1970’s Steve Weiss began his creative journey at an early age. His dad taught him photography and they shot Super 8 movies together.
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 started his production company 1st Generation Film/Video.
1984 Steve had an idea of creating point of purchase (POP) fashion videos that would play in department stores in an attempt to bring the fashion to life. This had never been done before. To sell the concept, Steve had to actually rent the monitors and VCR’s to play his new fashion videos, (actually shot on film) since no stores had TV's at the time. Steve attracted forward-thinking companies like I.B. Diffusion, Hartmarx, Christian Dior, Spiegel, Zenith, and others with in-store POP videos and multi-image slide shows for sales staff training.
1990’s Never afraid of new technology Steve, along with his DP Jens Bogehegn and editor Lucyna Wojtas, were among the first to use Hi-8 video, Betacam, Steadicam JR, mini dv, non-linear editing, DVD authoring, HD cameras, HD-DSLR and large sensor digital cameras. After building 1st Generation into a successful production company, Steve sold it to move on to other endeavors. Slide show of behind the scenes images 1982 - present.
2000 Steve and Jens formed Zacuto, watch "Zacuto Story." From the beginning, the focus was on renting Super 16mm film packages but quickly shifted to the new Panasonic Varicam HD 24p cameras, which were recently introduced to the market.
2005 When Panasonic released the HVX200, Steve and Jens realized that in order to make these cameras ergonomic and useful tools to shoot indie films they would need to create some new products. Zacuto USA was born with a baseplate, shoulder pad, handgrips, articulating arms, power systems and more. “We just weren't able to find the products to do the things that were needed for these new cameras. Originally we made the products to support our rental department, but soon people started asking us if they could buy our products and that's how Zacuto USA was born.” said Steve. Zacuto introduced new concepts to the market. Some have been subsequently adopted by other manufacturers and are now the industry standard. Concepts like ‘Quick Release’ components that can be attached without using screws and ‘Universal’ products that are adjustable for all cameras. Zacuto also created devices to attach to the rods coming out of the back of the baseplate for shoulder mounting and counterbalance. Zacuto products are made exclusively in the United States and have a lifetime warranty even for accidental customer breakage.
2008 Coming full circle, Steve and Jens created one the first long-running web series, “FilmFellas” which first aired in December 2008. “FilmFellas” offers viewers a behind the scenes peek into the minds of influential and emerging filmmakers. “FilmFellas,” had eight individual casts, 40 webisodes and won a Midwest Emmy Award in 2011 for outstanding achievement in interview/discussion programming. The winning webisode #34, “Commitment to the Craft featured Rodney Charters ASC CSC, Nancy Schreiber ASC and Stephen Goldblatt ASC BSC.
2009 Steve and Jens launched their second web series, “Critics”. This show, co-hosted by Steve and Philip Bloom, candidly critiques web-based video content. “Critics” offers an eclectic mix of personalities, perspectives and laughter.
2010 Assembling a world-wide cast of influential filmmakers and screened at 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 three webisodes of “The Great Camera Shootout” web series have had more than two million views and won a Midwest Emmy Award in 2010 for Outstanding Achievement in Informational Programming.
2011 “bts: A Web Series” is a documentary about making documentaries and was launched in March 2011. The Emmy-nominated web series follows director T.C. Johnstone, producer Greg Kwedar and other crew members as they documented their journey in the making of “Rising From Ashes.” In Steve’s largest production to date, crediting more than 750 people and also Emmy-nominated, “The Great Camera Shootout 2011” was a three-part documentary about the Single Chip Camera Evaluation, a camera test administered by Robert Primes ASC.
2012 The controversial “Revenge of the Great Camera Shootout 2012” posed the question whether talent can supersede technology, which resulted in much international debate. It also won Steve his third Emmy Award.
2013 "Light & Shadow," a documentary produced and directed by Steve delves into the creativity and passion of more than 30 of the most legendary cinematographers of our time. "Light & Shadow" was honored with four Emmy nominations and Steves' fourth and fifth Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Programming and Directing.
2016 Zacuto's line of Gratical Micro OLED EVFs have received worldwide industry attention and accolades. The 2016 Gratical Eye is currently considered the smallest and finest Micro OLED EVF on the market. After taking a two year production hiatus, Jens and Steve released a short short documentary, "Cole Soul". The story of singer/songwriter Brad Cole who like many of us in the film industry, had to decide between making money or making art. Brad chose the road less traveled and it made all the difference.
2018 Zacuto introduces the Kamaleon micro-oled 1080p universal EVF and it becomes an immediate best seller and standard in the industry. Zacuto Studios starts broadcasting “Zacuto Live”, which premiered May 24th on YouTube and FaceBook. Starting in September two new sets were constructed for their talk show style interactive programming with on-set hosts and off-set SKYPE guests.
2019 Zacuto introduces its new ACT line of camera accessories for the Mirrorless camera market.
2020 Zacuto branches out and begins creating several medical and consumer products, as well as an iPhone App.
Steve has been shooting, photographing, directing, producing, editing, renting and inventing products in film, video and photography since 1983. Both Steve and Jens have created more than 500 Zacuto camera accessories which are sold through their worldwide dealer network. They have worked together as business partners, director/cinematographer and friends since 1986, creating in both film and video over 800 commercial, corporate and fashion videos as well as seven web series, documentaries and dozens of livestream shows.
- BRONZE TELLY AWARD: "Cole Soul"
- NEWBAY MEDIA BEST OF NAB SHOW AWARD: Gratical Eye Micro-OLED EVF
- NEWS-SHOOTER BEST ACCESSORY FOR PRO VIDEO CAMERAS: Gratical Eye Micro-OLED EVF
- CINE GEAR TECHNICAL AWARD: Gratical Eye Micro-OLED EVF
- SILVER TELLY AWARD: Internet/Online Programs, Segments, or Promotional Pieces - Motivational "Light & Shadow"
- SILVER TELLY AWARD: Internet/Online Video - Documentary "Light & Shadow"
- BRONZE TELLY AWARD: Internet/Online Programs, Segments, or Promotional Pieces - Documentary "Light & Shadow"
- BRONZE TELLY AWARD: Internet/Online Video - Entertainment "Light & Shadow"
- ASC ASSOCIATE MEMBERSHIP FOR BOTH STEVE AND JENS
- EMMY AWARD (MIDWEST CHAPTER): Outstanding Achievement Documentary Programming: "Light & Shadow"
- EMMY AWARD (MIDWEST CHAPTER): Outstanding Achievement in Directing: "Light and Shadow”
- 17TH ANNUAL WEBBY AWARD: 2013 Official Honoree, Documentary Series: Revenge of the Great Camera Shootout 2012
- BRONZE TELLY AWARD: Internet/Online Programs: Revenge of The Great Camera Shootout 2012
- EMMY AWARD (MIDWEST CHAPTER): Outstanding Achievement in Informational Programming: Revenge of The Great Camera Shootout 2012: Episode 1, “Starting with Darkness”
- EMMY NOMINATION (MIDWEST CHAPTER): Outstanding Achievement in Documentary Program: BTS: A Web Series: Webisode 2, “Chasing the Light”
- EMMY NOMINATION (MIDWEST CHAPTER): Outstanding Craft Achievement, Director of Editing: BTS: A Web Series: Webisode 2, “Chasing the Light”
- INTERNATIONAL ACADEMY OF WEB TELEVISION IAWTV NOMINATION: The Great Camera Shootout 2011
- BCPVA VIDEO INNOVATION AWARD: Zacuto: Micro PlaZma Light
- VIDEOMAKER MAGAZINE: Best of NAB Show Award for Best Support, Zacuto: Recoil Stabilizer
- VIDEOMAKER MAGAZINE: Product of the Year: Zacuto “EVF Flip”
- HOUSTON WORLDFEST: REMI PLATINUM AWARD: Revenge of the Great Camera Shootout
- HOUSTON WORLDFEST: REMI GOLD AWARD: BTS: A Web Series
- INTERCOM: SILVER PLAQUE AWARD: Chicago International Film Festival for Web Series Independent: BTS: A Web Series
- SILVER TELLY AWARD: Internet/Online Video Series: BTS: A Web Series
- SILVER TELLY AWARD: Internet/Online Programs, Segments, or Promotional Pieces: The Great Camera Shootout 2011
- BRONZE TELLY AWARD Internet/Online Programs, Segments, or Promotional Pieces: FilmFellas, A Web Series: Episode 30, “What is Truth”
- EMMY AWARD (MIDWEST CHAPTER): Outstanding Achievement in Interview/Discussion: Film Fellas, A Web Series: Episode 34, “Commitment to the Craft”
- EMMY NOMINATION (MIDWEST CHAPTER): Outstanding Achievement in Documentary Program: BTS: A Web Series: Webisode 1, “Hit the Ground Running”
- EMMY NOMINATION (MIDWEST CHAPTER): Outstanding Achievement in Informational Programming: The Great Camera Shootout
- BLACK DIAMOND AWARD: Zacuto “EVF Flip”
- EMMY AWARD (MIDWEST CHAPTER): Outstanding Achievement in Informational Programming: The Great Camera Shootout
- EMMY NOMINATION (MIDWEST CHAPTER): Outstanding Achievement in Interview/Discussion Program: FilmFellas, A Web Series: Episode 30, “What is Truth”
- AVA PLATINUM AWARD: Critics: Season 2
- AVA PLATINUM AWARD: The Great Camera Shootout 2010
- AVA GOLD AWARD: FilmFellas Cast 7 “Masters of Non-Fiction”
- BLACK DIAMOND AWARD: Zacuto “Zwing Away”
- BRONZE TELLY AWARD: Jim Beam Brands: “Booker Noe, The Legendary Master Distiller”
- CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL INTERCOM SECOND PRIZE: Zenith: “The Experience”
- BEVERAGE & FOOD DYNAMICS ADVERTISING AWARD 1ST PRIZE: Jim Beam Brands: “The American Spirit”
- SILVER TELLY AWARD: Jim Beam Brands: “The American Spirit”
- BRONZE TELLY AWARD: DeKuyper: “Cordials”
- BEVERAGE & FOOD DYNAMICS ADVERTISING AWARD THIRD PLACE: Jim Beam Brands: “Small Batch Bourbons”
- BRONZE TELLY AWARD: Firestone: “The Legend Returns”
- BRONZE TELLY AWARD: “Y-Me”
- BEVERAGE & FOOD DYNAMICS ADVERTISING AWARD SECOND PLACE: DeKuyper: “Lime Lizard”
- SILVER TELLY AWARD: “When You Wish Upon A Star”
- CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL INTERCOM CERTIFICATE OF MERIT: “JBS”
- AFVA RED RIBBON AWARD: The Dalmore: “The Art of Single Malt Tasting”
- BRONZE TELLY AWARD: The Dalmore “The Art of Single Malt Tasting”
- SILVER TELLY AWARD: Switzer Boat: “Excellence in Performance”
- THE NEW YORK FESTIVALS FINALIST: The Dalmore: “The Art of Single Malt Tasting”
- CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL INTERCOM CERTIFICATE OF MERIT: The Dalmore “The Art of Single Malt Tasting”
- THE HOUSTON INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL HIFF BRONZE STAR: The Dalmore “The Art of Single Malt Tasting”