by Giles Christopher Published 01/10/2010
You’d imagine working in the movie and TV business would be a wonderfully glamorous affair. How difficult can rubbing shoulders with Hollywood’s finest and travelling all over the world actually be? Well, if Shepperton, London-based Giles Christopher’s experiences are anything to go by it can be very difficult, time-consuming and frequently anything but glamorous. “The attention to detail has to be 100 per cent and you don’t settle for anything less,” he explains. “You’ll have to do a take 20, 30 or 40 times so it looks perfect. I shot a commercial once where I was filming four sausages on a barbeque; it took 16 hours to get it absolutely right.”
Sizzling sausages aside, many famous faces have passed in front of Christopher’s lens during his time in the movies. He’s worked on films including Memphis Belle, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Aliens 3 as well as shooting music videos for the likes of the KLF and Robbie Williams. Quite a career for a man who initially went to college to learn graphic design and architecture. “I studied photography in my free periods,” he says. “I loved it so much that when I left I decided not to follow the architecture route and started assisting a car photographer. From there I went on to work as an assistant stills man in feature films.”
Once in the film industry, Christopher swapped stills for moving images and progressed up the ranks, first as a clapper loader, then a focus puller, camera operator and finally, assistant cameraman. The obvious next move was to director of photography but he’d become so well known for his camera skills, he couldn’t get the step up he needed. “I wanted to further my career but couldn’t see a way of doing it, so 10 years ago I decided to bite the bullet and get out of the industry,” he recalls. “My intention was to return in a couple of years, but when I left I went back to stills photography and realised how much I loved it.”
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