Steve Weiss began his creative journey at an early age. He first learned about photography and shooting Super 8 movies with his dad in the early 70′s. In 1980, with the advent of the home VCR, Steve was among the first to begin shooting and editing wedding videos. It was at this time that he began to hone his taste, knowledge and storytelling ability. Soon after moving to Chicago in 1983, Steve began 1st Generation Video a production company. He had a fresh new idea. Steve wanted to make fashion videos that would play in department stores. Today it seems funny, we see monitors in every department store. But we actually had to rent the monitors and VCRs for some of these stores back in 1987. Steve attracted forward-thinking companies like I.B. Diffusion, Hartmarx and Christian Dior, and since this was a new concept and nobody knew what to do Steve was given total creative control to create some of the best concept videos displayed in major department stores across the country. “Good times indeed”, says Steve
In 1985, 1st Generation took on a new partner, Rick Shaughnessy. Rick and Steve moved into high-end corporate communications with a focus on niche marketing. Steve was never afraid of new technology and along with his DP Jens Bogehegn and editor (now wife) Lucyna Wojtas, they pioneered new equipment. They were among the first industry professionals to use 8mm, Hi-8 video, Betacam, Steadicam Jr., mini-dv, non linear editing systems, DVD authoring and eventually HD Cameras. Steve and Rick built 1st Generation into a highly successful production company. They sold it in 1999 after sixteen years of innovation and achievement.
In 2000, Steve Weiss and Jens Bogehegn formed Zacuto rentals, with a focus on renting the new HD 24p cameras recently introduced to the market. In 2005 when Panasonic released the HVX200, Steve and Jens realized that in order to make this camera ergonomic and able to be used to shoot indie films that they would need to create some products. Steve, Jens and Bob Zajeski, their engineer created an entire baseplate system with shoulder pad, handgrips, articulating arms for monitors, power systems and more. The orders started flowing in and Zacuto USA was born.
“We just weren’t able to find the products to do the things that was needed for these new cameras, so we decided to make our own. We decided we would only make products that were unique, different and a huge improvement over what was already available.” – Steve Weiss
Zacuto consistently introduces new concepts to the market. Some have been subsequently adopted by other manufacturers and are now the ‘industry standard.’ Concept products like: ‘Quick Release’ components that can be attached without using screws, ‘Universal’ products that are adjustable for all cameras and rods coming out of the back of the camera for shoulder mounting and counterbalance, these are only a few of the original ideas that Zacuto has brought to the industry. Zacuto products are also made exclusively in the United States and have a lifetime warranty even for accidental breakage.
Coming full circle, film and video veterans Steve Weiss Producer/Director/Host and Jens Bogehegn Producer/DP/Host created one the first long running web series, FilmFellas, first aired in December 2008. FilmFellas offers viewers a behind the scenes peek into the minds of influential and emerging filmmakers, “Where talking film is the family business.” Since 2008 FilmFellas has had 8 individual casts and 40 webisodes garnering an Emmy nomination (midwest region) in 2010 and winning an Emmy for outstanding achievement in interview/discussion programming in 2011 with episode 34 “Commitment to the Craft” featuring Jens Bogehegn, Rodney Charters ASC, Nancy Schrieber ASC & Stephen Goldblatt ASC/BSC.
In August 2009, Steve and Jens launched their second webisodic series, [ critics ]. This new show, co-hosted by Steve Weiss and Philip Bloom (a London based Cinematographer,/blogger) candidly critiques web based video content. [ critics ] offers an eclectic mix of personalities, perspectives and laughter.
In 2010, assembling a world-wide cast of influential filmmakers and screened at Lucas Film Skywalker Ranch, AFI and in Chicago, “The Great Camera Shootout 2010″ showed the world how a DSLR would fare against 35mm film in a battery of tests. The Great Camera Shootout has had over 2M views, was the only web series, along with FilmFellas to be nominated for an Emmy (midwest region) and then won an Emmy Award in 2010 for Outstanding Achievement in an Informational Program.
In the fall of 2010, Steve Weiss and Jens Bogehegn created and developed BTS: a web series “A Documentary About Making Documentaries.” Launched in March 2011, the web series follows Director T.C. Johnstone, Producer Greg Kwedar and their entire film crew and documents their journey in the making of “Rising From Ashes,” a film about Rwandan’s first ever national cycling team. The BTS episode Hit the Ground Running was nominated for a 2011 Emmy award (midwest region) for outstanding achievement in a documentary program.
In 2011, in the largest Zacuto production to date crediting over 750 people The “Great Camera Shootout 2011″ received an Emmy nomination (midwest region) for Outstanding Achievement for Informational/Instructional Programming. The Great Camera Shootout 2011 was a documentary of the Single Chip Camera Evaluation SCCE a camera test administered by Robert Primes, ASC.
By 2012 Zacuto USA’s product line had grown to over 340 items, making Steve & Jens leading trendsetters in camera package design. Now known as an industry leaders, day in and day out, Zacuto continues to show how it can easily adapt its unique products to every camera on the market.
Steve is passionate about his work but also has many other interests! You can often find him riding around Chicago on his 1948 Schwinn Panther, or working on his fine art photography portfolio, and, of course, playing with his little girl, Isabel and wife Lucyna. Steve also has a keen interest in genealogy. His 17th Great Grandfather, Abraham Zacuto, was the court astronomer of Spain and an inventor. Abraham was responsible for orchestrating Christopher Columbus’s mission to the new world. Steve too, has that same passion for inventing, creating and discovering. It seems to run in the family!
Steve’s specialty is documentary filmmaking and interviewing people. Steve as been an interviewer for 20 years and has interviewed high profile people such as Mayor Rudy Giuliani (after 9/11) & Mayor Daley. Industry leaders like Peter Drucker (founder of consulting) & Booker Noe (Jim Beams Grandson/Bookers Bourbon). CEO’s of Speigal, McDonalds, Astro Zenica, Allstate, Loyola, Nat Geo, Deloitte and Touche Consulting, Jim Beam Brands, and more. Film industry leaders like David Grubin, Janusz Kaminski, Haskell Wexler, Victor Kemper and many others.
Steve has been shooting, photographing, directing, producing, editing, renting & inventing in the film, video and the photographic business since 1976, professionally since 1983. Both Weiss and Bogehegn have worked together as Director/Cinematographer since 1986, creating in both film and video over 600 commercial, corporate, documentary & fashion projects as well as 6 web series with over 63 episodes. Here are some of the honors they have received:
2012 Chicago International Film Festival-INTERCOM Silver Plaque Award for Web Series: Independent — BTS: A Web Series
2012 Emmy Award (midwest chapter), outstanding achievement in informational programming — “Revenge of The Great Camera Shootout 2012 episode 1, Starting with Darkness”
2012 Emmy nomination (midwest chapter), outstanding achievement in documentary program –BTS: A Web Series: webisode 2, “Chasing the Light”
2012 Emmy nomination (midwest chapter), outstanding craft achievement director of editing — BTS: A Web Series: webisode 2, “Chasing the Light”
2012 Silver Telly Award — Internet/Online Video Series, BTS: A Web Series
2012 Silver Telly Award –Internet/Online Programs, Segments, or Promotional Pieces, “The Great Camera Shootout 2011″
2012 Bronze Telly Award – Internet/Online Programs, Segments, or Promotional Pieces, FilmFellas, a web series: episode 30 “What is Truth”
2012 BCPVA Video Innovation Award – Zacuto: Micro Plasma Light
2012 Videomaker Magazine – Best of NAB Show Award for Best Support, Zacuto: Recoil Stabilizer
2012 Videomaker Magazine — Product of the Year, Zacuto: “EVF Flip”
2012 International Academy of Web Television Television IAWTV nomination — “The Great Camera Shootout 2011″
2011 Emmy Award (midwest chapter), outstanding achievement in interview/discussion program — FilmFellas, a web series: episode 34 “Commitment to the Craft”
2011 Emmy nomination (midwest chapter), outstanding achievement in documentary program — BTS: “Hit the Ground Running”
2011 Emmy nomination (midwest chapter), outstanding achievement in informational programming — “The Great Camera Shootout 2011″
2011 Black Diamond Award — Zacuto: “EVF Flip”
2010 Emmy Award (midwest chapter), outstanding achievement in informational programming — “The Great Camera Shootout 2010″
2010 Emmy nomination (midwest chapter) outstanding achievement in interview/discussion program — FilmFellas, a web series: episode 30 “What is Truth”
2010 AVA Platinum Award — Critics: “Season 2″
2010 AVA Gold Award — FilmFellas Cast 7: “Masters of Non-Fiction”
2010 AVA Platinum Award — “The Great Camera Shootout 2010″
2009 Black Diamond Award — Zacuto: “Zwing Away”
2008 USO Certificate — Donor of the Month
1998 Bronze Telly Award — Jim Beam Brands: “Booker Noe, The Legendary Master Distiller”
1997 Chicago International Film Festival Intercom 2nd prize — Zenith: “The Experience”
1995 Silver Telly Award — Jim Beam Brands: “The American Spirit”
1995 Beverage & Food Dynamics Advertising Award 1st Prize — Jim Beam Brands: “The American Spirit”
1995 Bronze Telly Award — DeKuyper: “Cordials”
1994 Beverage & Food Dynamics Advertising Award Third Place — Jim Beam Brands: “Small Batch Bourbons”
1995 Bronze Telly Award — Firestone: “The Legend Returns”
1994 Bronze Telly Award — “Y-Me”
1993 Beverage & Food Dynamics Advertising Award Second Place — DeKuyper: “Lime Lizard”
1992 Silver Telly Award — “When You Wish Upon A Star”
1992 Chicago International Film Festival Intercom Certificate of Merit — “JBS”
1991 Bronze Telly Award — The Dalmore “The Art of Single Malt Tasting”
1991 AFVA Red Ribbon Award — The Dalmore: “The Art of Single Malt Tasting”
1991 Silver Telly Award — Switzer Boat: “Excellence in Performance”
1990 The New York Festivals Finalist — The Dalmore: “The Art of Single Malt Tasting”
1990 Chicago International Film Festival INTERCOM Certificate of Merit — The Dalmore “The Art of Single Malt Tasting”
1990 The Houston International Film Festival HIFF Bronze Star — The Dalmore “The Art of Single Malt Tasting”
In the summer of 1986 my new producer Rick Shaughnessy and I came up with this idea themed for a clothing line inspired by the African designs and the hit movie “Out of Africa”. This was our fifth video for the clothing company I.B. Diffusion and our most ambitious to date. At the time, Point of Purchase (in-store) videos were a crazy new concept that had not been tested. Today it seems funny, we see TVs in every store. But we actually had to rent the TVs and VCRs for some stores back in 1987. Director & Editor: Steve Weiss, Producer: Rick Shaughnessy, Cinematography: Rana Segal
Steve Weiss IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1836571/
FilmFellas Cast 6: “The DP Edition” will feature an eclectic mix of cinematographers from all spectrums of the independent film scene: Robert Primes, ASC (Thirty Something), Trent Opaloch (District 9), Philip Bloom (If I were Prime Minister) and first time host Jens Bogehegn, Cinematographer/Producer of FilmFellas/critics.
The dynamics of such an award winning cast of major players brings forth lively round table discussions from a unique set of perspectives and diverse points-of-view. FilmFellas Cast 6 covers such topics as: creative freedom; the art of collaboration, maintaining the vision/direction of the film, the challenging DP/Director relationship, and cutting edge “game changers” and techniques in cinematography.
Jens Bogehegn (Cinematographer/Producer of FilmFellas/Critics)
Robert Primes, ASC (Cinematographer)
Trent Opaloch (Cinematographer)
Phillip Bloom (Independent DP and Director)
Check Out Behind the Scenes Images
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