Cinematographer James Bagdonas ASC has chosen OConnor fluid heads to support the new season of the US mockumentary, Modern Family.
“I’ve been using OConnor fluid heads my entire career,” said Bagdonas (pictured). “I’ve had them on Lois and Clarke, The Guardian, Chicago Hope and Boston Legal. With my last two shows they have become the only head we use. For the style of this show, we decided to shoot with Panavised F35 cameras and either Primo or Optimo zooms.
“With having to whip pan constantly, our operators need to keep one hand on the zoom lens at all times for constant changes. The fluid head is the only answer. With OConnor’s superior balance at any angle, these moves are possible. With many of the new camera systems, the lenses usually outweigh the camera. Only the OConnor will handle this with no problem.
“Many of the shots are not rehearsed and, at times, the operators even have to grab the focus knob,” Bagdonas added. “A good example would be the Dumphy kitchen scenes. We usually have four to six people all moving about the business of the day, going into the refrigerator, getting something from the cabinets. In this fray, we sometimes try to go for their hands or pan with a look to a POV and other opportunities that just ‘happen.’ That’s where the 2575 is essential. No other fluid head has such great balance through a wide range of motion.
“At times, I change to the new OConnor 120 EX head, especially on the heavier zoom lenses. For a head that was designed to carry more weight, this 120 EX still gives you a lightweight feel.”
Modern Family, a 20th Century Fox produced comedy series, has garnered over 20 award nominations and four wins, and airs on ABC in the US and Sky One in the UK.