Reid Chooses OConnor O-Grips for Sons of Anarchy & American Horror Story
The FX Network series, Sons of Anarchy is, according to Camera Operator James Reid, a “fast paced unforgiving show that dictates a full A-game to your camera work and your attitude .”American Horror Story, also for the FX Network, is even more demanding because of the work style and pace. “Keeping up with both conventional and un-conventional camera situations has become far easier, thanks to OConnor’s O-Grips,” he explains.
O-Grips are made by support leader, OConnor, part of Vitec Videocom, a Vitec Group company. Solid, modular and stackable, they can be configured to create double or multi-joint handles, capable of a half sphere of stepless articulation—so they are ideal for a multitude of applications. They fit three standard rod systems: 15mm, 19mm Studio, and 15mm LWS via the O-Grips Bridge.
“Shooting an episode in seven days with a large cast and plenty of extra coverage involving stunts and pyro can always be problematic,” Reid says. “You have to be on your toes and centered to the mission of the moment. You are leaning heavily on your crew and gear to make the day.
“Because Sons of Anarchy is 70% handheld using ARRI Alexa cameras and often includes long lenses, I needed a solution to make the camera less of a burden on the shoulder. The O-Grips allow me more flexibility and creative freedom in making the shot and less hesitation in pushing for long lens moments.
“In almost every set up on Sons, the hope is to grab and tag the details avoiding any special insert shots,” he adds. “On one episode, for example, the shot was inside a vehicle from the front seat. I needed to hinge in the talent from the passenger door and there was no room to shoulder mount the camera, so I used a rocker plate and employed the O-Grips to give me the leverage and control I desired to achieve the shot. It worked flawlessly.
“American Horror Story, which is shot on 35mm Panavision XL2 and the ARRI 435, is even more of a challenge,” he adds. “The O-Grips are used in conventional applications, as well as unique and counter-intuitive builds. The camera has to be held in flexible and awkward positions without fatiguing the operator. The O-Grips enable me to reach those looks and make the day.
“AHS is like no other show. The sets are full of texture, smoke and dust. The scripts are dense with details, and as cameramen, we need to dig it out each day. The O-Grips give me the balance and accuracy to handhold the camera. Using just one O-Grip gives me the freedom to play the lens and achieve great looks.
“We recently used the O-Grips on a shot where the talent jumped over the camera and then we whipped down to see the foot landing,” he explains. “There are almost limitless applications for the O-Grips. My assistant and other operators have commented on the versatility and multiple applications for the
“Simply put, the OConnor O-Grips offer the best value, not to mention a design and functionality that offers more options, like comfort and ease in adjusting the grips per the need of the shot as well as multiple applications for mounting. They can be used beyond handheld applications as well, such as on rocker plates, Gore-Link setups and when space is very limited. And, what is really cool is that you can make adjustments without putting the camera down.”