LONG BEACH, CA, July 7, 2008 – With its expanded production capabilities and veteran Executive Producer Caroline Von Weyher on board, Damon Live Action, Inc. is ready for action – no matter what the shot may be. “I knew that if I wanted to convince Caroline to take the job, I’d better have everything needed to shoot a major car spot right here on the premises,” muses the company’s owner, acclaimed director Tim Damon, who has gradually accumulated a storehouse of proprietary and modifiable gear.
While Damon and von Weyher worked together previously, at Millennium Pictures, there is truth to Damon’s words. “Tim’s approach to the work and the proprietary gear he’s accumulated puts us in a very unique position – it’s a totally new spin on ‘what’ a production company can offer,” says Von Weyher of the director-owned company, whose automotive work includes spots, campaigns and running footage for Lexus, Toyota, Chevy, Goodyear, Honda, Mobile Oil, and Saturn; Damon also is an extremely busy photographer. “First and foremost, he has an amazing eye; everyone knows the best car shooters come from print. Second, by building and maintaining his own studio and proprietary gear, he’s created a cost-effective model with which no one in our business can compete.”
(The Hummer H2 is a customized camera car vehicle outfitted with a variety of proprietary accessories)
Indeed, Damon’s proprietary gear brings to the table a wealth of equipment that can accommodate shoots of any size. Additionally, he can opt for his gear of choice on a project, modifying it as he sees fit.
“I started acquiring gear in 2002,” Damon recalls. “I was shooting a Goodyear project and I wanted to modify a camera car and outfit it with light panels. The vendor wasn’t thrilled about it. I thought, ‘If this were my gear…’ It was the start of this way of thinking, and I began following through on it.” Damon’s acquisitions were modest at first, but over the past few years he has upped the ante and built up Damon Live Action into a personal production treasure trove. “There’s no turning back now,” he says.
(Hummer w/Light Panels – Custom light panels snap on the sides of the Hummer – used as a traveling light source to illuminate picture cars at night and to highlight picture cars by day. One of a kind.)
“I have no argument with the rental companies, it’s a tough business to run, believe me, I know,” Damon points out. “But the fundamental problem I kept running into was that the creative aspirations of the client are not their concern.” Certainly, creative aspirations are paramount among Damon’s concerns, and as a director who strives consistently to deliver originality and to top his previous successes, he now considers himself fully prepared.
(Damon’s totally customized Polaris ATV Camera Car with a Spring Mounted Arm. The Polaris is used for running shots in tight area’s, light off road, 360′s, badging, you name it. We usually have our 2nd Unit using this tool (and the Hummer) while 1st unit is in the main camera car with either Russian Arm or Ultimate Arm.Most 2nd Units are operating on sticks and dolly and do not have these (very cool) tools at their disposal. Damon Live Action ends up shooting (ALL) really cool footage – instead of having the yawner 2nd unit material seen far too often.)
Damon Live Action, Inc., also boasts a Cayenne w/light panels and crane arm, 3-Axis Head, Full Grip and Grip Trucks, Lighting (HMI’s, 12 K’s, etc.), Motorhome/Walkies/Generators/Cube Trucks, HD Cameras, and HDRI Camera (for shooting 360 degree environments for CGI cars).
The director just wrapped a 10-day Running Footage package for Toyota project via Saatchi-LA, for which he designed a revolutionary turntable rig. Saatchi’s goal for the running package this year was to realize some economies of scale – so Damon was asked to shoot footage for both national and dealer spots. Shot in San Diego in June, Damon brought four camera car platforms (three of which are Damon-proprietary), rigs, turntable and 360′s. He also shot digital stills.turntable
“Tim definitely has taken on his share of headaches by engaging in an endeavor of this scope” von Weyher affirms. “At the same time, there’s no limit to what we can accomplish with this very unique model. “Obviously Tim’s impeccable eye for framing and his knack for finding the most fabulous locations are at play here – our gear is just the icing on the cake – but it is these very tools that help us win business and keep clients coming back for more.”
Damon agrees. “We have a lot of fun out there and aren’t running to agency for overages because we own most of the gear. It’s very liberating and allows for some incredible spontaneity – if we find a shot and want to use the Polaris, Hummer or Cayenne we just do it.”