OConnor Support is Crucial for Lonsdale on “Bones”


Photo of Gordon Lonsdale on the set of Bones by Adam Taylor.

Cinematographer Gordon Lonsdale, ASC, credits OConnor support for allowing his operators to keep moves fresh and innovative on the long running Fox series Bones. “Actually, I’ve been a big fan of OConnor throughout my career,” he says. “When I was an assistant I used the 50 and 100. Then when the lightweight 100 came out, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.”

Bones shoots with ARRI Alexa cameras, Optimo zooms and Leica primes. Lonsdale’s two operators use 120EX OConnor heads, supplied by Otto Nemenz, and set them up in completely different configurations. Greg Collier, A-camera/2nd unit DP will tighten the drag quite a bit and operate that way. Andy Shuttleworth, B-camera/Steadicam, has his head very loose. “Still, they both do beautiful work,” Lonsdale says. 

To keep the series fresh, he is often putting his cameras in very challenging positions, especially on shots where the lead actors are investigating some sort of grizzly death. “This is often where the strength of the heads allows us to use the long lenses and to put my Z-plate on the head and hang it upside down with the camera, complete with zoom, skimming across the ground for many shots,” he explains.

“And, I’ve gone to other extremes, putting the camera eye level with water in a stream or lake and have put down a tripod and the OConnor head – all underwater. It was simple. I knew the head would continue to work and that my camera would be supported.

“Over the years, I have tried other heads,” he admits. “I’ve always come back to OConnor because of the reliability of both the equipment and the company. Lesser heads have left me without tilt drag or pan drag, when they have broken. OConnor has never let me down. The equipment is always there. If I have problems, and they are usually due to inadvertently dropping the head or mistreating it when we try to get a shot, OConnor has always been there to fix and repair it. I simply couldn’t get what we get on Bones without OConnor there to support us.”

Bones, a darkly amusing procedural drama based on real-life forensic anthropologist and novelist Kathy Reichs, opened its eighth season on Fox January 14th. New episodes air each Monday at 8:00 p.m. with syndicated reruns at various times throughout the Fox schedule.




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