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Camera Department Case Study Image

Camera Department Case Study

Oliver Hadlow-Martin, On set Colourist/ DIT | September 2021

Oliver entered the film industry three years ago having previously worked as a press photographer. Entering the industry as a trainee, Oliver currently works as a Digital Imaging Technician.

Can you tell our members what inspired you to enter the film industry?

I was previously a press photographer and was one day invited to a film set by a friend. I was sold from then.

Did you work on any short films to gain experience, if so how do you think it benefited you when applying for paid work?

I went to University to study film - here I helped create various short films over my period of study. I really enjoyed Uni but I would probably stress that it isn’t vital that you study film, you can get enough experience working or helping out on shorts films that you can then use as a foot in to the industry. 

How long did it take you to get your first permanent paying job, and what was the path you took to get you there?

Took me around 6 months working part time, doing shorts on the side after Uni - gaining experience as I went. My first proper full paying job was a low budget feature shot in Wales. 

Whilst working as a camera trainee what were your responsibilities?

As a trainee I made lots of tea, ran cables, gained invaluable experience on how to act and behave on set. Camera specifics were; learning about kit, what it did etc. How to organise things, make correct notes, and all the bread and butter things that the Camera Department needs to run smoothly.

Can you tell us a bit about your current position and what your job entails?

My current position as an on set colourist is to facilitate the vision of the DOP and the Director with live grading on set. This vision is then maintained, sent down the pipeline throughout post and is tweaked and polished by a colourist before conform and publish. The idea is; what we see on set, is what you will get out at the end. My role is creative but also some technical aspects come into play. I design the workflow prior to shooting, I setup the cameras, make recommendations to the DOP re: anything camera related or technical. I also backup the footage and check through to make sure we are shooting what we want. 

Are there any processes or elements of the job/industry that have come as a surprise and you would want to pass onto others?

The quality of catering is significantly better on commercials than it is on music videos. :)

Do you find your role difference depending on the type of production you are working on, eg. TV drama, music video, feature film? 

Yes, my role can change quite dramatically depending on the production. Lower budget you end up doing more for less.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

The highlight of my career so far is meeting new and interesting people all the time. Everyone collaborating to create something, be it a commercial or feature film. No day or job is the same.

What advice would you give to those who are just starting out?

Stick at it. The first 6 months are hard - you will be earning nothing and doing lots of work. It will pay out in the end. Nurturing work relationships is very important too- be friendly and keen to learn.

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