a camera that has the potential to effect people long after I am gone.” Photo by Ryan Chamberlain

AUSTIN ALWARD Austin Alward began as a camera assistant in Paris in 2000. In 2014, Dante Spinotti gave him his first operator credit on I Saw The Light in 2014. Since then Austin’s other credits include: Looking for Alaska, Project Power, Wendy, Red White and Water. Top: ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI with Aldis Hodge. Middle: Aldis Hodge and Director Regina King on set. Bottom: Director Regina King with Eli Goree on set. Photos by Patti Perret/Amazon Studios


Photo by Alice Alward


Hillbilly Elegy Making an “American Dream” by Christopher T.J. McGuire, SOC

HILLBILLY ELEGY: (L to R) Glenn Close ("Mamaw”), Amy Adams (“Bev”). Photo by Lacey Terrell/NETFLIX © 2020


Hillbilly Elegy is an American drama film directed by Ron Howard, from a screenplay written by Vanessa Taylor, based on the 2016 memoir of the same name written by J.D. Vance. The film is a modern exploration of the “American Dream” through three generations of an Appalachian family and stars Glenn Close, Amy Adams, Gabriel Basso, Haley Bennett, Freida Pinto, Bo Hopkins, and Owen Asztalos. 20


CHRISTOPHER T.J. MCGUIRE: It’s always strange how social media seems to be able to know what’s coming before you do these days… Ron Howard’s Masterclass kept showing up on my Instagram feed months before I got a call to meet with Maryse Alberti. It was about the possibility of working with her on Hillbilly Elegy which was to be directed by none other than Ron Howard. Needless to say, the opportunity to see Ron Howard work first-hand was incredible for me. Hillbilly Elegy, a memoir of a family and culture in crisis, is a New York Times bestseller, written by J.D. Vance about the Appalachian values of his Kentucky family as they come to terms with the social problems of his hometown in Middletown, Ohio. Thankfully I had a good rapport with Maryse straight away, I had loved her folio of work for a while, The Wrestler was an incredible film that leant itself to its documentary style that suited the character’s story. Photography of Hillbilly Elegy was to be a contrast of camera applications for different time genres. Most of the film takes place through the eyes of a young J.D. in the 80 and 90s, and the decided style was handheld. Owen Asztalos plays the role of the 13-year-old J.D., and does a wonderful job of capturing the innocence and relationship the real J.D. Vance had with his mother and Mawmaw. Gabriel Basso took on the tough side of transition of J.D. in his late-20s, and we rolled with a mixture of Steadicam, dolly, and longer focal lengths for 2012. As this was a Netflix production we were going to use the Sony Venice, which is a great camera—ideal for Steadicam and handheld, but we were going to also deploy a Rialto adaptor system from Sony to make the body smaller so we could get the sensor into tight positions, and really attain manoeuvrability in handheld mode.


Jamie Pair was the more than able 2nd AC on the film with Greg Irwin as my legendary 1st AC.


ON SET: FORMAT: Sony VEN ICE Spherical & An amorphic 1 :2.40,4K Sony VEN ; ICE; 2 x S ony Rialto 3 x back foot ; (fl age) ANA ”When we went into the project it MORPHIC ashHAWK VLenses Lite 35, 4 was made clear by our director of 5, 55, 65, 140mm; S 8 0 P , 110, & H E R photography, Maryse Alberti, that ICAL Lens footage) Z es; (prese E IS nt da SM each portion would require a specif27, 32, 40 aster Prime 18, 21, y ,50, 65, 1 ic form of photography. With that in 00, 135m 25, (80/90 pe m ri o d footage mind we needed to structure the abil) COOKE S 18, 21, 25 4 , 27, 32, 4 ity to jump from our A camera hand0, 50, 65, 1 0 0 , 1 3 5, 180mm held build to our C camera in Sony Ri-


alto mode, supported by a Tilta backpack, while using a handful of parts that were shared between the builds to keep each as light as possible, but also allow for quick rebuilds. The shared parts consisted of two LM30 heden motors on a single 15mm rod, a cineRT bolted to the top of an LMB5, and a Preston MDR-4. This swap between rigs was—at times—shot to shot, whatever the appropriate tool for the shot was—we made it happen. The schedule didn't allow for much error; it was go...go...go!!!! During the show if we figured out something to make the build better, saving time, making things easier... then that is exactly what happened. There was no concept of a completely locked-in build. It constantly evolved.” While most of the film was shot in practical locations, production had built the family homes on a stage at EUE / Screen Gems Studios south of Atlanta.

Bev and Mawmaw’s homes were the mainstay for a lot of the exposition surrounding young J.D.s life, so it was great to have total control of the set for the sake of the actors. Amy Adams and Glenn Close stepped onto set in the characters they were portraying, and sometimes you’d feel like you were actually in the presence of the real Mawmaw herself. While we utilised the stages, we were on location both in the north and the south of Atlanta. We travelled up to the small town of Tiger, Georgia for “the holler” scenes,

which is where J.D. starts off his journey as a young man surrounded by his Appalachian family. We traveled down to the city of Macon for many of the other exterior locations. Being a British expat, I always love seeing the true deep America for its amazing architecture, both in the cities and in rural towns. We also shot an important scene in “the holler” which is an instrumental moment for young J.D.–this was in a swimming hole for which we needed a Technocrane, and also an underwater specialist. It was great to be able to bring in Ian Takahashi, SOC to photograph the water which segued into him shooting a splinter unit.

IAN TAKAHASHI, SOC ADDED: “HILLBILLY ELEGY was a wonderful challenge for me. I came to the project through the underwater work, and ended up taking on the 2nd unit DP role, which I was happy to jump into. I spent the moments I could watching the monitor on main-unit, and peeking at dailies in order to stay visually aligned with our DP, Maryse Alberti as well as with the energy and composition that Chris (McGuire) and Tom (Lappin) brought to their cameras. Early on, I had a conversation with Ron (Howard) about a mindset to be in while working on this film. It was about the


TRIVIA: The film is an adaptation of the 2016 New York Times best-selling memoir of the same name.

people doing the best they can, in the way they know how. Approaching the subjects with respect and dignity at all times, and focusing on their story, not the conditions that they may live in. That was inspiring, and relayed where he was coming from, and what I would align myself with. I leaned on 1st AC, Tom Jordan who kept everything organized and running smoothly. Our assignments ran the gamut of aerials to underwater, with VFX and car stunts thrown into the mix, on multiple camera systems and lens sets, both spherical and anamorphic. A note on the water sequences in a creek in northern Georgia. The creek was only a few feet deep, with a muddy, silty bottom, which would be challenge for us. To mitigate this, our team installed black plastic on the bottom of about 20' of the creek, so our feet wouldn't kick up mud. With the movement and bubbles of this kinetic scene, I wasn't actually able to see anything through my monitor while underwater. The camera


could see, but with the movement, and extra bubbles, mud, and mask between me and my monitor, I couldn't see anything useful. So, I would frame out of the water, using camera-housing markings as guides and visualizing the viewing angle, and just went for it.” With a great crew and an incredible cast, we were able to shoot speedily, and enable Ron to get the story captured with the right level of intensity, whether it be the awkwardness or the voracity of growing up.

AS TOM LAPPIN DESCRIBES: “HILLBILLY ELEGY came at the right time. Not the right time of the year but the right time in my career. Being on that set with Ron Howard, Maryse Alberti, and Chris McGuire was a truly incredible experience. I feel that if that job had come earlier in my career, I might not have made it to the end. Ron directs with such intensity and the actors were so completely immersed in their roles that any weakness on my part

would have led to me being shown the door. Every day was an exciting race to the finish. Chris and I have worked together on several films, and we have grown to trust each other. Chris will allow me to get close, which for a B operator makes all the difference. He allows me to participate in the scene—not just get stuff with a long lens from across the set. I was lucky to have Sean Moe and Victoria Warren with me as the AC’s, so I never lacked for support. To be able to make a choice on the fly, and know the focus puller will be with you, is a great comfort. Being a part of this team was a thrill. I hope we all get to do it again.” Finally, it really was a testament to director, Ron Howard in his passion for filmmaking, and his utmost respect for his crew—you really felt a part of the process. For someone so prepared and lucid with his thoughts you see first-hand the years of experience he has, and his willingness to share with ALL of his crew.


Above: Owen Asztalos and A camera/Steadicam operator Christopher T.J. McGuire. Below: HILLBILLY ELEGY: (L to R) Haley Bennett ("Lindsay”), Glenn Close ("Mamaw”), Owen Asztalos ("Young J.D. Vance"). Photos by Lacey Terrell/NETFLIX

Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) and Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci) in THE IRISHMAN. Photo courtesy of Netflix




Maryland, Tom started taking photography and film related classes. It was there he met Boots Shelton who introduced him to professional filmmaking. Tom’s first feature film was the original Hairspray with John Waters. After two more John Waters films with Boots (Crybaby and Serial Mom) then 12 Monkeys with Terry Gilliam—Tom moved to Los Angeles. After some lean months in LA, Tom did a few shows with Bill Pope as a B camera focus puller. Eventually, Tom joined Andrew Rowlands, the camera operator on Michael Ballhaus’ crew. He first worked as B Camera, then as A Camera. Before Michael retired, Tom had the pleasure of working with him on Wild Wild West, What Planet Are You From, The Legend Of Bagger Vance, Gangs Of New York, Somethings Gotta Give, and The Departed.

Christopher T.J. McGuire made his debut in the motion picture industry operating with the MK-V Revolution on Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Since then he’s built a modest folio of movies including: Conan the Barbarian, Godzilla: King of Monsters, Jason Bourne, and Terminator: Dark Fate.

Tom was moved up to operator by Florian Ballhaus on the film Flight Plan. Subsequently, he’s worked with the younger Ballhaus on over 18 projects such as: The Devil Wears Prada, and Marley and Me. Since moving to Atlanta Tom has operated on many films Black Panther, Hillbilly Elegy, and Suicide Squad among them.

Throughout the years he’s developed a keen enthusiasm to embrace all types of technologies and new equipment in order to achieve the shots for all forms of narrative. Working with camera crews around the world, he lists this as his greatest passion for the job–meeting new people, and learning from them.

Photo by Barry Wetcher JAMIE PAIR

Happy to have worked with DPs including Barry Ackroyd, Larry Sher, Julio Macat, Barry Peterson, and Maryse Alberti amongst many—Chris has counted himself lucky to have been a part of many productions, commercials, and music videos included, and he’s always satisfied by the passion and education shared by each DP. Photo by Lacey Terrell TOM LAPPIN

Tom fell in love with movies as a kid growing up on Long Island, New York. The Walt Disney Studios had double features at the South Shore Theater in West Babylon every summer. At the University of


Jamie Pair is a camera assistant born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. Being in the right place at the right time he landed his first job as a camera PA, and he took off from there at the beginning stages of Atlanta's incentive boom. Eventually, he found himself working as a 2nd AC for projects all over the world. His credits include: Stranger Things, Ozark, Gemini Man, Black Panther, Falcon Winter Soldier, Hill Billy Elegy, Billy Lynn's Long Half Time Walk, and Ant-Man 2. Photo by Lacey Terrell


IAN S. TAKAHASHI, SOC Beyoncé and Harry Styles, and the scripted series True Detective, Scandal, The Last Ship, and Lethal Weapon, to name a few. Ian began his career interning under Francis F. Coppola, and later John Toll, ASC. He also won a CLIO for his first national commercial as DP (Kaiser Permanente feat Steph Curry 2017). Photo by Michael Jonas

Ian S. Takahashi, SOC, originally from Napa Valley, California, moved to Los Angeles in 2005, and pursued a career as an underwater camera operator and DP. First, working as an assistant and joining IA600, and later the SOC as an operator. His credits include feature films The Suicide Squad, Glass, and Us,

TRIVIA: Ron Howard and Bo Hopkins were both in American Graffiti (1973) and More American Graffiti (1979), but didn't share any scenes in either. TRIVIA: There are 13 Academy Award nominations between Amy Adams and Glenn Close but currently no wins between either of them.of the same name.

commercials for Apple, Nike, Ralph Lauren, music videos for

 WATCH NOW IN THE WORDS OF Christopher T.J. McGuire

A camera/Steadicam operator Christopher T.J. McGuire and Director of Photography Maryse Alberti on the set of HILLBILLY ELEGY. Photo by Lacey Terrell/NETFLIX



The Trial of the Chicago 7 Framing History

an interview with Michael Fuchs, SOC and Alan Pierce, SOC by David Daut

(L-R) Catlain Fitzgerald as Daphne O’Connor, Alan Metoskie as Allen Ginsburg, Alex Sharp as Rennie Davis, Jeremy Strong as Jerry Rubin, John Carroll Lynch as David Dellinger, Sasha Baron Cohen as Abbey Hoffman, Noah Robbins as Lee Weiner. Photo by Niko Tavernise/NETFLIX



For his sophomore directorial effort, Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7 retells the story of the anti-war protests staged at the 1968 Democratic National Convention and the trial that followed in its aftermath. The film stars Eddie Redmayne as Tom Hayden, Alex Sharp as Rennie Davis, Sacha Baron Cohen as Abbie Hoffman, Jeremy Strong as Jerry Rubin, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Bobby Seale.

 WATCH TRAILER NOW Camera Operator: If I’m not mistaken, this was each of your first time working with director Aaron Sorkin as well as cinematographer Phedon Papamichael. How did each of you come to be a part of the picture? Michael Fuchs: I opened my email one day on set and saw an email about interviewing for a job that had Aaron Sorkin as the director and Phedon as the director of photography. I said, “huh. That probably looks like something I should do.” I wasn’t super familiar with the story from the outset, but it was certainly a draw to be a part of something like that. Alan Pierce: I got a text from Craig Pressgrove who was the “A” camera first—just saying that he was going to be on a film that Phedon was shooting and they were looking for a B operator and that if I was interested, someone would reach out to me. Eventually, the production manager scheduled the meeting with Phedon. We talked about handheld operating and other stylistic approaches to this project. I knew that Michael was involved so I reached out to him and asked if would put in a good word for me. I wanted to work with Phedon and Sorkin and obviously with my friend Michael as well. It was really just kind of a perfect instance of being in the right place at the right time and having the time off—I don’t usually have that time of year off—and I got the job, thankfully. CO: What was it like working with both Papamichael and Sorkin? Fuchs: Sorkin as a director is very efficient. We didn’t get too many cracks at takes


during scenes—he’s obviously very clued into the dialogue and how it’s being read, almost exactly as he imagined it when he was writing it—so he’s very focused on the spoken word and the dialogue going on and I think he leans on the cinematographer and whoever else is taking care of the images to make sure that what is desired is achieved and he can worry about what is being said. Sometimes he’d get what he wanted to hear pretty quickly, so even though we weren’t trying to do too many super inventive things on this film visually, it’s still like any other movie or anything you’re making—when you’re trying to make something right or do it well and do it precisely, it takes time. The more cracks at something you get, the better you are at it, so it was always a challenge to have things done very well within two or three takes. Two really seemed like the average, if that. That was Sorkin, at least to me. I’ll always remember having to do things well, early. Sometimes without a lot of rehearsals for various reasons; I feel like that’s a common thing that goes on, the more we age in this industry, there’s just less rehearsal time. You have to work quickly and well so they can move on quickly. Then with Phedon, he’s just looking for a very precise, determined camera. Very precise framing that we work on together, but he's also someone who certainly has the final say in terms of what it looks like, and he was very verbal about that. We would wear HMEs, like a lot of DPs prefer these days, and he would be monitoring the situation. It was nice, in a way, to be held to such a high standard every shot. That type of drilling and

that type of practice and work I think can make you better. Pierce: I’ll echo what Michael said. Sorkin will give you two takes, if not one take, so you have to be on your game, you have to be ready to execute, so lining up shots, working with the second team after rehearsal was imperative. And Phedon knew that quite early, so he kind of imposed that attitude of, “here’s what we need to do and we need to get it right as soon as possible,” because we may not get a second take. That’s how I approached every shot, that there may only be one shot at this. So working with Aaron was kind of—maybe not freeing—but it makes you focus in a way. It’s easy sometimes when you know you’re going to get multiple takes to figure it out on the first take and then massage it on the second take and then massage it a little bit more on the third take until you finally, in your head, feel like the shot was right. He was pretty satisfied with take one or take two unless there was a major flub of a line, then we’d get another shot at it. So again, it was a way of really focussing on take one that you don’t always get. And that’s everyone, including focus pullers, lighting, grips, actors—you know, the actors learned quite quickly that if they didn’t get it right on the first take they may not get a second take, they’d literally have to beg for a second take. And Phedon, you know, same thing. He’d just done Ford v. Ferrari and their aesthetics and the way he and the director framed was very specific. He has a vision in his head, and you have to get in tune with that pretty quickly or he’ll let you know. “That’s not what I want, that’s not the edge of frame that



Michael Fuchs, SOC and Alan Pierce, SOC on set of THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7. Photo by Niko Tavernise/NETFLIX

I just walked away from.” Which for me was great too, because usually I’m given a lot of freedom on B camera to come up with some of my own framing to compliment what the A camera is doing, so he had a lot of great input on that. CO: Given your documentary background and Sorkin’s style of shooting this with limited takes, did it feel like you were kind of capturing this as it happened as opposed to a more traditional movie shoot? Pierce: Not necessarily. I mean, we did a few takes—I remember running up that hill with Michael quite a few times. And it was two cameras, so Michael was also in there with the handheld, but he also was a little more stylized with some of the Steadicam shots. So, there’s really two sides of this: there’s I guess you could say the more cinematic version of the demonstrations where we used some longer lenses and we


used Steadicam—I think there’s even one crane shot in there that Michael did—and then there was the other side of it where I was told, “you’re documenting what’s happening here.” For me, it was a very freeing experience to just photograph and try to relive history a little bit. Fuchs: Yeah, the lack of takes didn’t feel as big of an issue out in Chicago. I guess it became more of a thing in the courtroom. Charlie Libin did a handful of days as the C camera operator and helped us efficiently capture as many angles of the action as possible in the courtroom. To me all that stuff felt like a regular movie shoot out in Chicago. I enjoyed doing that stuff probably more than the courtroom because it was a bit more freeing, whether it was handheld or Steadicam. It was fun to be there with Al, have two of us handheld running up this hill with all these extras towards these cops with all the haze and fog. It made for some

very good behind the scenes photos. I hope that translated into the film with those production values, but at least in behind the scenes photos, I was thrilled. Both Al and I had an incredible camera department alongside us and it was definitely the reason why I made it through such a challenging film. Beyond just executing technically at a very high level, their support for us overall—and I mean emotionally as well—was invaluable. Craig Pressgrove and Eve Strickman in Chicago on A (Marc Loforte took over for Eve in New Jersey) and Ethan Borsuk and Brendan Russell on B. It was a privilege to be a part of that team. Pierce: I’ve gotta say, there are people who lived during that time and that still live in Chicago, and they were just so pleased that we were actually on the hill. We were in the park, Grant Park, where this stuff really happened. That was an added bonus to being



there, shooting on location where this madness happened. CO: Speaking of that juxtaposition of the real events with the dramatized events of the film, I don’t know how much of this was in the script versus found in the edit, but one of the more interesting things the movie does stylistically is cutting between the versions of these events that you shot and archival footage of the actual events. Can you talk a little bit about your approach to shooting those sequences and whether or not you knew they would be held up side-by-side with the original footage? Fuchs: Alan, I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember hearing that there would definitely be archival, real footage put into the mix with all the stuff that we were doing. I personally don’t remember that being laid out to us in advance. Phedon did want us to watch segments of “Medium Cool,” a docu-


mentary that was done on all of the demonstrating around that time in Chicago, which was certainly helpful. We tried to recreate the atmosphere as best we could. Pierce: Yeah, I had no idea they were going to splice it together. That’s a stylistic approach and a director’s and cinematographer’s discussion. Do you make it clearly two separate things, or are we trying to give you a rewind to what happened and trying to bring you into the fold with what we’re doing today? But I don’t remember ever having a specific conversation. CO: Sort of along those same lines, what sort of equipment did you use on this shoot in terms of camera, gear, that sort of thing. Fuchs: I’ll say that Phedon seems to be a big fan of sliders, just in case he wants to add a little push, a little squeeze on something or someone at the end of a scene, at the beginning of a scene, whatever it is. I think he

has developed a liking for four feet worth of slider to be on standby at all times. So, it was interesting to get used to that; to always have a slider on the dolly. Sliders can be a bit awkward with all that mass so we just worked to make sure things were stabilized and supported while still moving at a fast pace. And, you know, the handheld was the handheld, and that was obviously supposed to be the juxtaposition between courtroom and demonstration. Steadicam was used more in Chicago than in the courtroom. I think we open in the courtroom with a Steadicam shot and then close the movie with a Steadicam shot as well, so that kind of bookends how you find the courtroom, if I’m remembering correctly. It really was a pretty straightforward way, I thought, that the camera spoke throughout the film; anchored in studio mode during the courtroom, very still, then you cut out to Chicago and there’s a bit


TRIVIA: Abbie Hoffman's (Sacha Baron Cohen) frequent stand-up scenes were filmed at a nightclub in Newark, NJ called QXT's which focuses on underground music and art. Michael Fuchs and Alan Pierce on set of THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7. Photo by Niko Tavernise/NETFLIX

more docu-style stuff going on. The A dolly grip on the Chicago unit was my friend, John Hudecek, who I had just met in Chicago on the job prior, the new Candyman film. Such an amazing attitude and a true partner in executing shots. The same can be said about Jaoquin Padilla, who did the A dolly on the New Jersey unit. Another amazingly skilled technician that I valued having in my corner. Pierce: In terms of technology it doesn’t seem like a new tool, but obviously during the original demonstrations there was not a Steadicam getting news coverage. There was no one doing Steadicams in courtrooms. They were discussing these oners they were going to do in the courtroom, and I remember thinking to myself, “how is that going to hold up in this pseudo-period piece?” But after watching Michael nail this thing, just hone in on it and rehearse it while things and people are flying around—and we had


half the extras we were supposed to! I mean, they were recycling background into certain areas, filling in as people were moving, and the way Michael was able to coordinate this inside the chaos of that courtroom was really impressive. When I finally watched it, I said, “this is beautiful! This is perfect!” It’s a way to introduce each character in the film in a really magical way. And to finish the film, I thought it was really, really well done and well planned out and well executed. So, in terms of technology, that was my one take on it; for a second I was a little nervous about it, but it worked really well. CO: Along those lines, at the time of the actual events a Steadicam would’ve been brand new technology. Certainly not used in courtrooms or out on the ground in the protests. So there’s definitely some give and take between period authenticity versus modern sensibilities. Could you talk a little bit more about how you approached

blurring the line between the two in terms of how you shot the film? Fuchs: We’ve all probably seen a lot of period piece films at this point, and it’s something that’s done a lot. You know, they move the camera on a Steadicam in a 60s piece, but it’s just taking that license you have as a visual author or director or whoever’s making that decision to tell the story. It’s still a movie, so it doesn’t have to be completely factual to the time period it’s made in, and I think Aaron similarly took some liberties with what happened in that courtroom. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think the whole thing with my Steadicam closing shot that fades up and away into the back of the courtroom while he’s saying all those names, I don’t think he said those names in real life in the courtroom like that. So, to me, that just adds to the whole fact that it’s a movie and it stands as a movie—a piece of something creative—and licenses were taken


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Sacha Baron Cohen as Abbie Hoffman in THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7. Photo by Niko Tavernise/NETFLIX

in how to tell it. There wasn’t too much focus on having things be period-accurate in terms of the tools. I think Aaron and Phedon just wanted to try and tell the story as cleanly and elegantly as they could and see the people talking in the frame, as it always comes back to with Aaron. CO: If I’m not mistaken, you shot this during the fall of 2019. Obviously, as this movie illustrates, police violence and police riots are nothing new in this country, but following the Black Lives Matter protests of this past summer, that conversation has definitely come back to the fore in a big way. What’s it like now looking at the work you did on this film through the lens of this new context it gained after the fact? Fuchs: It was certainly interesting to see that this would come out after such a heated summer. I think maybe even the film ending up on Netflix rather than being a traditional


release in theaters, the combination of the odd timeliness of it and the fact that it was on that platform, hopefully more people at least learned about this story, and if they wanted to research it further and learn more about it. It was okay to see that maybe this reached more people or more people were in tune with it because of the climate that’s happening now and the fact that it ended up on a streaming platform. It’s just undeniable these days that stuff is watched probably predominantly through there as opposed to theaters. Even if it ends up there eventually, the fact that it’s new and available to stream, buzz gets going and it’s nice. It gets good exposure and people can learn about historical events.

tions, they understood it happened in Chi-

Pierce: The effect it had that I saw from people was that I don’t think many people knew who Bobby Seale was before this movie. They knew about the trial of the Chicago seven and they knew about the demonstra-

directly through Netflix. That’s also become

cago; they understood all of these peripheral things, and they knew some the names, Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, but no one I knew ever said, “oh, what about Bobby Seale?” You can’t watch this movie and not know the name Bobby Seale now. So, I think it had a real impact on people. And the timing is the timing, you can’t plan that kind of stuff, thank God. But it definitely had an impact on people. CO: Michael, you kind of touched on this a bit, but I wanted to follow up more on the fact that the movie was originally intended to be released in theaters, but obviously due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was released something of a hot topic in the time since the movie was released. What are your thoughts on people viewing this movie at home versus in a theater?


TRIVIA: Four of the actors who play main American characters in this film are actually not American but British (Sacha Baron Cohen, Eddie Redmayne, Alex Sharp and Mark Rylance). Fuchs: I won’t lie, I saw that this was playing in a theater in Jersey because Jersey had something like three theaters open. I figured I probably won’t get to see something I worked on on the big screen for a while, so I went one night because Netflix did release it in a few places. There was maybe one other person in the theater, felt safe the entire time, tested negative for COVID for months after that, but it was great to see! You know, that’s why I fell in love with movies. How grand the presentation is, how large the image is, and certainly one of the most satiating things about working in the industry is to see the results of your work on a screen that large with sound that big. It was nice to see this out there. It’s too bad people maybe won’t get to see a lot of their work going forward on such a big screen, but I think the general population that consumes this content just doesn’t care quite as much as maybe we do in terms of the big image. They’ve got Netflix at home, it’s comfy, they can lie there


and watch whatever they want. The pro, I guess, is that you’re probably reaching more people nowadays, but the con is not having as immersive of an experience as it used to be. But I’m not sure how much it directly effects people like Al and myself; as long as people enjoy the movie—or hate it! But at least they’re watching something we did. I just hope people see it either way. And it’s an honor to work on something that’s on Netflix. Pierce: I hope it sparked more conversations at home. Just having it go right to Netflix and having more people watching it, maybe more people saw it than would pay $12 to $18 to see this movie in the theater. Now you have it on Netflix, now your kid’s watching it, now your mother and father are watching it, and maybe it started a discussion at home. CO: This film wrapped production prior to the real start of the pandemic, at least in the

On the set of THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7. Photo by Niko Tavernise.

U.S., but have either of you done any production work during the pandemic, and can you talk a bit about what it’s like working in that new environment? Fuchs: Yeah, we finished this in December, and then the world basically changed completely a couple months later. I started a movie two weeks in, prior to our shutdown, then came back five months later and just completed the last eight weeks of it without having to shut down one time. We felt like we kind of beat the odds, which was great, but it’s very dependent on who is hired to run the safety and compliance devision on sets these days. There’s so many and so many different people have been in charge of that. Our set was very strict, I felt pretty safe there. They were very adamant about the KN95 masks and the face shield all the time for us, and sometimes we’d even wear gowns because this was a musical and sometimes the cast would be singing, so I’d be running around doing Steadicam in these


Photo by Niko Tavernise. Kelvin Harrison Jr. as Fred Hampton, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Bobby Seale, Mark Rylance as William Kunstler, Aaron Sorkin as writer/director, Eddie Redmayne as Tom Hayden in THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7. Photo by Niko Tavernise/NETFLIX

Alan Pierce on set of THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7. Photo by Niko Tavernise.



sure we had a safe working environment. They put together a great COVID team. They have a COVID department, basically, responsible for testing and for safety on set. Someone will come around to you and say, “you need to put your face shield on, you need to bring your mask up over your nose, please keep 6 feet apart.…” And they’re not doing it to nag you, we all basically signed a social agreement because we want to work on a show that we love, so we’re all adhering to the protocols.

fore I did. I was on a Disney project, a movie

in Boston, we had a week left, COVID hit hard, they shut us down. They finished the movie and it’s streaming now on Disney+ called Godmothered. Total 180 going from Trial of the Chicago 7 to a Disney film, but it was great! But I just hunkered down and laid low. I got calls for work, but I just didn’t want to be the one to experiment with everything. I felt safer being home with my family. I was waiting for Succession to start back up again, we were going to start in April, but they pushed and we didn’t start shooting until December and I didn’t take a job up until then. It’s a tight-knit family, Warner Bros. and HBO went above and beyond to make




Michael Fuchs is a camera/Steadicam operator living in New York City. In addition to welcoming more plants into his life and home, Michael loves working with goofy, fun, and kind filmmakers from across the globe. He cannot be more grateful for the opportunities New York has provided as it has allowed him to meet and work with some of the most talented crews and department heads in existence. Michael bows his head nightly in the hopes his luck does not run out.

Alan "Al" Pierce, SOC began his career as a camera assistant on documentaries and industrials in the late 1990s. He has been a camera operator for more than 20 years and has traveled the world doing so. Alan was invited to join the SOC in 2011 after being featured in Camera Operator magazine, Wading through the Ozarks on Winter's Bone written by Steve Fracol, SOC. (Camera Operator Special Awards Edition 2011) Alan has been married to his high school sweetheart, Cristina, since 2000 and they spend much of their off time on Cape Cod, MA. Currently he is working on Season 3 of the HBO series Succession.

A writer and film critic for close to ten 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.

long gowns. It must have looked like interesting performance art from a zoomed out view. It’s certainly something to get used to, I think most people are just dealing with it. It’s forced maybe a few people here and there to leave the business; we lost one assistant on the job who just left New York and quit the business and went out to farm in California. It’s a bummer to lose people you like working with, but these are the crazy times we’re in and I’m also happy for people who can make a big change to better their quality of life these days. Pierce: Yeah, I think Michael went back be-

Photo by Beka Venezia

Photo by Cory Stambler


Photo courtesy of David Daut

TRIVIA: In regards to the film's timely subject matter in 2020, Aaron Sorkin described the film as being more about modern day than the 1960's. He explained that, "The script didn't change to mirror the times. The times changed to mirror the script."




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Shooting the Super Bowl by David Daut with interviews from: Jay Kulick, Lyn Noland, Jofre Rosero, and Rob Vuona, SOC

SUPER BOWL LIV, Chiefs take the field for warm ups.

The Super Bowl is the biggest American sporting event of the year is also one of the last major pieces of “event television” that can draw millions of viewers to their TV sets. With 2021’s Super Bowl LV just having recently taken place on February 7th, Camera Operator magazine reached out to several operators who’ve shot for both the game and its famous Super Bowl Halftime Show, to hear about their experiences working on these colossal television events.

JAY KULICK Camera Operator: To start, what’s your background as a camera operator and how did you get started shooting for sports broadcasts like the Super Bowl? Jay Kulick: I have been a camera operator for over 35 years. After an internship at a local UHF station during a summer vacation from college, I was given an opportunity to work in all of the technical


departments. One day I found myself with my hands on a camera. That was the moment I knew I had found my calling as a camera operator. Professionally, I started to work as an assistant for a DP, and also I found work at Madison Square Garden Network and on Photo by ?? other sports shows in the New York Metro area. This eventually led to work on gymnastics and figure skating shows for NBC Sports. During this time I had purchased my first Jimmy Jib and was asked by NBC to operate with it on the Super Bowl in 1998. I was really limited to color shots during the game. Pretty much there for halftime not game coverage.

QUESTION: How much does the Lombardi Trophy weigh? ANSWER: Seven pounds. QUESTION: What famous jeweler makes the Lombardi Trophy? ANSWER: Tiffany.


CO: How does shooting for the Super Bowl compare to other live TV work you’ve done? Kulick: I am extremely lucky that I will be working on my 15th halftime show this year. The 12 to 15-minute show is a bit different than any other live show that I work on like the Tonys or the Oscars. We rehearse and script the shots for the all the performances just the same, but rehearsals finish on Friday night and we get changes on Sunday afternoon, leaving no opportunity to rehearse again. We all line up in an end zone tunnel waiting for the first half to end. Once the all clear signal is given, cameras, set pieces, audio speakers, all roll out and into position on the field. Once in place our utilities plug in our cameras. Imagine the director in the truck, with two minutes to air, seeing his main show cameras in black. Then one by one they pop up on the monitor wall. Until two minutes to air! Gotta love live! I’m sure this year will be much different than this. CO: The Super Bowl seems to be one of the few remaining pieces of “event” television that truly reaches a mass audience. Just about everyone can recall a memorable moment from one of the games. Is there a moment from one of the broadcasts you’ve worked on that stands out as particularly unforgettable? Kulick: Looking back, one of the more memorable moments for me would have to be the controversy with Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction. That was definitely an unscripted moment at the end of her performance with Justin Timberlake. It happened so quickly and at the very end. I didn’t even know it happened until after I was off the field. I would testify that it was not rehearsed that way! CO: This year’s Super Bowl is bound to be fairly unique in the history of the event due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Have you done any live TV work during the past year, and if so, can you talk a bit about what it’s like working under the increased health and safety restrictions? Kulick: Our industry has taken many precautions to get us back to work as safely as possible. The shows that I have worked on this year have adhered to the many safety protocols put in place and recommended by the industry studies. Testing and a negative result before we can arrive is just the first step. Shields, masks, social distancing, hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, and continual testing, are all tools that we now have to use as we do our work. I think the best word to use is adaptability. Our industry very creative and can develop new technical and non-traditional ways of broadcasting. We just have to look at it a little differently through our lenses. CO: What was your experience like working on the Super Bowl Halftime Show this year in terms of both the show itself and working within COVID guidelines compared to previous years? Kulick: Just approaching something as large as the Super Bowl and thinking about COVID is a bit intimidating. I haven’t worked on anything quite that large this year. I don’t think there has been a


production that large this year. So you’re feeling that in the back of your mind, plus knowing that the whole camera configuration and set is all different going in. I used a different camera than I had in the past 10 years or so. They wanted to make it more cinematic, so they went with ARRI cameras. The core cameras—the two Steadicams, the rail cams, the towers, the two RF handhelds—were all ARRIs or ARRI minis. And the set was up in the stands where normally it’s down on the field. There was also the difference that the set was already put together as opposed to running on the field with hundreds of extra people that normally bring the carts out and assemble everything on the field. There was no anticipation of riding out onto the field like I normally would, sitting in the tunnel for the last two minutes of the half, waiting to go out on my camera. There’s not quite a feeling like it when you roll out, the sense of adrenaline rolling out onto that field and knowing you’re in the Super Bowl. There wasn’t really a crowd like that this year. We were preset in our positions, the rail cam and towers were positioned just backstage under a tent, where there was fresh air and we were separated enough so it was safe, still all operating with masks. They tried to keep it as safe as possible for us; there was distancing at the meals, there was distancing at meetings. In fact, we only had one camera meeting where normally we have a camera meeting every day. So we would get notes emailed to us and a link to the previous rehearsal to watch and look at our changes going into the next one. After that first day, our meetings were all pretty much done on camera or over the phone. In the past we would get our notes emailed to us and we would get a link, but we would still have those in person meetings with the director and the AD and watch it all together and go over it shot-by-shot, note-by-note, but this year we only had that opportunity once. At that point we hadn’t really shot it yet, so we were just looking at rehearsals that were done on iPhones. So the prep was definitely different for us on the camera side, but we came in on Tuesday for our first rehearsal, and we generally have about three days for rehearsal.

QUESTION: What teams have won the most Super Bowls? ANSWER: Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots (6 each). QUESTION: What teams haven’t appeared in a single Super Bowl? ANSWER: Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars.

CO: Obviously there were a lot of unique challenges this year due to COVID, but this year’s show was a unique presentation in a lot of ways. Would you say there were any advantages—either creatively or technically—to the way it was done this year that couldn’t have been done in the past?


Kulick: I’d say maybe in terms of the director being a little less nervous of his cameras coming up. In the past, he would generally have a core of eight camera operators come in for the halftime show, and then the game cameras he would choose would support that. So you’d have your sky cams, your 50-yard camera, your end zone camera—probably a complement of another eight cameras from the game side to make the show happen. But normally those eight core cameras would have to set up during the commercial, where now he could see them before the event started, ready to go. So that anticipation of nervousness of a camera not coming up was kind of taken out of the loop. Creatively, though, it still felt like a halftime show. The grandness of it still seemed to feel like a halftime show. That’s what they were looking for and I think they accomplished that pretty well! I was proud that it did come across that way, because that’s hard to do. And again, totally different having the main part of the show up in the stands. Because we’re normally on the field, he was trying to figure out how we could get those shots when we couldn’t have any long lens cameras in front of the stage. There was no room. If you put three pedestal cameras in front of the stage, you’d see them because they’d have to get up higher. So the solution was they had two rail cams that were able to pedestal up and down on towers as well as a 30-foot tower cam behind that that went up for shots and came down to protect from wider shots. So that was a solution for him there that we normally wouldn’t be able to do, though they might try to figure out how to do it next year. They’re always trying to push the envelope every year. We didn’t have jibs this year either because we weren’t on the field, so he made more use of sky cam and the abilities of the rail cams and the tower. That helped them, but it also meant it was a show for the people at home more than the people in the stands. Generally, the NFL wants to cater to those fans in the stands as well as the people at home. It’s quite a balance they have to find, but the challenge this year was how do you make that work at home. Not too many large concerts being done live right now, and people are kind of wanting that and needing that, so to be able to connect with the viewer at home was a challenge, and I think it was accomplished. It connected with me as an operator! The Weekend seemed quite genuine, he was singing live, which is not an easy feat to do ever in a big show like that. So I think they did what they wanted to accomplish. They were quite successful at it and I was happy to be a part of it.

Photo courtesy of Jay Kulick

JAY KULICK From award shows such as the Oscars and the Tonys to live theatrical productions like Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert and The Sound of Music Live!, eight-time Emmy Award- winning camera operator Jay Kulick has worked on some of the biggest television shows produced. In his nearly 35 years as a camera operator, he has developed his skills to include handheld, pedestal, dolly, remote heads, rail cams, jibs and cranes. His two companies, Boom Productions and TechnoBoom, allow Jay to rent his Jimmy Jibs, remote heads and Technocrane. Jay has shot comedy specials with Robin Williams, Jerry Seinfeld, Dave Chappelle, and musical specials with Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney, Elton John, The Rolling Stones, Prince, and Lady Gaga, to name a few. Shooting in unique locations such as the Arctic Circle for a Winter Solstice special, and an active volcano in Nicaragua for a Nik Wallenda highwire walk, just add to his diverse experience. He recently returned home from Washington DC where he operated his Technocrane at the Celebrating America show and The National Covid Memorial for the 2021 Biden Harris Inaugural. The 2021 Super Bowl Halftime Show was his 15th.

LYN NOLAND Camera Operator: To start, what’s your background as a camera operator and how did you get started shooting for sports broadcasts like the Super Bowl?

TRIVIA: During last year’s Super Bowl, before the start of the game, there was a tribute to Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna who were killed in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020 by having both teams stand on the 24-yard line for a moment of silence there is also a moment of silence for Hall of Famer Chris Doleman who passed away from brain cancer.


Lyn Noland: I have had an incredible career. My background is varied, but I have mainly worked on live shows and specials. In 1995, I was asked by Roger Goodman, the director, to join the team for the halftime show. At that time, I did handheld camera on the stage. The theme of the show that year was Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye, and it featured Patti LaBelle, Arturo Sandoval, and Tony Bennett. Because I was on the stage, I had to dress up in a


costume in order to blend in with all the performers, it was hysterical! I have since shot seven halftime shows. CO: How does shooting for the Super Bowl compare to other live TV work you’ve done? Noland: The halftime show is different than any other live show because it is an extremely fast-paced 12 to 15-minute show. Everyone has to do their job precisely in order for it to work. The cast, crew, and technicians run on and off the field with great speed. Cameras, lighting, and audio are plugged in and hopefully work. There is a tremendous amount of pressure involved, and it is live! Compared to other live shows, it is an adrenaline rush from start to finish! CO: The Super Bowl seems to be one of the few remaining pieces of “event” television that truly reaches a mass audience. Just about everyone can recall a memorable moment from one of the games. Is there a moment from one of the broadcasts you’ve worked on that stands out as particularly unforgettable? Noland: Well, I have to say that on my first halftime show, where I was in a costume on the stage, there were boa constrictors next to me. I’ll never forget that! Also, when we shot Bruno Mars at the Meadowlands in New Jersey, it was 44 degrees Fahrenheit, but felt much colder! But what stands out the most to me is always the anticipation of being driven out (I’ve used a Chapman crane camera for the past six year) and the camaraderie of that moment. CO: This year’s Super Bowl is bound to be fairly unique in the history of the event due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Have you done any live TV work during the past year, and if so, can you talk a bit about what it’s like working under the increased health and safety restrictions? Noland: I just shot New Year’s Rockin’ Eve in Times Square which was live. Because of the pandemic, it was difficult to find anything to shoot, the streets were empty. We were all tested more than once. I was outside on a roof and was able to be socially distanced. Dick Clark Productions took great care to keep us safe. I imagine that production for the halftime show this year will take very good care of the crew.

Photo by Joey Despenzero LYN NOLAND Lyn Noland is an award-winning, New York-based camera operator whose career has taken her across the United States, throughout Europe—and into nearly every television genre across the spectrum. Noland began her career more than 30 years ago in the hectic world of New York news. She has since gone on to shoot primetime specials, scripted series, network documentaries, and stand-up comedy specials with the likes of Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock. Given her creative instincts, visual skills, and keen eye, Noland is a favorite among directors of live award ceremonies. Such events include 20 Academy Awards as well as multiple Tony Awards, the Kennedy Center Honors, the Mark Twain Prize, Showtime at the Apollo, and The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductions. She shot and won an Emmy for Jesus Christ Superstar Live. Noland has also been behind the camera for such legendary musicians as the Rolling Stones, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Elton John, and Bruce Springsteen. She has also shot The Super Bowl Halftime Show eight times. As one of television’s most accomplished camera operators, Noland has won six Emmy Awards and garnered more than 58 Emmy nominations.

JOFRE ROSERO Camera Operator: To start, what’s your background as a camera operator and how did you get started shooting for sports broadcasts like the Super Bowl? Jofre Rosero: I started working in the industry back in 1989 and have done mainly entertainment and some sports. Working in Los Angele and having the network throughout different companies, I do live TV which opened the doors for me to work on this incredible event.

Lyn Noland in action. Photo by Joey Despenzero


CO: How does shooting for the Super Bowl compare to other live TV work you’ve done?


QUESTION: Which Super Bowl Halftime Show preceded a stadium blackout? ANSWER: Beyoncé in 2013. QUESTION: What team has participated in the most Super Bowl games? ANSWER: New England Patriots. Rosero: It happens so fast; it is very demanding in every aspect. You have to bring your A game, but it goes beyond just being a skilled camera operator. There’s so much going into the shoot that is unknown. We rehearse a lot to make sure things go smoothly, but there is always something that happens that’ll test my 30 years of shooting experience. Last year it was the audience for me. I had someone jump in front of my shot and it’s unfortunate because you always want the show to be perfect.

talk a bit about what it’s like working under the increased health and safety restrictions? Rosero: Yes, working this year has changed our business at every level. At times, because of the amount of people permitted in the set, I’ve had to do the work of three to five people. The way we are covering performances also has been affected since cameras have to be placed without operators. I sometimes welcome the challenge; I like having to use all my skills as a DP. Plus—bringing my knowledge of 30 years in the business helps me keep my brain in tune. I am working on the halftime show this year, waiting to see new challenges but also knowing that you are only as good as your last show. I hope I can bring my A game this year.

CO: In addition to the halftime show, did you shoot any coverage for the game itself? What are the unique challenges of shooting sports coverage as opposed to a musical performance? Rosero: I don’t shoot sports any more. Used to at the beginning of my career, though. For me the main difference is that shooting sports is about the skill and challenges of following the game, keeping things in focus, and reacting to things as they develop to keep the viewers in the game. I think sports camera operators are not as appreciated and respected as they should be. You can see that in the rates, and how crews are managed. Entertainment is more about the feeling you convey through the camera movement—how it goes along with the music or the acting—and the respect we get is a totally different game. CO: The Super Bowl seems to be one of the few remaining pieces of “event” television that truly reaches a mass audience. Just about everyone can recall a memorable moment from one of the games. Is there a moment from one of the broadcasts you’ve worked on that stands out as particularly unforgettable? Rosero: Yes! Miami. Prince. It was raining, but the show looked incredible and I had a lot of admiration for Prince and how he performed under a very difficult environment. The floor was very slippery, and being able to move across the stage was very challenging, but he did it gracefully. It was windy and some of our shooting notes blew away from us! I had to do things from memory with over 30 scripted shots, not to mention the amount of electrical cables around us on an extremely wet field. But in the end, we were all safe. It was a show to remember in every aspect. But in general it is almost magical to see how everyone in the crew comes together every year to make this show the best of the best and everyone’s so happy to be a part of it. That sticks in my mind every time. CO: This year’s Super Bowl is bound to be fairly unique in the history of the event due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Have you done any live TV work during the past year, and if so, can you


Photo courtesy of Jose Rosero JOFRE ROSERO Jofre Rosero has been working in the industry since 1989, with a background in both entertainment and sports. He’s worked as a camera operator for concert specials for artists like Elton John and Britney Spears, awards shows ranging from the MTV Video Music Awards to the Oscars, as well as The Super Bowl Halftime Shows for multiple Super Bowls.

ROB VUONA, SOC Camera Operator: To start, what’s your background as a camera operator and how did you get started shooting for sports broadcasts like the Super Bowl? Rob Vuona: I started out shooting extreme sports with my friends: sky surfing, skateboarding, street luge, bungee jumping, world extreme skiing championships, freestyle motocross, etc. That led to shooting the X-Games for ESPN. Those contacts allowed me to branch out to mainstream sports doing football, basketball, baseball, soccer, NASCAR, and four Olympics with NBC. The Super


Bowl was a special shoot for me because, being from Boston, it was great to see my Patriots playing. CO: How does shooting for the Super Bowl compare to other live TV work you’ve done? Vuona: I mainly work in live TV within the entertainment genre. Shooting anything live is an adrenaline rush that becomes addictive, then add something like the Super Bowl and the excitement is only heightened. On top of that add your favorite team and it becomes a perma-grin [permanent grin] situation. CO: The Super Bowl seems to be one of the few remaining pieces of “event” television that truly reaches a mass audience. Just about everyone can recall a memorable moment from one of the games. Is there a moment from one of the broadcasts you’ve worked on that stands out as particularly unforgettable?

enough, but add a KN95 mask and a face shield and all kinds of fun issues arise. [Laughs] The separation of crew into zones is another interesting protocol that works well in containing and/or tracing the spread of COVID. Unfortunately, the anti-zone crossing protocols keep us from seeing and hanging out with so many of our work friends during the day. Lunch is another aspect of our protocol that has become a different experience, every person has to stay six feet apart and on some productions it kind of feels like junior high where COVID compliance officers roam through the tables telling you, “no talking,” unless you are wearing your mask. Overall, I am happy to comply with any of the health and safety restrictions because, like everyone, we are just happy to be working and doing what we love!

Vuona: My memorable moment is from Super Bowl LII, Patriots versus the Eagles. My job on Steadicam was to walk with the players that are carrying the Vince Lombardi Trophy to the winner’s platform. I am super excited and proudly walking around with a perma-grin, wearing my Patriots jersey thinking, "how cool is it that I am going to be walking Tom Brady across the field and up onto the winner’s platform after the Patriots win the Super Bowl?” Well, as you know, my Patriots did not win that Super Bowl and I had to walk out the winning Eagles players, all while wearing my Patriots jersey. [Laughs] One of the Eagles players, as he is carrying the trophy, turns and looks at me and says, “Too bad you’re wearing that jersey today.” [Laughs] I deserved it! I had lost my perma-grin at that point. CO: This year’s Super Bowl is bound to be fairly unique in the history of the event due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Have you done any live TV work during the past year, and if so, can you talk a bit about what it’s like working under the increased health and safety restrictions? Vuona: I am proud to say that our industry has risen to the challenge of managing the COVID crisis and coming up with protocols that allow us to still produce amazing content. Since the release of our industry to go back into production I have been PCR nasal swabbed 29 times and counting. From a camera standpoint, the obvious challenge with the new health and safety restrictions is the use of the PPE while trying to shoot. Doing Steadicam is difficult

QUESTION: What two cities have hosted the most Super Bowl games? ANSWER: Miami and New Orleans. QUESTION: Who won the Super Bowl the year of the infamous “wardrobe malfunction?” ANSWER: New England Patriots.


Photo courtesy of Rob Vuona ROB VUONA, SOC Rob Vuona, SOC is best known as a Steadicam operator on live television shows in Los Angeles, and was the design consultant on the first Steadicam specifically designed for live television, Tiffens Shadow-V where the “V” is for Vuona. Rob moved to Los Angeles in 1985 to pursue a career in television production and attended California State Polytechnic University in Pomona with a major in telecommunications. During his 30 years behind the lens, on 100s of shows, shooting in 125 countries, he has earned 13 Emmy nominations that resulted in six wins. He is humbled to have been appointed to the first SOC Live Television Awards Committee. When he isn’t operating a Steadicam, he spends time traveling with his wife, Jacqueline, eating pasta with his family, skiing, mountain biking, and avoiding injuries playing ice hockey. He is still working on a coffee table book of photography from his first 50 years.


by Lisa Stacilauskas, SOC

What’s Your Story…?

My interests in dance, theater, and photography led me to explore video production in high school. I interned and worked as a production assistant with a local production company, and then took some media production classes as part of my double major in French and Communications at the University of Michigan. I was especially inspired by the cinema classes I took during my junior year immersion program at a university in France. After traveling and working to save up some money, including a short stint editing the weekend news clips for a local new station (where I once mixed up a clip from baseball, with a clip from basketball. Luckily, the sports anchor was quick on his toes and rolled with it live on TV! Oops!), I applied to graduate school and earned my MFA in Film with a concentration in Cinematography from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. I entered Art Center intending to direct but found myself gravitating toward cinematography. I worked on as many student projects as I could and DP’d anything a fellow student asked me to.

operating career and have found it to be a great source of support and community; which is sometimes lacking in this gig-to-gig lifestyle. I am also grateful for those DPs, operators and producers who gave me my first opportunities. I consider myself very lucky! As we all know: LUCK, is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. Photo courtesy of Lisa Stacilauskas

I guess I was naive heading into film school. I thought I would learn to become a DP then get hired as a DP when I graduated. Upon graduation I was being hired as a DP, usually to work for free! I paid my bills working occasionally as a camera assistant, but mostly as an electrician on low-budget movies. Although I couldn’t tell you the names of those movies, I really enjoyed being there—being on set and part of a collaborative effort. I have very fond memories of that lighting crew. We had lots of laughs. At one point I was only four days shy of joining Local 728! My first break as a camera operator came after I turned down an assistant job on reality show for kids. I told them “I’m not an assistant, I’m an operator.” Today, I realize how cheeky that was! Luckily, it worked out to my advantage. The production company kept my resume and months later called me to operate on a highly-anticipated new show…Big Brother! I could finally back up my claims of being an operator. I got enough days to join the Union but waited several more years until I felt I had a chance of actually being hired on a Union show. Reality TV wasn’t where I wanted to be, ultimately, so I keep working on improving my DP and operating skills—mostly shooting short films and spec commercials. I finally got my shot at B camera on a non-Union TV movie by showing the DP my cinematography reel to prove I could shoot film and operate a camera. Although I still have leaner years, and hate being unemployed or having to looking for work, I’m very grateful to be working in a profession I love. I feel very fortunate to have found the SOC early in my


LISA STACILAUSKAS, SOC Lisa Stacilauskas, SOC is a camera operator working primarily in scripted television. She’s currently wrapping up her fifth season on the ABC comedy, American Housewife. Past credits include: Community, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and Disney’s, Starstruck. She is a member of ICG Local 600 and has been an Active member of the Society Of Camera Operators since 2008. Currently serving on the Board of Governors, she is honored to be part of the recently formed Inclusion Committee, and is excited to see the impact it, and the SOC in general, are having on the industry.




















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Corporate Corner BLACKMAGIC DESIGN Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 12K is a revolution in digital film with a 12,288 x 6480 12K Super 35 sensor and 14 stops of dynamic range built into the award-winning URSA Mini body. The combination of 80 megapixels per frame, new Blackmagic Generation 5 Color Science and the flexibility of Blackmagic RAW makes working with 12K a reality. Oversampling from 12K gives customers the best 8K and 4K images with the subtle skin tones and extraordinary detail of high-end still cameras. Customers can shoot at 60 fps in 12K, 120 fps in 8K, and up to 240 fps in 4K Super 16. URSA Mini Pro 12K features an interchangeable PL mount, built-in ND filters, dual CFast and UHS-II SD card recorders, a SuperSpeed USB-C expansion port and more. The new Blackmagic URSA Mini Recorder lets customers record 12-bit Blackmagic RAW files onto fast 2.5 inch SSDs, including the latest U.2 NVMe Enterprise SSDs. SSDs, such as the latest 7mm U.2 NVMe disks, are fast, delivering data transfer speeds of up to 900 MB/s. This blazing fast performance allows customers longer recording times for full resolution 4K, 8K and 12K 12bit Blackmagic RAW files in the highest quality Q0 encoding. The unique design of the Blackmagic URSA Mini Recorder means it attaches directly to the back of the URSA Mini Pro between the camera and the battery. It’s controlled via the USB-C, so customers don’t have to worry about manually starting or stopping the SSD recorder.

MEET NODO® NODO Film Systems is thrilled to be a new corporate member of the Society of Camera Operators. NODO’s founder, Local 600

MōVI XL, EX Camera, Ronin 2, RS2, and more. But more importantly, we partner with operators, like Mitch Dubin, our SOC sponsor, to develop and add new features for this ever-changing industry. Inertia Wheels are designed by camera operators

Cinematographer Boyd Hobbs, sought to create digital hand

for camera operators. Whether you’re filming car-to-car or op-

wheels with the same tactile feel as a mechanical gear head.

erating in virtual production, our wheels have the flexibility you

This resulted in the Inertia Wheels™, the first wheels to include

need. Plus, we added an optional third-axis, long-range wireless

brushless motors embedded inside the hand wheels. The pat-

radios, built-in effects, and a free training app to help you stay

ent-pending Inertia Motors™ allow the operator to adjust the

sharp between shoots.

mass and drag of the wheel creating a completely new feeling

We’re excited to connect with SOC members to find out how

while honoring the 100-year legacy of wheels.

Inertia Wheels can work for you. Contact us to set up a demo at

Unlike most other hand wheel manufacturers, NODO is com-

our Downtown LA office or find a dealer near you. Give physics

pletely focused on the operating experience. We partner with

a spin. Try NODO’s Inertia Wheels.

other remote head companies to offer a range of compatibility:



NEMAL We design and manufacture custom cables, hybrid assemblies, and complete interconnect solutions engineered to meet the most exacting specifications and perform in the most demanding situations. We specialize in innovative, customized connectivity solutions for the film and broadcast industries. Our products include LEMO SMPTE and Neutrik OpticalCON cables, adapters, reelers, HD/ 3G/12G audio, video and hybrid cable, tactical fiber, RF cables, and our patented DT-12 connectors. We manufacture extra flexible, rugged high-power Audioflex UL rated speaker and lighting cables with Neutrik PowerCON, SpeakON or Socapex connectors. Our fiber products include custom SMPTE panels, pigtails, adapters, and fiber cleaning kits. Nemal’s FOCC24 series SMPTE 311 Camera Cable, choice of most major networks, is approved by both Lemo and Neutrik, and is available in multiple variations (studioflex, rugged outdoor, tactical, water-block Riser rated, and mini-Steadicam. Our latest product innovations include CAT6 snakes and a family of hi-rel XLR adapters. Our Stadium-4 Plenum SMPTE cable won the Best of Show Award by Sound and Video Contractor at InfoComm 2019. Since 1979, we’ve helped hundreds of camera operators and other content producers solve challenging connectivity situations. Nemal cables and connectors enable broadcasters to easily integrate mobile and fixed camera systems. Whether up-fitting older systems with newer technologies or future-proofing new installations, Nemal provides a single source solution. Our family of hybrid ENG cables includes turnkey, interconnect systems—on reelers and ready-to-use —in any configuration. See what other camera operations professionals are saying about us: or visit for a full line of connectivity solutions.



Corporate Corner THE STUDIO-B&H • DISCOVER WHAT THE STUDIO CAN DO FOR YOU. The Studio-B&H’s long-term mission is to offer the widest range of technology solutions in the marketplace to the entire community and to the Society of Camera Operators in particular. With our team of sales engineers, skilled application specialists, project managers and account representatives, we are ready to assist SOC Members with all their equipment needs. We offer one of the most extensive array of digital cinema cameras packages, optics, lens controls, monitoring, support and motion systems, gimbals, and stabilizers, as well as advanced camera tracking. The Studio Technology Center is the cornerstone of our operations where we offer special opportunities to experiment with emerging technology, find ways to innovate, test real world system configurations or simply gain knowledge through hands-on experience. If you are interested in learning more about how the studio team can fulfill your needs, reach out to us: to get started.

Become an SOC Corporate Member as a newly added Patron or Community level. For benefits, costs and programs, click here.

Insight AUSTIN NORDELL, SOC What was one of your most challenging shot or challenging day in the industry? The S.P.A.A.C.E. Program, a four-day, eight-episode, two-camera, VFX-heavy show with one day to pre-light the sci-fi set. We shot approximately 25 pages per day, stayed on schedule and it turned out great! What is your most memorable day in the industry? Filming and meeting some of my "cinema heroes:" Kevin Smith, Stan Lee, Carrie Fisher, Robert Rodriguez, Jon Favreau, and the legendary John Milius. Credits: Spoilers With Kevin Smith, Milius, Marvel 75 Years: From Pulp to Pop!, The S.P.A.A.C.E Program Photo by Rebecca Ruhm

PAUL PEDDINGHAUS, SOC My most challenging assignment was being the Survivor host, Jeff Probst’s camera operator for three seasons. It’s a dream assignment as you have to gain the trust of both the director, David Dryden, and Jeff himself—but also mildly terrifying as there is little to no room for error and no second takes. When there is a big build challenge with multiple repo’s it is difficult to get the start and repo as quick as you can to the middle of the course and capture Jeff in his element. The hardest part is running with camera and sticks (safely of course), and not tripping on coconuts and lava rocks, setting the camera, bubbling, snapping into Jeff, getting some play-by-play and now we’re off running again… it was exhilarating. That show is stacked with a such a talented crew… always humbling and an honor. Credits:  Survivor (15 Seasons), Celebrity Apprentice, Live PD, Nightwatch, First Responders Live (Fox), Botched

Photo by Ryan Cox

JOSEPH PISCITELLI, SOC What is your most memorable day in the industry? It was in Hawaii working on a reality show. I remember when veteran Steadicam operator, Ron Vidor, asked me if I would like to join the SOC and that he would sponsor me. The person who helped you most in your career? My mother. She always believed in me. And told me to follow my dreams and never give up! What is the job you have yet to do but most want to do? I would love to travel to Cuba to shoot a documentary on the cigar industry. Credits: Entertainment Tonight, History Channel, NFL Films, PGA Tour Entertainment, Oprah Winfrey Show Photo by Jonathon Harrison



Social SOC @cn_jess



@trieb_entertainment & @mitch_mommaerts_soc

@ Society_of_Camera_Operators TAG us or use #TheSOC and your pics could be featured here. 48


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.






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