Nominated for Camera Operator of the Year by his peers, Geoff Haley helped make Steve Jobs the visually striking drama that’s garnered so much attention this awards season. We spoke with the nominee at this year’s SOC Awards about his work on the film, such as their choice of (3) cameras and their use of Zeiss Master Prime lenses.
In a world obsessed with matching cameras and footage, Haley gave us a bit of insight into the choice to shoot Steve Jobs on three very different cameras. As Haley explains: “The movie takes place in three acts, and we used 16mm for the first act [Steve Jobs’ earlier years of Macintosh], then we used 35mm for the second act [Jobs’ exile from Apple and his struggles to forge ahead with his new company], and then we used Alexa for the third act [Jobs’ is seen victoriously returned to Apple as CEO]… So we used the format to essentially subconsciously give the illusion of passage of time between the different acts. So it was really interesting to have to go from one camera to a completely different format the following week, to a completely different format, just because each one of the formats kind of reminded me of my own career. So I was having this little emotional, nostalgic journey of my own as I was making this film, stepping through theses formats. It was very interesting.”
As a person, Steve Jobs was all about presentation, about that veil of perfection that tied everything together. Haley and the team were looking to capture that feeling with the Alexa/Zeiss Master Prime combo as a way to showcase the third act in which Jobs sees himself reinstated as Apple CEO and is about to launch the company into the future with the iMac. Tie it together with Haley’s swift, purposeful movements, and you have visual storytelling to match that of the award winning script.
Haley himself is a veteran camera operator of 20 years who’s incredible line of camera work includes the likes of American Beauty, The Fighter, American Hustle and many more. Since shooting Steve Jobs, Haley has already worked on a number of other high-profile projects, such as Trumbo and Star Trek Beyond. You can read his very accomplished list of credits on his IMDB page.