The Society of Operating Cameramen (SOC) presented Bob Hall the Lifetime Achievement Camera Technician Award on Feb. 21. The award, given the day before the Oscars, was presented by Wally Pfister. Pfister was one of the Academy Awards nominees for cinematography for blockbuster movie The Dark Knight.

“This award was a very meaningful honor for me,” said Hall, “it was given to me by my peers – the people I work with every day.”

The SOC is an honorary organization whose members are working camera operators in the motion picture and television industry – similar to the ASC which is the Directors of Photography. The board of governors of the SOC does the nominating and the general membership does the voting.

According to Hall, a typical American camera crew on a feature consists of a Director of Photography, a Camera Operator and a First Assistant Cameraman (also known as a Camera Technician or a Focus Puller in England), a Second assistant cameraman and a loader. Each additional camera would have an operator, 1st Assistant and a 2nd Assistant.

Hall, as a Camera Technician, has been in the business of keeping things – in particular the actor – in focus for 33 years. “The biggest challenge that I as a camera assistant face,” Hall said, “is keeping the actor in focus, which is basically my entire job. Sometimes the depth of field of focus will be as shallow as one inch.”

A difficult job indeed!

“I must guess from second to second if the actor has moved and adjust the lens accordingly,” Hall continued. “There is no such thing as ‘auto focus’ on movie cameras – either film or digital. Often an actor will be ‘lost’ in his character and will not pay attention to his marks, so it is anybody’s guess where he or she will end up.”

Hall, in an interview on *youtube, said his interest in cinematography began after seeing “Bonnie and Clyde” in 1967. Hall, after graduating from Cushing High School in 1970, attended the University of Oklahoma School of Drama where he earned a degree in Filmmaking. His first job was on the television show “Dallas” which gave him a step up in the industry. Since then he has worked on numerous films including two of his personal favorites, “Memento” and “Sideways,” and this year’s Academy Award winner “The Dark Knight.” When asked what movie he didn’t work on but wished he had, Hall – a rock and roll fan – responded, “The Doors.”

Hall is currently filling in for a friend by working on the popular NBC television series “Heroes,” but is slated to do Chris Nolen’s next film which will begin sometime in the summer. Hall said he enjoys working with Nolen and would do so any chance he gets. However, one director he has yet to work with, but would like to, is another “Oklahoma boy” – Ron Howard.

Hall is the son of Tom Hall of Cushing. He and his wife Karen reside in Woodland Hills, California. They have one daughter Jesse.

*See YouTube video below. (Video credit unknown)

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