Zacuto Web Film Triumphs at the Midwest Emmys

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Zacuto Films take home Midwest Emmy for web series, Revenge of The Great Camera Shootout 2012

In a crowded field of formidable competitors, Zacuto’s Revenge of the Great Camera Shootout 2012 was the only web nominee in the category of Outstanding Achievement in the Area of Interview/Discussion Programming. On November 18, 2012, the Chicago/Midwest chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced the winner; the Emmy went to Zacuto and the production team of Scott Lynch, Steve Weiss, Jens Bogehegn and Daniel Skubal.

This was the third Emmy win for the team. The concept for their film was bold and controversial. Some of the world’s top cinematographers were challenged to shoot the same scene using cameras of their choice—ranging from the most moderately priced to the most expensive. The base lighting for the shoots was set by renowned cinematographer Bruce Logan ASC, who also supervised the project. The purpose of the experiment was to answer a critical question for the film industry: “With the latest camera technology, is it the equipment or the skill and experience of the DP and their knowledge of their camera and post process that make for a great image?”, The results surprised many camera profession and, Logan predicted, “…will change the way they work forever”.

Weiss, Director of the Revenge of the Great Camera Shootout conducted interviews with some of the most notable cinematographers in the industry including legends like Haskell Wexler ASC, Janusz Kaminski, Victor Kemper ASC, Stephen Goldblatt ASC/BSC, Rodney Charters ASC/CSC, and so many more.

The footage was screened blind in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Germany, the Netherlands, Singapore, India, and Canada. Viewers, including legendary director Francis Ford Coppola, commented on what they liked about each different camera not knowing which was which. In the end, a majority agreed they could not see major differences among the cameras. The less expensive models more than held their own against the high-priced versions. The conclusion: talent and experience, not the camera, make the difference in the creation of a beautiful film.

Competing against other television programming, the Zacuto entry stood out as the clear winner. Steve Weiss and Daniel Skubal were also nominated for an Emmy for Directing and Editing Awards along with bts: Chasing the Light, nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Documentary Programs. Bts showed the hardships in which documentary filmmakers encounter when shooting over long periods of time in a hostile environment. Both bts and Revenge of the Great Camera Shootout 2012 attest to the coming of age of web filmmaking; and to the skill and determination of those who create web programs.

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Sara DePasquale
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