Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
To PBS Hollywood Presents
Old Settler
HomeGlossaryFeedbackSite Map
TimelineIn-Depth InterviewsKey ScenesProduction RolesAbout the Show
Overview
Working With the Director
The Look
The Job of Lighting
High-Definition Video
The Shoot

DP Role & Bio

The Director In-Depth

The Production Designer In-Depth

Printable Version
 
 

John Simmons: The Director of Photography In-Depth

 

The Shoot

Preparing to Shoot


John Simmons 
"Rehearsals are very important for camera and lighting. During rehearsals, stand-ins are good but we can only make the picture look right when we get the real talent in the frame.

The talent has make-up and wardrobe, the stand-ins don't.

One day, for instance, Debbie has a yellow dress on and the stand-in comes to work in a black dress. So we just threw a yellow sweater around her shoulders."

 


Play Video - 56kPlay Video - 220k

John Simmons

John Simmons talks about rehearsing with the camera

 

Taking Advantage of Shadows


Livingroom set
 
John Simmons was not afraid to leave shadows on The Old Settler apartment set

 


John Simmons 
"A lot of the photography is determined by the geography. There are only so many places that someone can go. And it's amazing how Debbie is able to work all the geography into her story. We show the entire apartment all the time. We're always pretty much lighting 180 degrees because that dolly is going to go all over that apartment.

Fortunately for us, the light comes from one direction and I'm not afraid to let people go into the shadows. I like that. If they go into the shadows for a minute it's nice, that's what happens."

 

Coordinating the Camera Crew

John Simmons 
"Besides my lighting crew, the other people essential to me are my camera crew.

Michelle Crenshaw, whom I've done a number of pictures with and who I love working with is my focus puller. She makes sure that all the cameras are running all the time, that they are sharp and that the picture is always in focus. Michelle has her second assistant that helps her keep all that technology going. Gordon works at the color correction and records everything."

 


Camera Crew
 
Camera assistant Michelle Crenshaw

 

Working With the Jimmy Jib


Jimmy Jib
 
The camera on the end of the jimmy jib

 


John Simmons 
"The camera on the long crane that swooped in and out, that's a jib arm, or jimmy jib. It allows the camera to be operated by monitor as a remote head. It's just a device to replace a crane that requires more than one guy to operate it. It's a one-man machine, and it works quite well with video cameras. It actually allows the camera to be more mobile quickly. We can go up and down very fast. With an operator you can't do that. The other thing is that you can go up very high and go all the way down to the floor with the jib arm. For instance, we used it to bring a certain amount of animation to the pictures that we took outside."

 

High-Definition Video   |   The Shoot

 

 

Home Timeline Interviews Key Scenes Roles About the Show Glossary Feedback Site Map