When Saturday Night Live film unit cinematographer Alex Buono decided to share his knowledge of the industry – in a big way – with a 31-city educational tour he calls The Art of Visual Storytelling, the first pieces of equipment he chose for his travel package were OConnor heads.
“My biggest mandate in deciding to plan a workshop is that I’m demonstrating with the exact tools that I actually use in my professional work,” he says. “OConnor fluid heads are probably the most ubiquitous piece of gear on my sets. I literally have an OConnor on every single shoot, so it was an imperative of mine to include OConnor in this workshop.”
On the tour Buono has a 2575D and a 1030D. “We’ll be shooting with a number of different cameras, some smaller and lighter than others, the Canon C300, for example,” he explains. “The set up will be in the mode of how I’ve shot a number of SNL short films over the past few seasons. For this set up, the OConnor 1030D is perfect. My current setups at SNL, when in full studio mode, are shot with the C500, recording 4K into an AJA Ki Pro Quad. This is a heavy-duty setup that requires a head with the strength and performance of the 2575D.”
Buono uses OConnor on every project he’s shot. He first got to know the heads when he was a camera assistant back in the mid-90s. “I worked on many of the big disaster movies of that era, like Twister and Armageddon,” he says. “One of my jobs as an assistant was to completely field-strip the OConnors to clean them, so I became very familiar with them. When I moved up to become a full-time cinematographer, I naturally continued to use them and have never looked back.
The Art of Visual Storytelling is currently on a 31-city tour and will continue across the country, ending in Seattle, Washington on August 4th. Each workshop features a daytime on-set working experience environment where Buono pulls crews from the audience to help demonstrate everything from fast turn around to coverage and workflow as well as choosing the proper gear for each production. The evening seminar dives into the language of visual structure and visual storytelling.
Workshop locations as well as ticket availability can be found at www.visualstorytellingtour.com
OConnor products www.ocon.com