As often happens, the phone rings unexpectedly and within a matter of days I am heading out the door on my next shoot. This is certainly one of the things about working in the motion picture industry that I really enjoy. Getting to work in new locations with new crews on new projects and often times on the biggest shows in the business.
This time the call came from Marvel to cover the B Camera on main unit of Ant-Man with the prospect of joining the 2nd Unit when it got going in late October. I’ve worked on several Marvel projects in the past including Iron Man 1,2 & 3, Captain America and most recently Captain America 2: Winter Soldier and have a good working relationship with the studio as well as with many of the regular crew hired to work on Marvel films. What was especially exciting about this project was that I was not only getting called to work on Marvel’s next big movie but I was getting called to work with long time Hollywood cinematographer and main unit DP Russell Carpenter whose feature credits include the Hollywood blockbusters Titantic, Charlie’s Angels, and True Lies. As anyone in the film business would say, and especially anyone who works in the camera department, having a chance to work with the likes of Russell Carpenter is something of a dream opportunity. And this was not only a chance to watch and work with a true master of the craft but also an opportunity to work with a crew Russell has assembled and are no doubt some of the best in the business. Included in this crew was Peter Rosenfeld, A-Camera/Steadicam Operator with a deep resume of A list movies including most recently “Gone Girl”, “American Sniper” and “Into The Storm.” I had met Peter while working on the 2nd Unit of Cowboys & Aliens as he was on main unit but “Ant-Man” was the first time getting to work along side him as an operator and he too, like Russell, is a true master of the craft.
What was only supposed to be a week on main unit turned into two and then, as was proposed when I first got the call, I joined the 2nd Unit as it got going as the B Camera Op with Dir/DP John Mahaffie at the helm. And what a treat this was. Along with the excitement of getting a call to work on the any major Hollywood feature also comes the trepidation of working with a director, dp and/or crew you’ve never met. As anyone in the business will tell you sometimes it goes great and sometimes it doesn’t. Working with John Mahaffie has been nothing but fantastic. A total pro, incredible at his job pulling double duty as both the director and DP of the 2nd Unit on a big film and and truly a great guy to work with. I can say that working with John and watching him work has been one of the most pleasant experiences I have had in the business.
Our 2nd Unit camera department is comprised of industry veterans, the best of the best which makes the experience all that much better. We have all the toys to move our cameras which comes with working on these big films and is always welcomed. We are shooting digitally with Alexa cameras and employing A & B cameras much of the time with the occasional third camera/Steadicam when needed.
This shoot, like so many others in the past, has been great. Once again reaffirming the somewhat serendipitous nature of the business and of good things coming together and falling into place almost as if they were meant to be.
I’m already looking forward to the next phone call….