Steadicam operator James Poole

As an internationally sought-after camera operator, James Poole showcases the essence of a story through his work. With every acclaimed film and television project he embarks on, he uses his artistic eye to capture an emotion, a moment in time, a vision, acting as the invisible character in a scene.

Using a wide array of complex equipment, Poole aims to film as many shots as possible to give editors exactly what they need. He works closely with directors and cinematographers to tell the visual aspect of a story and uses his extensive experience across many operating disciplines to handle any idea or suggestion thrown his way.

“How the camera moves or doesn’t move can say a lot in the scene and can assist in creating an atmosphere,” he said. 

Hailing from Britain, Poole’s work has been enjoyed by millions all over the world. His resume includes hits like the Emmy award-winning series The Great, the iconic Dr. Who, and the film Twist starring Academy Award winner Michael Caine, which was hardly his first time working with A-List Hollywood talent. 

“I first had the chance to work with James on a film I was directing in 2018 called Killers Anonymous starring Gary Oldman. We have worked together since and he is my operator of choice,” said Director Martin Owen. “Working with James is effortless. He is good humored and has a way of putting people at ease. As much as he likes it to be light hearted on set, he is extremely talented and I never feel like the job is getting less than 100% of his attention.”

Poole has many more exciting projects coming up, including the Saudi series Rise of the Witches and ITV’s Archie depicting the life of Hollywood’s greatest leading man, Archibald Alexander Leach – A.K.A. Cary Grant, which stars famed British Actor Jason Isaacs in the titular role and is directed by Bafta winning Paul Andrew Williams.

“To follow Cary Grant’s life and career throughout the golden age of Hollywood sounded like a dream job. Not only was he an important figure in American film history, but I was also intrigued by his early life before becoming a star. He was raised in the town where I grew up and I know many of the locations in the script. To be transported back in time to these places was fascinating for me,” said Poole.

The show takes place in various times in history. From 1920’s Bristol UK to 1980’s California, and working as the A Cam Operator, Poole had to film all these different time periods and locations authentically while capturing the essence of the story. There were many scene recreations from films Cary starred in, including Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest, which would require him to operate in a range of different styles and looks set by the Cinematographer Laurens De Geyter.

Poole’s passion for film was pivotal to his success, as his knowledge of Grant’s work made him know just how to capture every scene. As they traveled through time in the story, he adjusted the way he operated to suit the era they were set in. This was no easy feat, as they did not film in order of the storyline. This came with challenges as every time in history needed a different style of operating, different format of camera and different set of lenses to help achieve the look.

Poole alternated between Digital, 16mm and Super 8. These challenges are also what made the project so enjoyable for Poole. Every day offered something different. One day may be an exterior 1940s New York followed by the next day that could be interior 1960s Palm Springs. 

“This was an enjoyable project to be a part of. We shot most of the show in Liverpool with mostly local crew. I was one of a few non-locals on the project and the crew could not have been nicer and were extremely welcoming. The cast were very open, down to earth and there was always a lovely atmosphere on set. We shot the final week in Spain with local Spanish crew that were also excellent. The sunshine was also welcome and a nice way to end the show,” he said.

Be sure to keep an eye out for Archie when it hits screens. The release date has yet to be announced, but it’s one you won’t want to miss.

By Punit