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HomeAwardsThe Society of Camera Operators Presents the SOC Lifetime Achievement Awards

The Society of Camera Operators Presents the SOC Lifetime Achievement Awards

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David Frederick and Steven Poster
Steven Poster and David Frederick

The Society of Camera Operators, SOC, presented its 2014 Annual Lifetime Achievement Awards Saturday March 8, at the Skirball Cultural Center. The evening, hosted by Bruce Carse, included an emotional tribute to Sarah Jones, the 27-year-old assistant camerawoman who was killed during the filming of Midnight Rider. While greeting press on the red carpet, SOC former president and the event’s executive producer, David Frederick, shared the evening’s theme – safety. Frederick stressed the society’s commitment to encouraging safe practices on set.

LR-Sarah-Jones-TributeFrederick presented a tribute film to Jones shortly after guests filled the Skirball Cultural Center’s Herscher Hall. Immediately following the heartfelt and inspirational presentation, consisting of a beautifully edited collection of photographs lead by Jones’ smile, an honorary Associate Membership was presented to Jones and accepted by her parents. Upon accepting the honor, Jones’ father, Richard Jones, said, “I know she’s looking down with an extra big smile.” Frederick invited all in attendance to take an online safety pledge by visiting www.pledgetosarah.org.

Certificate presented to Dr. Thomas Lee

Another early-evening presentation regarded the SOC’s relationship and collaboration with Dr. Thomas Lee and the Vision Center at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Together, the SOC and Lee produced a film which presents Lee’s efforts to equip hospitals around the world with the tools and training needed to prevent childhood blindness. In regards to the work of camera operators and its final presentation in movie theaters, Lee said, “There’s no more fertile imagination in that theater than a child’s brain. It’s our job to make sure that a child who is in the process of going blind will not have that fate. So they can go into that theater and not only will they see a 2K or 4K image, but they can see it in 3D.” SOC presented Lee with a certificate in recognition of his work.

In addition to safety, the recognition and celebration of camera operation history was an obvious focal point of the evening, as a collection of vintage and antique cameras were displayed during both opening and closing receptions. Volunteers offered information regarding the cameras and encouraged guests to operate each one. Camera’s on display included the 1920’s Bell & Howell 2709, the Technicolor “Three Strip” camera – circa 1934 – 1954, the FOX camera with CineScope lens, and many others.

Leonard Chapman

Also on display were several of Chapman-Leonard Studio Equipment’s dolly and crane systems. Leonard Chapman was presented with the President’s Award for his innovative contributions to the film industry. In a short film that accompanied his award presentation, Chapman said, “It brings tears to my eyes, that’s how much it means to me.” Chapman echoed that feeling from behind the podium as well.

LR-William-CoeWilliam Coe received a Lifetime Achievement Award for his work as a camera technician. Coe is known for his work on several of Clint Eastwood’s films, including Million Dollar Baby (2004), Gran Torino (2008) and J. Edgar (2011). Upon accepting the award, presented by longtime collaborator Steve Campanelli, Coe said, “One of the things that makes this very special to me is the fact that I don’t live in Los Angeles, I’ve never lived in Los Angeles. To be recognized here by the world’s best camera operators is very special.”

Jack Carpenter

Playing harmoniously with the heartfelt tone of the evening’s acceptance speeches was mobile camera platform operator Jack Carpenter’s own speech. Also honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award, Carpenter is known for his stunt-driving in such films as Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997), Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000), The Matrix Reloaded (2003), Identity Thief (2013), and many others. Carpenter stressed his career-long focus of keeping camera operators safe by being their eyes on everything not visible through the lens. “Receiving this award is a great honor for me, but by far the most enduring evidence of my career success is sitting right here in this room. It’s the men and women who still put their eye on the camera and their life in my hands every day,” said Carpenter. Producer Duncan Henderson presented the award.

Also receiving Lifetime Achievement Awards were camera operator Chris Haarhoff and still photographer Barry Wetcher. A silent auction of photographs by Wetcher was open for bidding throughout the night. The photographs were displayed during the opening and closing receptions.

Technical Achievement Awards were presented to Pictorvision, accepted by Pictorvision president David Grober, and Motion Picture Marine, accepted by Tom Hallman of Motion Picture Marine.

Additional honors included the Distinguished Service Award, presented to Filmtools founder Stan McClain, and a Historical Zipline Shot Honor presented to camera operator J. Michael Muro for his groundbreaking zipline shot in The Mighty Quinn (1989).

Don Devine and Peter Taylor

Top honors for Camera Operator of the Year, in both the television and feature film categories, were presented by Richard Crudo, president of the American Society of Cinematographers, ASC. The top honor in the television category went to Don Devine, camera operator on the AMC series Mad Men. Upon receiving the award, Devine said, “My work on Mad Men is a reflection of so many other individuals.”

The 2014 award season big winner Gravity maintained its momentum with the Camera Operator of the Year Award in the feature film category going to Peter Taylor. Taylor praised his supporting departments on Gravity during his acceptance speech. “This is really for the camera crew and the grip crew,” said Taylor.

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