The Society of Camera Operators celebrated achievements of camera operators and crew members, as well as technical innovations at its 2013 Lifetime Achievement Awards on Saturday. The event was held at the Leonard Goldenson Theater of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Professionals gathered to recognize outstanding camera work all while helping to support the Vision Center at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
The event was emceed by career coach, independent producer and actress, Jessica Sitomer, who maintained the momentum of the evening. Sitomer fulfilled her role with clever, entertaining introductions and enough comedy to keep the genuinely emotional event light hearted.
The Governors Award for lifetime of achievement went to Penny Marshall. Marshall’s exemplary dedication and commitment earned her award as she has, over the course of her career, mastered the art and craft as a triple-threat: producer, director and actress. Marshall’s acting career began in television with The Odd Couple and she soon appeared as the titular Laverne character on Laverne and Shirley. Jumpin’ Jack Flash was the first feature film Marshall directed, but more box office hits soon followed with Awakenings, Big and A League of Their Own.
“I didn’t even mean to be a director. It just worked out that way,” Marshall said while accepting her award. “They asked me and I had nothing to do, so I went.”
Audience support was bountiful this year as nearly every lifetime achievement award winner was happily given a standing ovation. This year’s President’s Award for lifetime achievement went to actress Kyra Sedgwick. Four lifetime achievement awards were also doled out to industry professionals, Bruce MacCallum, SOC (The Adjustment Bureau, Julie and Julia, The Departed), camera technician, Baird Steptoe (Thor, The Manchurian Candidate, Footloose), still photographer Melissa Moseley, SMPSP (Inception, 3:10 to Yuma, The Notebook), mobile camera platform operator Brad Rea (Gangster Squad, Iron Man, Thelma and Louise).
Peter Robertson, ACO, SOC won the Historic Shot award for his work on the Dunkirk Beachhead scene in the feature film, Atonement. And the lifetime of distinguished service award went to director of photography, Woody Omens, ASC.
SOC president, Stephen Lighthill announced the winning camera operators for film and television. Mitch Dubin SOC, whose work was seen this year in Lincoln, took the award for camera operator of the year in features. Andrew Voegeli SOC was named this year’s camera operator of the year in television for his work on Breaking Bad.
Canon cinema advisor, Tim Smith, accepted a technical achievement award on behalf of the company for its Cinema EOS C300 and C500 cameras. And camera assistant David Eubank (Oz, the Great and Powerful, Scream 4, Dinner for Schmucks) was honored with a technical achievement award for his development and execution of the pCam Film+Digital Calculator.
Paul Babin SOC presented Woody Omens with the 2013 distinguished service award. Babin explained that, when he met Omens, he was a professor at USC who seemed to give out a few questions with every statement he made in class, which Babin found intriguing. To partially sum up what Omens had taught him, Babin shared a message he had heard from him many times, and it seemed to resonate on many levels with the audience. The message can be heard on Omens answering machine even today: Enunciate your message with clarity and deliberation.
A brief word from the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles Vision Center came from Dr. Thomas Lee, director of the retina institute. Lee shared the technological and personnel advancements currently underway at the Vision Center. Lee not only starred in the SOC’s latest film for the Vision Center, but also used his Canon 5D Mark III to capture behind-the-scenes images during the film’s production.
At the end of the evening, SOC vice president and awards executive producer, David Frederick, took the stage to thank all of the sponsors, including Panavision, Canon USA, AJA Video, Thales Angenieux, Video Equipment Rentals and IATSE Local 600 ICG, as well as those who directly contributed their time and effort to the show itself, including the presenters, the camera operators, video editors and event coordinators.