Owen A Smith GTC,DGGB
Director of Photography, Cinematographer, Lighting Camera Operator & Focus Puller, 1st Assistant Camera Technician
Owen is an experienced professional Director of Photography Cinematographer and Broadcast Television Lighting Camera Operator and First Assistant Camera Technician / Focus Puller with over ten years of experience working in Broadcast Television and Film Production in Media. Owen is a Full member of the Guild of Television Cameramen and a Fully Accredited Member of The Directors Guild of Great Britain.
Owen originally studied at Epsom School of Art & Design know known as the University of Creative Arts (UCA) Epsom before getting his first media based job working for Adam B Studios / Adam B Colour Services based in the heart of London’s West End. Starting as a messenger / runner he rapidly worked his way up to become a Black & White photography processor and went on to work as a studio assistant. Owen’s role then was to help set up shoots and lighting in the studio for high end glossy magazine adverts and full size billboard commercial adverts for top level companies in line with the advertising agency briefs from advertising companies such as Satchi & Satchi, McCann Ericsson, Obgalvys and many more top London West End London agency’s and companies of the day.
In his early 20’s he took the opportunity to move to New York City where he had the opportunity to live and work in media related work associated with one of the early development and pioneering media production companies who specialized at the time in shooting and directing a new form of genera today known as promoting the development of music promo videos which n the mid 1980’s was very much a new medium in which to explore. Though at the time Owen was not directly involved in the production side of the company namely The then new New York based Telegenic’s company working directly under Colin Medlock who was head of Marketing Owen’s role was to research music promos and to write reviews on their direction for a promotional music video magazine called Video Print
Returning to the UK after a year in New York Owen opted to stay in his home country and ended up working for one of the first UK based Cable television companies which was called Croydon Cable which was later brought out by as series of media companies from United Artists to Cable & Wireless, NTL and Virgin Media. Owen went on to work for CityDraft Advertising Agency Ltd starting as n account executive he rapidly climbed the corporate ladder to become a shareholder and company director where he helped shape and develop the company from working below the lines to above the lines media before a career change to civil aviation.
Owen returned to work in the music industry and founded Red Skin Records Ltd and later Red Skin Media Ltd gaining experience shooting music promos and music related interviews and documentaries. He moved on to work in gaining experience in documentaries sports television and later drama.
He gained experience working on features such asas the EPK camera operator before moving up to operate as Owen is a Full member of the Guild of Television Cameramen and a Fully Accredited Member of The Directors Guild of Great Britain.a cinematographer shooting on several feature films
Education & Training
Epsom School of Art and Design now known as (UCA) 1979
Owen gained a scholarship to the Epsom School of Art and Design now known as The University of Creative Arts (UCA) Epsom where he studied for a degree in graphic design and commercial art. This has provided Owen with a very creative eye and amazing insight and perspective.
He went on to gained experience in the world of advertising working in London’s West End working in a top level advertising photographic studio where he was trained in studio lighting and subject framing for creating glossy magazine and billboard adverts.
Music Works Diploma in Sound Engineering & Music Technology
Two year diploma course in Sound Engineering and Music Technology 1993-1994
Owen spent several years working in the music industry as a sound engineer and music producer designing and building several professional recording studios as well as briefly working as a boom operator. It was his experience in working in sound that lead him to
North East Surrey College of Technology (NESCOT)
Broadcast Television and Radio Production 1994-1995
Broadcast Television and Film Production Training
Owen was fortunate to have gained a lot of training working on set with highly experienced Directors and Directors of Photography he gained a lot of one to one training under several seasoned and highly experienced industry professional on his personal journey to becoming an experienced Director of Photography in his own Right.
Camera & Electrical Dept Training
After leaving NESCOT Owen was fortunate to be introduced to a former Hollywood Lighting Cameraman from the UK at a music industry party in Surrey, this gentleman took Owen under his wing and taught him how to light a set and set up basic framing such as Mid shots Close ups and big Close ups and extreme lose ups on camera. He also showed Owen how to set up and develop a media production company in real and practical terms which set him on his path to a career on camera, in Broadcast Television and Film.
Owen experienced the tail end of analogy ENG cameras such as the BetaCam, 16mm film cameras and SP cameras, at the beginning of his career. Much of his skills were gained in recent years working on SD and HD digital cameras working his way up to being a Lighting Cameraman to the level of operating a RED camera. Owen wanted to become a master in his field and choose to briefly step down to gain solid experience working in the camera 6 electrical dept choosing to work briefly as a 2nd Assistant Camera Technician to fully learn and appreciate the skills and work needed to carry out that roll.
Before moving back up to operating camera and Director of Photography, Owen wanted to pinpoint his skills as a dedicated 1st Assistant Camera Technician /Focus Puller working on varying different digital big sensor digital movie cameras he spent time learning different cameras and working as a 1st AC/ Focus Puller and today Owen prides himself on being able to build a RED camera in the space of around 5 minutes.
Whilst today most of Owen’s credits are as the Director of Photography, Owen still enjoys the role of working as a 1st AC/ Focus Puller and he finds it therapeutic and a great skill to have. Owen says that one should never stop learning and by working with other operators and DoP’s in the role of 1st AC / Focus Puller he gains insight to other methods and approaches to film making which inspires him to work in new ways.
Camera Grip Training
Owen trained and gained on set experience working under key camera grip Jose de Cozar see http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0208165/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1, Owen learnt to lay track and and operate basic camera dollies as well as setting up camera jib equipment whilst working as a trainee camera grip under the watchful eye and supervision of Jose (from The London Grip company and A1Grips in the mid to late 1990’s). Owen remarks that this training has provided him with additional technical skills that can give him a better perspective as a Director of Photography as to what can be achieved, technically speaking and provides him with a high level of production value he can achieve when working with the camera.
Lighting Skills & Training
Since 1995 Owen has been trained in lighting, by crews and DoPs on the best way to light for different types of production and is regularly seen planning the lighting on set and getting his hands dirty in order to get the best lighting possible with the available lighting kits. Whist working on his first big crew feature as a unit drive he was asked to assist with the lighting crew when not driving and assisted the best boy who is an experienced lighting Gaffer called Bill Hogg. Owen says he gained practical knowledge and valuable experience in lighting for drama.
Shooting Film & Television Drama
Gaining experience and training shooting documentaries and sport is not shooting drama and requires a different level of technical understanding for telling a story and and capturing a drama shooting a feature film, short film or television drama requires different skills and technical ability Owen has gained the experience and technical skills to shoot high end production values needed for feature film and television drama. After working on many sets with highly experienced and seasoned Directors and Director of Photography who have imparted their skills and knowledge to Owen who has built up an extensive knowledge about his craft.
Over the last few years Owen has been involved in the technical training of new camera & electrical crew and has written training programs for the role of 2nd Assistant Camera Technicians and has developed practical training for the role of 1st Assistant Camera Technicians / Focus Pullers choosing to train his own crew team which he is able to bring o set with him on shoots. Owen continues to provide training and support of interns hoping to build a career in the camera and electrical department.