Photos by Lily Landes

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The Halloween Spirit comes early this year. Last week I went to Philadelphia to shoot at one of the most intense haunted attractions in the country.Terror Behind The Walls is a massive haunted house in a real haunted prison.



It was scary fun following our two daring show hosts for this Travel Channel Halloween Special, Kari Byron and Tori Bellaci as they made their way through the intense 45 min ordeal of Terror.



There are 200 actors, or should I say zombies, creatures, escaped lunatics and things, that roam the 11-acre madhouse.  There is no better way to get in the Halloween spirit than this!
The show is going to look AWESOME despite the challenges of low-to-no-light. It involved two custom Go-Pro POV rigs, spectacular drone work INT and EXT, and three Sony FS700 cameras cranked up to very high ISO sensitivity.


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A Real Hollywood Auteur

At his palatial Hollywood Hills mansion (built in the 20′s for William Randolph Hearst) I spent most of a day shooting an interview with cult film producer-director Larry Cohen. He is a highly original and resilient talent whose credits also include screenplay writing during the past 40 years and include more than 40 films. His creative versatility has enabled him to produce films outside the studio system for decades resulting in highly admired, well crafted works created with budgets that wouldn’t cover the craft services costs of a studio picture.


His observations on the state of the industry and how it has evolved during his long career are fascinating, and will be included in the feature-length documentary being produced by La-La Land Records.




Larry created the hit TV series “The Invaders” and “Branded”(starring Chuck Connors) in the 60′s. His film credits include Phone Booth, It’s Alive, Daddy’s Gone A Hunting, The Stuff and a whole myriad of sci-fi, horror and action films.

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The Fastest Camera In The World

In the world of video cameras it is absolutely fascinating that the fastest cameras only operate at the extreme ends of the visible light-gathering universe. At one end you have your Miros and Phantoms, Photrons and For-A VFC’s — all of which suck up vast quantities of light to achieve high frame rates. At the other extreme you have awesomely light sensitive cameras that see beautifully in very low light at ISO speeds of 25,000, 64,000 and even 102,000. Both of these vastly different types of cameras are FAST.

But EXTREME just got way bigger. Now welcome THE 800 POUND GORILLA OF FAST!


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Thrill Factor Premieres on Travel Channel

Travel Channel can’t wait to air my latest show.  Air Date moved one month sooner: http://www.yourentertainmentcorner.com/travel-channel-new-seriesthrill-factor-premieres-aug-12/

Here is an inside look at our experiences on the production:
Another of the unusual places we went to shoot a show about thrill rides this summer was the Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas. Did anyone have an idea that there are THREE RIDES on the top of it?  Here’s the awesome view.



Our show hosts Kari Byron and Tory Belleci, fresh from their success on “Mythbusters,” took the giant plunge of more than 800 feet from the top of the tower on a wire.   That’s a Ride!!?
Stratosphere1Yes, you step off the platform into thin air!



Here’s another ride at the stratosphere that we didn’t get to try due to approaching severe weather. This spins around enough to magnify the dizzy feeling of staring down 850 feet to the ground below.

Stratosphere5Those black clouds are the July monsoon with pouring rain and winds. Minutes later the outside platforms were evacuated because of lightning strikes in the area.



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Thrills of Shooting TV -Then & Now

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Santa Claus, Indiana was the location for Episode One of the new Travel Channel series I have been shooting – “THRILL FACTOR.” Who is up or down for Thrill Rides??

Our hosts are those wacky and lovable personalities from Myth Busters, Kari and Tory. In this show they plunge feet-first (and sometimes head-first) into the most challenging, fear-inducing and FUN amusement park and specialty thrill rides.
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We spent the day shooting at Holiday World amusement park. The cast and crew tried out the incredible Thunderbird. Its a steel coaster that launches you out of the station at 60mph in two seconds.

Twenty years ago I shot the home video release “America’s Greatest Roller Coasters” and it was REAL tricky mounting a lipstick camera cabled to a Betacam deck in those coasters. This time it was a breeze. THANK GOD FOR GO-PRO’s!

Watch for the series to premiere on Travel Channel on August 12, Wednesday at 8:30pm Pacific Time.

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Talent 14 Feet High

On a recent DISNEY XD shoot I had my hands full with our co-stars, the 7-foot tall (each) identical twins Brook and Robin Lopez.

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They’re Stanford basketball stars who now play in the NBA on opposing teams.
Lopez twins I haven’t shot talent that big since Shaq. And they are equally friendly and agreeable to doing anything it takes to get the shots. It was a pleasure working with them. In fact the hardest thing about the day was getting the camera up high enough to be on their level–and to see through the viewfinder!Disney XD Slate

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Strong Island Films Pilot

walkway 1328 I recently flew to New Jersey for an intense schedule of re-enactments.  Strong Island Films’ Rob Dorfmann and Cindy DePasquale are creating a compelling pilot presentation that re-creates true stories involving groups of friends and murders.

Shooting at multiple locations, and being often in sight of Manhattan presented great opportunities for visuals.  We shot with a small crew and lots of on-camera talent.  We used Canon cameras, some off-speed frame rates, suggestive lighting and quirky angles to enhance the emotional range of the story.  It will keep audiences riveted.  I guarantee it.  The style will be a blend of whodunit and docusoap intrigue.  Stay tuned.

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Added bonus - the project became a rare opportunity to shoot the Historic Hoboken train station.

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L.A. Times Media Works Expo

I recently plunged into the deep world of interactive online marketing and advertising covering the Media Works Expo presented by the L.A. Times.


There business owners of all sizes were initiated into the fine points of website design, SEO, online advertising and the uses and value of rich media content creation–as I created marketing-rich video content of the event!

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On the Edge of the Super Bowl

The last week of January finished with a big bang spent in Phoenix, in the Super Bowl maelstrom.  The heart of downtown was Super Bowl central for fans who were roaming everywhere – consuming, celebrating and  partying.



Lighting Director Dave Navarro made the building look spectacular outside and inside.

In the midst of all the chaos is the famous Herberger Theatre, an elegant venue for the ESPN Sport Science Newton Awards (named after that awesomely famous physicist Sir Isaac). The awards honor a cross section of athletes, from Gold Medal Olympians to NFL players to LA Kings hockey players, for outstanding achievements.


The Newton Award is a 16 pound 24 carat gold monster.

My duties as DP involved the use of a 20′ jib, two 12′ jibs a Ronin stabilizer and a total of eight Sony cameras, including EX3, FS-700 and PMW-300.Newtons stage

The crew from Base Productions was incredible.  Pulling together a complex live-to-tape show with live performances, lots of mind-blowing video segments, celebrity presenters and awardees is incredibly complex!  Directors Jason Mergott and Annie Tang spearheaded everything with cool, unflappable precision; while smooth-as-silk jib operators Gaston Carrizo and Kevin McLaughlin upped the production value in a big way.

The show airs in the second week of February.



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Rose Parade 2015

The first job of 2015 was an early riser. Call time at 4:30am to get into Pasadena along with 100′s of 1000′s of others to get in position for the monster parade.

The best way to witness the spectacle is not from the grandstands where you are squeezed in, but from the street gutter with an “all-access” pass that lets you roam at will. I was shooting for several national sponsors that had floats in the parade, so it meant behind-the-scenes coverage, and that really helped to understand some of the immense background logistics to put on an event that huge.
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There’s a lot more to see than what is shown on television. That’s the most memorable aspect. The marching bands sound great up close. The drill teams make major mistakes. The white-suited pooper squads are stationed every 100 yards or so and dash out into the street to clean up after each horse brigade passes.

After the parade we covered the inrush of 18,000 onlookers who each paid $10 to view the floats on display. Pasadena erects about 3 miles of fencing to create a viewing park that lasts for 3 days. Then its all cleaned up and put away til next year–kind of like Halloween.

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