Friday, April 27, 2007

BEhind the Scenes - DOP Findlay Muir

My director of photography, Findlay Muir, is a top notch camera jockey, as good as they come. He's one the the guys on my team that makes me look good. Sometimes you'll see a shot in one of my films, and it was taken by Findlay on his own initiative, while I was off doing something else, like setting up an interview, or having a beer in the hotel bar.

In Stanton T. Friedman is Real (Redstar Films - 2002), for example, there's a wonderful, noirish shot of Stan walking down an aisle in an empty auditorium, in black and white, with his face in shadow and only one light behind him. If you've seen the film, you know the one I'm talking about.

I think it's one of the best shots that's ever appeared in one of my films (heck, any documentary I've seen), and I wish I could take credit for it, but I wasn't even there. Sure, Findlay sort of briefed me on it, and I said okay, but then I left to track down some interviewees for later in the day (our production manager would have normally done that, but he was off doing something else). Findlay ran the whole thing. It was his idea, and his shot. When I got back home and into the editing suite, I knew as soon as I saw it that the shot would be in the film somewhere.

For the past eight years, I've been getting that kind of stuff from Findlay, who has over twenty years experience as a DOP and a photographer, in some of the world's most dangerous spots (which makes hanging out at a UFO convention a walk in the park for him). He has no fear, and will do anything to get the shot, even when I'm muttering something about "insurance risk" and praying to God that nothing goes wrong.

But the best part about Findlay is that he's pretty much the nicest person in the film and television industry, at least among the folks I've met and dealt with. He and I have developed something more than a "director - DOP" rapport over the years; we're pals. I genuinely enjoy hanging out with him on the road, and traveling to different places with him. In eight years of working together, we've never had a single argument - and if you know me, you'll realize that Findlay deserves some kind of Nobel Peace Prize award for that achievement.

Like I said, he's one of the folks who make me look good - and he also makes the people being interviewed look good.

Findlay Muir is a true professional, and he's my friend.

The opportunity to work with him is one of the reasons I love my job.

Paul Kimball

2 comments:

Findlay Muir said...

Gee. I don't know what to say. That's just about the nicest set of compliments I've had. Needless to say, it's always been a pleasure working with Redstar films and a huge bonus when you end up having a great friend as I do in Paul.

/F

Paul Kimball said...

BMV*:

You mean your wife doesn't compliment you like that every day? C'mon - I'm sure she does! :-)

It's been a pleasure to work with you these many years - here's hoping we have many more projects together in the years to come, with all sorts of cool travel and zany adventures!

Paul

* Findlay's crew nickname is "Big Man Video".