Featured Member: Alfeo Dixon

August 12, 2016
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There's conventional advice that says, "find the actors' eyes" when shooting a project, but I've seen interesting stories told in silhouette, so I try to stay open to all possibilities.

Tell us a little about yourself. What is your trade in the film industry? How long have you worked in film? What kind of jobs do you normally work on? 

I’ve been in film production since 1994 when I helped a client of mine cast and find a shooting location for a music video, I owned an embroidery company at the time.  My current trade for the last 8 years has been focused to camera operator in the episodic and feature film worlds.

What first sparked your interest in cinematography?

I was casting a rather large job in Houston, TX and the DP of the music video told me I had a really good eye after looking at my portfolio. I joined the camera department when I returned to Atlanta the next week.

Where did you train?

On set, I was trained by some of the best AC’s in town to be a 2nd AC and learned to load film at the camera houses.

What artists or movies inspire you the most?

I really enjoyed the ascetics of Año Bisiesto for its non-movement in this day where everyone thinks you have to have some “movement” in the frame.

That's interesting. Can you go into more detail about why the movement in that movie sticks out to you?

I would say that the movie kind of lets the image breathe. There wasn't a lot of movement, I can't even remember a dolly. There were a lot of locked-off shots, which really fit this story of solitude and suicide.

 

Do you feel like there's too much movement in today's cinema?

I feel like there's been this reality TV-style shooting for a while. This handheld, swaying back and forth, motion with the camera. It's just not appropriate for some things. It's fine for comedy, but for other things it makes the movie feel like there's a lack of direction. That style doesn't always allow you to treat important things in the script with the proper importance, if that makes sense.

For sure. Does that mean you try to apply more stillness to the projects you work on?

Not always. I want to shoot in a way that's appropriate for the script, but I do have a background in still photography, so I always try to take my time and find the very best frame. There's conventional advice that says, "find the actors' eyes" when shooting a project, but I've seen interesting stories told in silhouette, so I try to stay open to all possibilities.

So what's some of the better advice you've ever been given?

Never put yourself out there if you're not ready.

How did you get your first break in the industry?

I was doing three jobs (locations, stills and additional op) on a no-low feature.  I scouted the film and then became the stills photographer for them.  While shooting, I heard they need an additional op, so I jumped at the opportunity.  The DP and I are still friends on Facebook to this day.

As of writing this blog, you're the only person renting out an Arri Alexa package on ShareGrid Atlanta. What are your thoughts on that camera?

It's one of the most reliable workhorses out there. Everything just fits about that camera. They knew that they didn't need to reinvent the wheel to make a camera useful on set.

Any other interests or hobbies outside of what you do?

Scuba diving and Road Cycling (or at least looking at my road bike).

Why did you join ShareGrid?

I’ve often dreamed of having my own rental company.  ShareGrid is the next best thing until I make it happen.

What draws you, personally and professionally, to Atlanta?

I’ve loved Atlanta since I arrived for college back in ’86.  It’s a great city and has great people.

 

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Brent L Zaffino

I am a filmmaker out of Atlanta, Georgia currently working as a freelance director and videographer for music videos, short films, and corporate videos.

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