Family & Companions
Southern California native Russell Carpenter became established as a leading TV cinematographer, earning a pair of Emmy Awards for his documentary work in the San Diego area. He segued to the big screen providing sleek visuals for such horror and fantasy outings as "Sole Survivor" (1984), "Lady in White," "Critters 2: The Main Course" and "Cameron's Closet" (all 1988). "The Lawnmower Man" (1992) proved his versatility and was a blend of photography and computer-generated effects that created a simulation of virtual reality. His pyrotechnics on this effort led John Woo to tap him for "Hard Target" (1993). James Cameron utilized the cinematographer's skill for the opulent set pieces in the action-packed "True Lies" (1994). Carpenter faced numerous challenges in shooting the opening chase sequences (a horse in pursuit of a motorcycle through a hotel) and especially the final scenes which featured a Harrier vertical-takeoff plane hovering over a Florida high rise, a missile, a helicopter and a fiery finale.
Carpenter reteamed with Cameron for the short, "Terminator 2 3-D" (1996), which was shown at Universal Studios. Basically a 12-minute set-up for a possible third entry in the film series, "Terminator 2 3-D" allowed the cinematographer to experiment further with simulated realities. That he was so successful using a special camera the weight and size of a refrigerator (for the 3-D effect) proved his capabilities. Carpenter faced another set of obstacles on his third teaming with Cameron on "Titanic" (1997). The director had originally hired Caleb Deschanel, who left the production for personal reasons after about two months of shooting. Once approached, Carpenter had roughly three weeks preparation for this mammoth undertaking. The cinematographer managed to infuse the scenes before the ship's sinking with a politeness and grace that would draw the audience to the main characters. These scenes burst with color while the wraparound segments, set in contemporary times, are dull and gray. The sequences of the ship sinking and its grisly aftermath were also striking. Carpenter received critical praise and accolades, including a Best Cinematography Oscar for his efforts.
Cast (Feature Film)
Cinematography (Feature Film)
Producer (Feature Film)
Film Production - Main (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Shot first film, the low-budget "Sole Survivor"
Did additional photography on "Critters"
"The Lemon Grove Incident", a docudrama produced in San Diego, was aired nationally on PBS
Served as director of photography on "Critters 2: The Main Course"
Shot two films for director Richard C Sarafian, "Solar Crisis" and "Death Warrant"
Was cinematographer for four episodes of the ABC sitcom "The Wonder Years"
Shot the HBO TV-movie remake "Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman"
Served as director of photography on James Cameron's "True Lies"
Was the cinematographer for the short film "Michael Jackson's 'Ghosts'"
Reteamed with Cameron for "Terminator 2 3-D", a 12-minute film shown at Universal Studios
Earned international attention and praise for his work on "Titanic", directed by Cameron; earned Academy Award nomination