The Bay Area has many talented DP’s and perhaps down the road we will find a way to feature a few of key shooters. For now we thought it important to feature a qualified Steadicam owner operator. The Steadicam was introduced in 1975 and was first used in the Woody Guthrie biopic Bound for Glory, winning cinematographer Haskell Wexler the academy award that year. It’s been a game changer ever since. There are just a few names that come up locally when one is looking for a Steadicam operator and Mike Elwell would be near the top of just about everyone’s list.
Since 1989 when Mike was steadicam operator for Clownhouse a horror film written and directed by Victor Salva, (and was nominated for a Grand Jury Price at the Sundance Film Festival), he has been a well respected DP. His long resume included features, documentaries, tv shows, shorts and more. He has been an Emmy award winner, and over the years has earned his reputation as reliable, creative, problem solver and all around go to guy.
There are many who say they can do Steadicam, but at least in the Bay Area there are only a handful of owner / operators. We personally feel with something that requires so much hand on experience to master, owner / operator is the best way to go. In addition to his Steadicam rig Mike also has jibs and dollies and his own camera packages.
His many credits include shows like Nova, Cops, The Amazing Race, Great Performances and more. TV movie Sherlock Holmes Returns, and the more recent Secrets of the Dead a TV series documentary shot in 2011.
We would never say that Mike is the only game in town, but he does represent the kind of quality service provider that we feature here on PHS. So the next time you think Steadicam, think Mike Elwell, and we don’t think you will be disappointed.