Judd Overton’s impressive repertoire signals an early apprenticeship for this acclaimed young cinematographer, with a raft of 35mm and 16mm projects including TVC's, Film Clips and a feature film already to his credit. His latest documentaries, 'Legs on the Wall' shot live with multiple cameras and the confronting 'Street Level' about Surry Hills Street kids have received great raps from audiences and peers alike.
"Street Level" was produced at the Australian Film Television & Radio School (AFTRS) by graduating students Madeline Hetherton (Director), Marc Ianniello (Producer), cinematographer Judd Overton and sound recordist Jake Brown. It was shot in 10 days over 3 weeks and is the proud recipient of both Kodak and Atlab (film processing) grants for Cinematography in a Master of Arts Documentary. Judd discovered Miller support while a student at AFTRS and has drawn on Miller’s portability on ‘Street Level’.
“I found the Miller tripod to be the most versatile option for shooting both film and tape in observational mode.” enthuses Judd, who saw 'Street Level' open the recent Sydney 'Hip Hop Film Festival' in both Sydney and Melbourne.
Another AFTRS success story
Judd is a recent graduate of AFTRS where he has worked both collaboratively and individually on a wide range of dramas, documentaries and experimental film projects. These works won him sponsorship grants from Kodak, Panavision and Atlab as well as a gold award from the Australian Cinematographer’s Society (ACS) for his documentary SUPERVENTION. Judd has 10 years of industry experience working on TVC's, TV drama and some of Australia's most widely acclaimed feature films such as Rolf De Heer’s THE TRACKER and DANCE ME TO MY SONG.
More recently Judd tried Miller’s DS60 150mm head, HD tripod and new Studio Dolly for his work as Director of Photography on his first feature film, the emotive Australian drama Left Ear.
Left Ear is an 85-minute independent film which takes the form of an obsessed and lonely man’s confession. It tells the dark yet humorous story of the Polish immigrant Boré’s life-long search for love and his struggle to belong. Bore’s unique perspective offers us a chilling insight to an isolated and deluded reality.
Super 16 on the move
Judd sets the scene, “We shot primarily Super 16 on the Arri SR II. However a variety of images and situations in the film are collected by Boré on 35mm stills, Super 8 and his handy-cam. For this reason I wanted equipment that was sturdy, light weight and versatile.”
For the SR II we chose the 150mm Miller DS60 Head which is rated to handle a camera up to 32kg. The Head looks great, is robust and the large number of tension settings meant that it handled smoothly even on our long lenses. The snap lock is slightly different and the rear location of the pan lock was different to what I was used to. None of this was a problem, just a little fiddly which required a little retraining. After a couple of days it became second nature.”
DS10 gets in on DV act
Judd also used a light-weight DV-style Miller DS10 75mm fluid head with alloy sticks, which he said, “was fantastic for setting up and moving quickly with the Canon XL-1S, especially when getting multiple set-ups.”
But the strength and portability of the HD 150mm 2-Stage carbon tripod really won him over. “The light-weight legs of the DS60’s tripod were definitely the winner for me. Extremely sturdy, they are extendable from baby height to super extended and meant we had no need for two sets of tripods (Highs and Lows). Changing between shots became a one person operation. The lock-off spreader was great at all heights.”
Dolly double-act as “type of … pedestal”
Miller’s 483 Studio Tracker Dolly also featured in the credits, “I was most surprised by Miller’s Doorway Dolly - I found the dolly moves quite well as a type of camera pedestal. The large wheels and single or multiple wheel lock-offs worked well on a variety of surfaces including carpet.”
“The dolly really came into its own in our day shooting on the Lidcombe/ Olympic Park train where space and equipment was limited. We achieved a range of tracking movements with limited fuss and a minimal crew.”
Judd is a cinematographer to watch out for. For Miller, Judd always works his kit as hard as he does himself – which is exactly why we build it with the rigidity and strength to handle any location production.
Cut to Judd, who lets Miller steal the final scene, “The equipment was an excellent solution to our fast-paced schedule and varied shooting requirements. I’d like to thank Miller for their interest in the project and their constant support.”