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Featured Filmmaker ~ David Wexler

David Wexler

A New England native, cinematographer David Wexler’s first experiences behind the camera were with his parent’s Super 8 camera. The journey into film began after he discovered the journal American Cinematographer and received encouraging words from a professor who believed David could make a life of this- even when David himself had doubts. This ultimately led him to California to pursue a Masters degree in Cinematography from AFI.

“Lighting was my background coming up into the cinematography ranks,” says Wexler. Hired as a loader and P.A. on the Wes Anderson film Bottle Rocket, David was attracted to working with D.P. Robert Yeoman (Drugstore Cowboy, Rushmore, The Darjeeling Express). This experience helped David choose to pursue cinematography by moving up the ranks in the electrical department. David stresses how important it is to understand what light does in real life situations. David compares cinematography to being a fly on the wall observing people, places, and mood. A cinematographer will notice how the light falls on someone’s face in a coffee shop or the mood it creates.

David is wrapping up production as D.P. on two documentaries. The first being an untitled nutrition documentary and the other, “The Child Dreams,” an international documentary shot on location in Los Angeles and Tel-Aviv, Israel. Working along side D.P. Robert Brinkmann, the two clicked right away. Wexler credits this chemistry to the language of film. “When you know the language of film it’s easier to communicate by sign language or mouthing something than with working with people with zero experience.”

David Wexler quote

Wexler is excited about the technological advancements in digital cinema. “I think the industry is going in the direction of smaller digital-SLR-all-in-one-camera to a certain price point. A high dynamic range and 35 mm depth of field- that’s what everybody wants.” But with smaller formats also come smaller budgets and producers trying to cut corners. “Everything’s getting smaller. If you’re going to replace a format make sure it’s as good or better than the original.” David likes to adapt the smaller cameras to handle and feel like bigger cameras. “Anytime I go handheld on a smaller camera I always bring my Zacuto rig with me.”

The reason why I ultimately picked Zacuto products is because they’re premium and well made. I’m very particular about my gear. If I’m going to buy gear it’s got to be true, tried and tested. It needs to work in the field and have a company that stands by it and Zacuto is certainly that company.” David uses the Zacuto HH Newsman Unit. What does he like best about the products? The ergonomic feel, smooth moves, how the camera holds steady. He adds, “The Zacuto products were integral in what I’m looking to get in terms of quality, and the look and feel of how we approached the two documentaries. Wexler is not only impressed with Zacuto’s products, but finds their web program, FilmFellas, a resource other filmmakers should utilize as well. “Zacuto keeps people abreast on what’s available and new technologies. It’s a worthwhile place for people to go, a worthwhile venue for people to check out.”

David’s words of advice for anyone just getting into the business involve rolling up sleeves and taking the hands on approach to learning. “I think being in the business and working in the business is your film school. Contact people whose work you admire. People are always willing to give advice. Learn by doing.”

“As a D.P. you want to be as versed in as many shooting formats possible and need to be informed.” Bottom line? Get your hands on the equipment.

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Zacuto creates production grade, filmmaking camera accessories. Our gear is made entirely in the USA, designed by filmmakers for filmmakers. It comes with an unparalleled lifetime warranty and our world renowned customer service. Our focus on high-end electronic equipment and universal balanced rigs is the future of Zacuto and the industry. Our iconic red and black gear has a loyal fan base around the globe. From Hollywood cinematographers to indie filmmakers to event shooters, there is only one choice—Zacuto, the industry standard. Zacuto’s original designs free filmmakers to focus on innovation, inspiration, and creativity.

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