Vinten Supports Tim Allen/Donald A. Morgan ASC on 'Last Man Standing'
Director of Photography Donald A. Morgan, ASC, and actor/producer Tim Allen have come together once again for the new hit multi-camera series, Last Man Standing. For the new comedy, Morgan has chosen Vector 70 heads and Fulmar peds from Vinten.
“Tim wanted a very different kind of look this time, than on the hit we did together before: Home Improvement,” Morgan explains. “The story is set in Colorado. Tim plays Mike Baxter, the marketing director for an iconic outdoor sporting goods store. His wife has decided to go back to her career so he finds himself struggling to keep his manliness at home, surrounded by his three daughters and a grandchild.
“It makes for a lot of comedic situations,” he explains. “This is where director John Pasquin really pushes the envelope, and where Vinten is an invaluable tool whether we are in the spacious up-scale Baxter home or outside on one of Mike’s adventures,” explains Morgan.
To capture the movement, Morgan works with a four-camera set up: two peds (A-camera and X-camera), one dolly and a jib. The series started on the Genesis, “which is the first time we have used the Genesis camera on peds,” explains Morgan. “The Genesis/Vinten pairing went extremely well.” However, during the 15th show, production decided to switch to Sony F23s in the same combination. “A more familiar pairing with Vinten,” he adds.
“John really makes the shots interesting, challenging our operators to the max,” Morgan says. “He’ll often want a push up stage for a close-up and then a fast pull down stage. That means the guys have to be as versatile as possible. Ordinarily, you’d think that would be a dolly move, which requires three people to execute a shot. Not here. Vinten’s reliability allows a good operator to execute this difficult one-person move precisely and smoothly.
“When the show goes on location following Mike’s adventures and mis-adventures, A-camera and X-camera Vinten heads go with us – on dollies. That set-up works out really nice in the field,” he adds.
“Multi-camera comedy is always a challenge. It’s usually four cameras, often fighting for position on a stage and in front of a live audience. There is no time for equipment failure or retakes because camera choreography isn’t working,” Morgan explains. “That’s not a problem when my guys are on Vinten equipment. My relationship with Vinten goes way back. If it’s a ped show – that ped and head comes from Vinten. Vinten is top-of-the-line support and I’ve come to rely on their precision and accuracy no matter what our directors challenge my camera department to pull off in sometimes-difficult situations. I can’t conceive of doing a show without Vinten there for me and my crew.”
Eight-time Emmy Award-winning Director of Photography, Donald A. Morgan ASC, has relied on Vinten for all of his multi-camera shows including Home Improvement, Rita Rocks, Hot In Cleveland and now Last Man Standing. Vinten supports him on the many pilots he shoots each year as well.