#3: [Right] with dir Philip Kaufman - "The Right Stuff" [1982]





Born: 21 September 1944, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, as Joseph Caleb Deschanel.

Education: Johns Hopkins University ['Deschanel exhibited a talent for thinking on his feet during his years at Johns Hopkins, to which he was originally drawn by the sciences. But once on campus, he tended to gravitate toward more artistic and literary pursuits: He was co-editor of Hopkins' News-Letter, a yearbook photographer, and he worked on assignment for a New York-based still photographer. Deschanel was inspired by professors like Richard Macksey, who involved Deschanel and other students in producing a 16mm film for a class, and chaplain emeritus Chester Wickwire, who organized on-campus screenings of art films. He became friends with what he calls a "fringe group" of people at Hopkins, including Walter Murch. Murch was a year ahead of Deschanel at Hopkins. He was among those who encouraged the young photographer to attend the University of Southern California's film school, which solidified Deschanel's career choice.' (Jeanne Johnson)]; School of Cinema-Television of the University of Southern California [USC] [graduated in 1968]; American Film Institute [AFI], Los Angeles [graduated in 1971].

Career: Became c.asst working for doph Gordon Willis. Worked as c.op for Wakefield-Orloff Productions and Paisley Productions. Helped to develop the Steadicam and the Skycam systems. Co-founder of the prod company 'Dark Light Pictures'. He turned his back on cinematography in 1985 ['I stopped shooting features when my kids became too old to take them out of school and on location. So I stopped shooting features for eight years. Commercials gave me an opportunity to use a lot of different tools and techniques. We were doing color correction and things like that in telecine suites long before there were DIs on movies. Directing and shooting 30-second commercials also gives you the discipline to concentrate on what's really important to telling the story. And they only took me away from home for short periods of time.'], but returned to the set in 1993.

Dir and ph music videos and commercials.

Member of the ASC since 1986.

The AFI gave him the honorary degree 'Doctorate of Fine Arts, honoris causa' in June 2008.

His wife Mary Jo [b. 1945] and his daughters Zooey Claire [b. 1980] and Emily Erin [b. 1976] are film actresses.

Appeared in the doc's 'Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography' [1991], 'Realizing "The Right Stuff" [2003, Jeffrey Lerner], 'T-20 Years and Counting' [2003, Jeffrey Lerner], 'The Making of "The Passion of the Christ" [2003; Holly McClure; ph: David Minasian & Stephen Petty], 'Who Needs Sleep?' [2005, Haskell Wexler & Lisa Leeman] & 'Cinematographer Style' [2005, Jon Fauer; ph: J. Fauer, Jeff Laszlo, Brian Heller & David Morgan].

Awards: As doph: NSFC Award [1980] for 'Being There'; LAFCA Award [1979], NSFC Award [1980], BSC Award nom [1980] & BAFTA Film Award [1981] for 'The Black Stallion'; 'Oscar' AA nom [1983] for 'The Right Stuff'; 'Oscar' AA nom [1984] for 'The Natural'; 'Oscar' AA nom [1996] & ASC Film Award nom [1997] for 'Fly Away Home'; 'Oscar' AA nom [2000] & ASC Film Award [2000] for 'The Patriot'; 'Oscar' AA nom [2004] & ASC Film Award nom [2004] for 'The Passion of the Christ'; ASC Lifetime Achievement Award [2009].

As dir: Berlin IFF 'Silver Bear' [1976] for 'Trains'.



Rodeo [Carroll Ballard] c; doc/20m; cph: Stephen Burum & Joe Ravetz; restored in 2011


Lanton Mills [Terrence Malick] c; short/12m


Pursuit of Treasure [Stanton Kaye] scope/c; addph; ph: Bedrich Batka


THX 1138 [George Lucas] ts/c; addph; ph: Albert Kihn & David Myers; also director's cut (2004); started as a short film made at USC


Angels Hard as They Come/Rolling Thunder/Angel Warriors [Joe Viola] c; addph; ph: Stephen M. Katz


A Woman Under the Influence [John Cassavetes] b&w; addph (started the film); ph (in charge of lighting): Mitchell Breit


Trains [Caleb Deschanel] c; doc/15m; + scrpl


Apocalypse Now [Francis Ford Coppola] tvi/c; 153m; insert ph; ph: Vittorio Storaro; see 2001




The Black Stallion [Carroll Ballard] c; 2uc: Stephen Burum; addph (+ ed): Robert Dalva


More American Graffiti/Purple Haze [B.W.L. Norton] p/c


Being There/Chance [Hal Ashby] c


Time Is on Our Side/Let's Spend the Night Together [Hal Ashby] c; doc/91m; cph: Gerald Feil; filmed November & December


The Black Stallion Returns [Robert Dalva] c; co-addph; ph: Carlo Di Palma


"The Right Stuff" - photo Thys Ockersen Archive



The Right Stuff [Philip Kaufman] c; efx ph: John Fante, William Neil, Karl Herrmann, a.o.; aph: Art Scholl, Jim Beebe, a.o.


The Natural [Barry Levinson] c


The Slugger's Wife [Hal Ashby] c


The Two Jakes [Robert Towne] shut down after several days of filming; dir in April-July 1989 by Jack Nicholson and ph by Vilmos Zsigmond


50 Years of Action! [Douglass M. Stewart Jr.] 16mm/c; doc/60m; cph: John Alonzo & Charles Clifton; addph: James Mathers; for Directors Guild of America


It Could Happen To You/Cop Tips Waitress $2 Million [Andrew Bergman] c


Fly Away Home/Father Goose/Flying Wild [Carroll Ballard] c; 2uc: Gary Capo


Titanic [James Cameron] s35/c; was 1st unit doph, but was replaced after the Halifax shoot by Russell Carpenter; cred with Halifax ph; ph: Russell Carpenter


Hope Floats [Forest Whitaker] c


Message in a Bottle [Luis Mandoki] p/c; 2uc (+ 2ud): Gary Capo; + small part


The Haunting/The Legend of Hill House [Jan de Bont] started shooting, but was replaced by Karl Walter Lindenlaub after one week


Anna and the King [Andy Tennant] p/c; 2uc: Steven Arnold; vfx ph: Tony Cutrono; pyrotechnics ph: Ross Emery; animal ph: M. Jin Woo


"The Patriot"



The Patriot [Roland Emmerich] s35/c; 2uc: Ueli Steiger & Mark Vargo; miniature ph: Britta Mangold


The Hunted [William Friedkin] c; aph: John Trapman; vfx ph: Martin Rosenberg; replaced doph William Fraker; filmed 2001-02


Apocalypse Now Redux [Francis Ford Coppola] re-edited & restored version/203m; see 1976


Timeline [Richard Donner] s35/c; 2uc: Thomas Burstyn & Vilmos Zsigmond; aph: John Trapman


The Passion of the Christ [Mel Gibson] p/c; efx ph: Mark Weingartner; filmed 2002-03


National Treasure [Jon Turteltaub] s35/c; ph New York: Mitch Amundsen; 2uc: Eric Engler; legend seq ph: Daniel Pearl; aph: Michael Kelem (Utah) & David B. Nowell


Ask the Dust [Robert Towne] c; spph: Stephen Vaughan


Killshot [John Madden] s35/c; splinter unit ph: Doug Lawrence; Wescam ph: John Trapman


"The Spiderwick Chronicles"



The Spiderwick Chronicles [Mark Waters] s35 (+ IMAX-70bu)/c; aph: Hans Bjerno


My Sister's Keeper [Nick Cassavetes] p+s8-to-p/c; 2uc: Giorgio Scali; aph: Brian Heller


Dream House [Jim Sheridan] s35 (+ D-Cinema)/c; 2uc: Petr Hlinomaz


Killer Joe [William Friedkin] HD (ARRI ALEXA)-to-35mm (+ D-Cinema)/c


Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter [Timur Bekmambetov] s35+HD (ARRI ALEXA + Phantom HD)-to-35mm scope (+ D-Cinema [also 3-D version])/c; 2uc: Giorgio Scali; vfx ph: Mark Weingartner


Jack Reacher/One Shot [Christopher McQuarrie] p (+ D-Cinema)/c; 2uc: Brad Shield; aph 2u: John Trapman; filmed 2011-12


Gangster Squad [Ruben Fleischer] HD (ARRI ALEXA Studio/p)-to-35mm scope (+ D-Cinema)/c; addph (reshoots in August; D. Beebe was unavailable because he was prepping his next film); ph: Dion Beebe


Winter's Tale [Akiva Goldsman] HD (ARRI ALEXA Plus/p)-to-35mm scope (+ D-Cinema)/c; 2uc: Gary Capo; aph: Brian Heller; filmed 2012-13


Rules Don't Apply [Warren Beatty] HD (ARRI ALEXA XT)-to-digital/c


Unforgettable [Denise Di Novi (replaced Amma Asante)] HD-to-digital/c; 2uc: Giorgio Scali


Werk ohne Autor [Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck] HD (ARRI ALEXA XT)-to-digital/c


The Lion King [Jon Favreau] HD/c; anim (CGI) + live-action/?m




Trains [+ scrpl/ph] see Films


The Escape Artist [feature] ph: Stephen H. Burum


Crusoe [feature] ph: Tomislav Pinter


Twin Peaks [ep #7 'Realization Time'] 30-part tv-series, 1990-91 (followed by 3rd season [18 ep] in 2017); 1st season, 1990 (8 ep); ph: Frank Byers


Twin Peaks [ep #15 'Lonely Souls' & #19 'Masked Ball'] 2nd season, 1990-91 (22 ep); ph: Frank Byers


Clapton Chronicles: The Best of Eric Clapton [co-dir: Lili Fini Zanuck; v/c/60m]


Law & Order: Trial by Jury [ep #2 '41 Shots', #7 'Bang & Blame' & #11 'Day' (crossover ep of 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit')] 13-part tv-series, 2005 (#13 aired in 2006); ph: John Thomas


Conviction [ep #5 'Savasana' & #6 'Madness'] 13-part tv-series, 2006; ph: John Thomas


Bones [ep #42 'The Glowing Bones in 'The Old Stone House"] 246-part tv-series, 2005-17; 2nd season, 2006-07; ph: Gordon Lonsdale


The Robbery of Ellie May [feature] pre-production; status unknown




Bill Graham Presents 'Concert New Years Eve'/New Year Bash [pop concert at the Fillmore Scene at Winterland, Post & Steiner Street, San Francisco, 1966-67] lighting


Personal Best [Robert Towne] special thanks; ph: Michael Chapman