Why I’m a Filmmaker ~ Kevin Otterness, Cinematographer

Kevin Otterness is a Chicago-based filmmaker and director of photography. He has been working in the film industry for over 25 years. He is principal and founder of POSTHOUSE PICTURES, an independent motion picture company that specializes in services for feature films, documentaries, commercials, music videos and production of original content.

Throughout his career, he has honed his craft to give all of his productions a truly cinematic look with a richness of color and quality composition. That, coupled with his collaborative work style, visionary skill, and overall professionalism allow him to deliver an exceptional product to his clients. Some of the brands he has worked with include Sony Playstation, FOX, CBS, Motorola, Nike, Jeep, Hampton by Hilton, The Second City, MTV, WebMD and Footlocker.

Why I’m a Filmmaker ~ Kevin Otterness, Cinematographer

What was your early training as a filmmaker?

My early training started with working at a local cable station where I learned about lighting, editing, sound and overall production. It’s also where I created a monthly entertainment show called TDTV (Technical Difficulties Television). In doing that show, I learned how to take my vision and bring it to life. Over the years I continued to hone my craft by hands-on experience on sets and learning and using the latest programs and technologies in my field.

Who has had the greatest influence on your work? How?

I just can’t narrow it down to one person. I draw inspiration from a number of different people. For example, I like to incorporate Ridley Scott (Producer & Director) for his overall look and feel that he brings to all his films. Dan Mindel, ASC (Cinematographer) best known for his blockbuster action films for directors like Ridley Scott, Tony Scott, and J.J. Abrams. And, of course, Roger Deakins, ASC (Cinematographer) is a genius when it comes to lighting and composing a shot.

Other influences come from the very people that work right beside me on productions. Everyone is just so talented and has something great to offer in this field and that energy inspires me to be my best at what I do.

Why I'm a Filmmaker ~ Kevin Otterness, Cinematographer from Zacuto

How do you approach a new project?

I approach each new project by asking the director and the producers as many questions as possible to understand exactly what they want from me. Keeping the lines of communication open is key to maintaining a smooth running production.

What’s in your camera bag?

I currently fly with a RED Epic Dragon and a Canon C300 MK1 in my camera bag. My C300 continues to go out to this day and is my workhorse. I also have many different camera accessories in my bag that travel with me from set to set, such as my Zacuto Gratical EVF, which I can use on both of my cameras. I also use the Axis Mini and Zacuto’s VCT Baseplate.

Why I'm a Filmmaker ~ Kevin Otterness, Cinematographer from Zacuto

What practical advice would you give a young cinematographer?

My advice to a young cinematographer is to shoot as much practical on-set as you can. Don’t rely on digital post-production. Real objects, characters, and sets make for more realistic movies.

What’s next for you?

I’m currently in the early stages of pre-production on a commercial for John Deere that is scheduled to shoot in late June 2018. I’m also looking forward to wearing multiple hats and getting back in the director’s chair for a short film that I have been wanting to shoot for some time now.

Why I'm a Filmmaker ~ Kevin Otterness, Cinematographer from Zacuto

Follow Kevin on

Instagram @kevinotterness
Twitter @KevinOtterness


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About the Author

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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