DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
With over 20 years experience, Oliver has shot in much of sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, Asia and the United States.
Fazila's passion for cameras started in gear rentals almost 2 decades ago. She has been a camera assistant for the past 13 years.
Biography - Oliver Kohl
My fascination with moving images began in high school using the old family video camera, but I learnt how to shoot professionally on 16mm Arriflex cameras at the Pretoria Tech Film School in the early 90’s. As a student I had to load my own film and learn how to deal with the dodgy magazines which had more holes than a cheese grater! The negatives were developed at the then Irene Film Labs and I was introduced to editing my own material on Steenberg 6 plate flatbed editing machines. When those old motors sprang into action and all the cogs and wheels started whirring and whizzing, magic happened.
Most of the projects I shot and edited were short documentaries, experimental films, mock ads and a corporate video or 2. For my 3rd year practical, I pitched a concept to an alternative nightclub I frequented and they payed half the costs for a commercial to be screened at the local cinema house. I shot the bulk of it on an Arri BL camera with a chunk of it captured on an old Arri ST, which I acquired from an old retired filmmaker and still have in my collection. The answer print was bumped up from 16mm to 35mm for the theatre, and the client was very happy with the outcome. I’ve included a link if you want to check it out for a laugh. CLICK HERE
Having just missed the transition from U-Matic to Betacam, my career with broadcast video equipment debuted in 1994 when I purchased my first Betacam SP camcorder, a Sony BVW 300. My parents are German and they had contacts with media companies through their exhibition business. One of these was selling their old workhorse for a good price. A lot cheaper than in South Africa where professional camera equipment automatically accrued massive import surcharges and luxury taxes.
I cut my video teeth shooting magazine programmes and inserts for M-Net and SABC, a documentary, music videos and corporate videos. Music videos were shot on 16mm for the quality and edited on Betacam SP, and the rest was acquired on my trusted BVW 300. Having fallen in love with Sony craftsmanship and the beautifully balanced ergonomic design of the BVW series, in ’97 I brought in a BVW 400 from Germany, which I also still have in my ever increasing museum.
From the late 90’s to the early 2000’s, I was fortunate to get several year long contracts as DP on an SABC breakfast show and various magazine/ lifestyle programmes and TV documentaries. Adding to my gear list in 2000, I upgraded to a Digital Betacam 709 which was the Rolls Royce of PAL broadcast cameras in those days. Stand out productions I DP’d were: an experimental feature film on multiple formats, including 35mm, DigiBeta, Beta SP and DVCAM; 2 feature documentaries; and various commercials.
By the mid 2000’s all manner of new digital formats capable of 2K and higher were starting to surface, setting an unrelenting trend. This marked the end of my investment into a single high end camera system. As technology progressed faster it spurred on my excitement of being able to learn and experiment with different cameras.
Since moving to Cape Town in 2010, my work has revolved mainly around shooting corporate videos, some commercials and various short documentaries. A noteworthy achievement is being 2nd unit DP on a 35mm short film, ‘Karoo’, which I also co-wrote and co-directed. The thriller ghost story travelled to Cannes and several other international festivals as well as winning a SAFTA for Best Short Film.
For as long as I can remember, the magic of 25 pictures strung together to create a moving image has excited me. The challenge of looking through a viewfinder and discovering the best shot with the most flattering lighting to tell the story in the best way possible, is an addiction I am proud of. My passion for filmmaking is only surpassed by my pedantic attention to detail. I guess I can blame my German genes for that.
Expect a turnaround of approx 24 hours.