#1: From interview [SOC, 2014]

#3: c.1988

 

   


J. MICHAEL MURO

 

Born: 1967, Queens, New York City, N.Y., USA, as James Michael Muro. Also cred as James or Jim Muro.

Education: School of Visual Arts, New York City.

Career: Married to hairstylist & still ph Tamara Guthrie.

Awards: BAFTA Film Award nom [2005] for 'Crash'; SOC 'Historical Shot' Award [2014] for 'The Mighty Quinn'.


'Open Range' [2002] marks James Muro's debut as a doph. He has known director-star Kevin Costner since working as a c.op on 'Field of Dreams' and 'Dances With Wolves', and credits Costner with taking a chance on him as a tyro doph. Muro persuaded Costner to use several approaches he was not used to - high-definition dailies and a digital intermediate [DI]. 'Those decisions were very important to the overall look of the piece, particularly since our budget and our shooting time were both limited,' says Muro. 'We shot the movie keeping the capabilities of the DI in mind, knowing full well what could be enhanced or refined later, and what couldn't. We also used an HD dailies system. I was able to communicate with our colorist using digital still photos that I shot myself and color-corrected using Photoshop on a Macintosh computer. That provided the dailies colorist with a tangible template of what we were looking for, and it also let us conform and preview a high-definition version of the entire movie to large audiences during the test-screening phase.'

'Kevin Costner wasn't exactly itching to do a digital intermediate on his new film - 'Open Range' - when the project got underway last year. He didn't even know, or care, what exactly a digital intermediate was. Costner says he deferred the decision about whether to use the process to Muro. 'First of all, it obviously helped my DP in lots of ways, and if Jimmy says it helped him make the film look the way it does, as someone who is not highly technical, I have to respect that, and that is why I went with the process to begin with. Second, I was seriously interested in shooting this film in HD originally - I've been thinking about it since 'The Postman'. The reason for that is, on both films, I had this desire to make skies different colors, play with other things. For both films, I chickened out when it comes to shooting HD, but Jimmy felt we could achieve most of those goals using this process. It also allowed us to work faster. We had very short nights up in Canada and a couple of key scenes at dawn. We were looking at five-hour workdays in the evening. If I didn't get the ultimate dawn when shooting, then the ability to do final manipulation on those shots obviously made a big difference because we didn't have the luxury of staying up there until we had the perfect sky.' Muro believes he and Costner probably could have achieved the same combination of raw, gritty, dark rain sequences, wind-swept prairie shots, and painterly skies without resorting to a digital intermediate, but he insists the grueling shoot in Canada made the process a more practical choice and gave him more flexibility during production.

'I felt I could make the sky better, get away with modest light in some places, and work faster overall on set, which was important because our nights were short, we had scenes at dawn, and we did not have unlimited time or money to light the piece,” says Muro. 'But probably the biggest value we got with the digital intermediate was the ability to selectively frame the film here and there, and shoot Super 35 with confidence that a digital extraction would turn out better than an optical blowup, letting us recompose shots during color-timing if necessary. I really feel the digital intermediate process has eliminated the reason many filmmakers have for staying away from Super 35 - the complexities of the optical blowup. More people are shooting Super 35 now than ever before because this process renders that problem moot.'

Cinesite, Hollywood, scanned the film's original Super 35mm negative to an array of hard drives with a combination of Philips' Spirit and Lightning II scanners. Colorist Marc Wielage says the entire negative was scanned full-aperture at 2048×1556, using Cinesite's proprietary one-light settings to retain highlight and lowlight details. The digital files were then pushed through a Philips Virtual Datacine, where each scene was confirmed and matched frame-by-frame to offline HD cassettes. Wielage then color-timed 'Open Range' on a Pandora Pogle Platinum MegaDef system, using proprietary Kodak look-up tables [LUTs].

The nature of the location shoot and the project's budget required filmmakers to use HD dailies. The movie was shot mainly near Calgary, Alberta, making it cost-prohibitive to produce and transport film dailies on a timely basis. Instead, film was sent to Toybox, Vancouver, which transferred the Super 35mm film images to HD, relying on digital still photos shot by Muro as a primary color guide. Toybox sent the HD dailies tape back to Muro and Costner on location the next day, where the production team viewed them on a HD monitor.

Those same HD daily tapes, however, were also used during the post phase to serve as the foundation for a rough and beautiful HD master of the entire film, according to Muro. That HD version - essentially a conformed, online version of the movie in HD - was built by colorist Greg Hamlin at LaserPacific, Hollywood, after production and offline editing and before the digital intermediate phase began at Cinesite. The primary purpose of the HD version was to permit filmmakers to screen the film cost-effectively for test audiences and, later, for an early digital screening at the Cannes Film Festival. [From article 'Riding the Digital Range' by Michael Goldman on the millimeter.com website, 2003.]


 

 FILMS

 

[Right/on Chapman crane] with Kevin Costner [water bottle] - "Open Range"

 

2002

Open Range [Kevin Costner] s35/c; vfx ph: Cameron MacDonald; see above

2003

Crash [Paul Haggis] s35/c; addph: Dana Gonzales; aph: Dylan M. Gross; + Steadicam op

2004

Roll Bounce [Malcolm D. Lee] s35/c

2004

The Shaggy Dog [Brian Robbins] s35/c; 2uc; ph: Gabriel Beristáin

2005

Flicka [Michael Mayer] s35/c; 2uc: Dana Gonzales; aph: David B. Nowell

2005

Miami Vice [Michael Mann] HD (Sony F900 + Thomson Viper)+s35-to-35mm scope/c; 2uc (+ c.op 'c' cam); ph: Dion Beebe

2005

X-Men - The Last Stand/X-Men 3 [Brett Ratner] s35/c; addph (+ c.op 'a' cam/Steadicam op); ph: Dante Spinotti

2006

The Last Mimzy [Robert Shaye] s35/c; addph: Dana Gonzales; aph: Hans Bjerno

2006

Rush Hour 3 [Brett Ratner] p (+ D-Cinema)/c; + uncred c.op/Steadicam op; 2uc: Dana Gonzales & Igor Meglic; 2uc Paris: Peter Lyons Collister; vfx ph: Mark H. Weingartner; Paris plate unit ph: Tony Cutrono

2007

Traitor [Jeffrey Nachmanoff] s35/c; aph: Kurt Soderling

2008

Cirque du Freak - The Vampire's Assistant [Paul Weitz] s35/c; 2uc: Dana Gonzales; vfx superv: Todd Shifflett

2008

Dear John [Lasse Hallström] s35 (+ D-Cinema)/c; 2uc; ph: Terry Stacey

2010

What's Your Number? [Mark Mylod] s35-to-35mm (+ D-Cinema)/c

2011

Parker [Taylor Hackford] RED Epic/Hawk Scope-to-35mm scope (+ D-Cinema)/c; 2uc: Cameron Duncan; insert ph reshoot units: Dana Gonzales; aph Florida: Patrick Longman

2015

The Book of Love/The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea [Bill Purple] HD/c; + c.op 'a' cam/Steadicam op; addph: Cameron Duncan; aph: Phil Pastuhov

2015

Billionaire Boys Club [James Cox] RED Epic Dragon/c; filmed 2015-16

 

 TELEVISION

2006

The Black Donnellys [pilot dir by Paul Haggis] 13-part series, 2007 (+ 1 web-only special)

 

[Center] with dir Christopher Chulack [right] & 2uc Dana Gonzales [left]

"Southland"

 

2008

Southland/Police [ep #1 'Unknown Trouble' dir by Christopher Chulack + 6 ep dir by various] 43-part series/RED, 2009-13; 1st season, 2009 (7 ep); 2uc: Dana Gonzales

2009

Southland [ep #8 'Phase Three' dir by Christopher Chulack] 2nd season, 2010; other ph: Dana Gonzales; see 2008

2010

Detroit 1-8-7 [pilot (shot with RED One) 'Pharmacy Double/Bullet Train' dir by Jeffrey Nachmanoff] 18-part series, 2010-11; other ph: Lisa Wiegand

2010

Shameless [pilot dir by Mark Mylod, ep #2 'Frank the Plank' dir by John Wells & #3 'Aunt Ginger' dir by Stephen Hopkins] series, 2011-present; 1st season/RED, 2011; other ph: Rodney Charters

2010

Southland [ep #14 'Let It Snow' dir by Christopher Chulack (CC), #15 'Punching Water' dir by CC, #16 'Discretion' dir by Nelson McCormick, #17 'Code 4' dir by Félix Alcala, #19 'Cop or Not' dir by J. Michael Muro (JMM), #20 'Sideways' dir by Allison Anders, #22 'Failure Drill' dir by JMM & #23 'Graduation Day' dir by CC] 3rd season, 2011; other ph: Todd A. Dos Reis & Dana Gonzales; see 2008

2011

Southland [ep #24 'Wednesday' dir by Christopher Chulack (CC), #25 'Underwater' dir by Nelson McCormick, #26 'Community' dir by Félix Alcala, #28 'Legacy' dir by J. Michael Muro (JMM), #29 'Integrity Check' dir by CC, #30 'Fallout' dir by Allison Anders, #32 'Risk' dir by JMM & #33 'Thursday' dir by CC] 4th season, 2012; other ph: Cameron Duncan & Dana Gonzales; see 2008

2011

Longmire [pilot dir by Christopher Chulack (CC), #3 'A Damn Shame' dir by CC, #4 'The Cancer' dir by Gwyneth Horder-Payton, #6 'The Worst Kind of Hunter' dir by Peter Weller & #10 'Unfinished Business' dir by Nelson McCormick] series/RED One MX & Epic, 2012-present; 1st season, 2012 (10 ep); other ph: Cameron Duncan (4 ep) & Todd Dos Reis (1 ep)

2012

Southland [ep #34 'Hats and Bats' dir by Christopher Chulack (CC), #36 'Babel' dir by J. Michael Muro (JMM), #40 'Heroes' dir by JMM & #43 'Reckoning' dir by CC] 5th season, 2013; see 2008

2012

Longmire [ep #12 'Carcasses' dir by Lodge Kerrigan, #18 'The Great Spirit' dir by Christopher Chulack & #22 'A Good Death Is Hard to Find' dir by Kari Skogland] 2nd season, 2013 (13 ep); see 2011

2013

Longmire [ep #27 'In the Pines' dir by Gwyneth Horder-Payton, #29 'Reports of My Death' dir by Christopher Chulack & #33 'Ashes to Ashes' dir by Michael Offer] 3rd season, 2014 (10 ep); see 2011

2014

The Brink [6 ep dir by various] 10-part series/HD, 2015; 2uc: Brook Willard; other ph: Todd Dos Reis; for HBO-tv

2015

Longmire [ep #34 'Down by the River' dir by Christopher Chulack (CC), #36 'High Noon' dir by CC & #40 'Highway Robbery' dir by Michael Offer] 4tn season, 2015 (10 ep); see 2011

2016

Longmire [ep #44 'A Fog That Won't Lift' dir by David Boyd, #46 'Chrysalis' dir by Adam Bluming & #50 'From This Day Forward' dir by T.J. Scott] 5th season, 2016 (10 ep); see 2011

 

 FILMS & TELEVISION AS C.OP AND/OR STEADICAM OPERATOR

1985

Spookies/Twisted Souls [Eugenie Joseph; Thomas Doran & Brendan Faulkner (dir unfinished film 'Twisted Souls')] Steadicam op; ph: Ken Kelsch & Robert Chappell

1986

Forever, Lulu/Crazy Streets/Für immer Lulu [Amos Kollek] Steadicam op; ph: Lisa Rinzler

1986

Street Trash [J. Michael Muro] Steadicam op; ph: David Sperling

1986

The Squeeze [Roger Young] Steadicam op; ph: Arthur Albert

 

"Brain Damage" - photo by Karen Ogle

 

1987

Brain Damage [Frank Henenlotter] Steadicam op; ph: Bruce Torbet

1987

Slime City [Greg Lamberson] Steadicam op; ph: Peter Clark

1987

Maniac Cop [William Lustig] Steadicam op (New York Unit); ph: Vincent J. Rabe

1987

Criminal Law [Martin Campbell] co-Steadicam op; ph: Philip Méheux

1987

Love or Money/For Love or Money [Todd Hallowell] Steadicam op; ph: Igor Sunara

1988

The Mighty Quinn/Big Bad Man [Carl Schenkel] Steadicam op; ph: Jacques Steyn

1988

Field of Dreams [Phil Alden Robinson] Panaglide op; ph: John W. Lindley & Ricky Bravo

1988

The Abyss [James Cameron] Steadicam op; ph: Mikael Salomon

1988

The Kill-Off [Maggie Greenwald] Steadicam op; ph: Declan Quinn

1989

The Debbie Allen Special [Debbie Allen; tv-special] Steadicam op; ph: Robert Collins

1989

The Houseguest [Franz Harland; short] add Steadicam op; ph: Igor Sunara

1989

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan [Rob Hedden] 2u Steadicam op; ph: Bryan England

1989

Dimenticare Palermo/The Palermo Connection/To Forget Palermo [Francesco Rosi] Steadicam op; ph: Pasqualino De Santis

1989

Beware: Children at Play [Mik Cribben] Steadicam op; ph: M. Cribben

1989

Queens Logic [Steve Rash] co-Steadicam op; ph: Amir Mokri

1989

Dances with Wolves [Kevin Costner] c.op + Steadicam op; ph: Dean Semler

1990

Young Guns II [Geoff Murphy] Steadicam op; ph: Dean Semler

1990

Predator 2 [Stephen Hopkins] Steadicam op; ph: Peter Levy

1990

The Doors [Oliver Stone] Steadicam op; ph: Robert Richardson

1990

Point Break [Kathryn Bigelow] Steadicam op; ph: Don Peterman

1990

Terminator 2: Judgment Day [James Cameron] Steadicam op; ph: Adam Greenberg

1991

JFK [Oliver Stone] Steadicam op; ph: Robert Richardson

1991

Thunderheart [Michael Apted] Steadicam op; ph: Roger Deakins

1991

White Sands [Roger Donaldson] co-c.op + Steadicam op; ph: Peter Menzies Jr.

1991

A Few Good Men [Rob Reiner] Steadicam op; ph: Robert Richardson

1991

Sneakers [Phil Alden Robinson] Steadicam op; ph: John W. Lindley

1991

Mr. Jones [Mike Figgis] co-Steadicam op; ph: Juan Ruiz-Anchía

1991

Raising Cain [Brian De Palma] Steadicam op; ph: Stephen H. Burum

1992

Falling Down [Joel Schumacher] c.op + Steadicam op; ph: Andrzej Bartkowiak

1992

Wild Palms [various; tv-miniseries] Steadicam op; ph: Phedon Papamichael

1992

Heaven & Earth [Oliver Stone] c.op + Steadicam op; ph: Robert Richardson

1993

The Beverly Hillbillies [Penelope Spheeris] Steadicam op; ph: Robert Brinkmann

1993

The Getaway [Roger Donaldson] c.op; ph: Peter Menzies Jr.

1993

True Lies [James Cameron] c.op 'b' cam + Steadicam op; ph: Russell Carpenter

1994

Strange Days [Kathryn Bigelow] c.op + Steadicam op; ph: Matthew Leonetti; + small part

1994

How to Make an American Quilt [Jocelyn Moorhouse] Steadicam op; ph: Janusz Kaminski

1994

Casino [Martin Scorsese] Steadicam op; ph: Robert Richardson

1994

Father of the Bride Part II [Charles Shyer] co-Steadicam op; ph: William A. Fraker

1994

Clueless/I Was a Teenage Teenager/No Worries [Amy Heckerling] Steadicam op; ph: Bill Pope

1995

Heat [Michael Mann] Steadicam op + 'b' cam op; ph: Dante Spinotti

1996

My Fellow Americans [Peter Segal] co-Steadicam op; ph: Julio Macat

1996

L.A. Confidential [Curtis Hanson] Steadicam op; ph: Dante Spinotti

1996

Titanic [James Cameron] c.op + Steadicam op; ph: Russell Carpenter

1997

U.S. Marshals [Stuart Baird] c.op 'b' cam + Steadicam op; ph: Andrzej Bartkowiak

1997

The Negotiator [F. Gary Gray] Steadicam op; ph: Russell Carpenter

1997

The Other Sister [Garry Marshall] Steadicam op; ph: Dante Spinotti

1998

The Insider [Michael Mann] c.op 'b' cam + Steadicam op; ph: Dante Spinotti

1998

Sandra Bernhard: I'm Still Here... Damn It! [Marty Callner; tv-special] Steadicam op; ph: Haskell Wexler

1998

Runaway Bride [Garry Marshall] Steadicam op; ph: Stuart Dryburgh

1999

Any Given Sunday [Oliver Stone] c.op 'b' cam + Steadicam op; ph: Salvatore Totino

1999

Gone in Sixty Seconds/Gone in 60 Seconds [Dominic Sena] co-c.op + Steadicam op; ph: Paul Cameron

1999

The Family Man [Brett Ratner] c.op 'b' cam + Steadicam op; ph: Dante Spinotti

1999

Thirteen Days [Which Shocked the World] [Roger Donaldson] c.op 'b' cam (Newport) + Steadicam op (Newport); ph Newport: Gary Capo; ph: Andrzej Bartkowiak

2000

The Fast and the Furious [Rob Cohen] co-c.op; ph: Ericson Core

2000

Swordfish [Dominic Sena] c.op; ph: Paul Cameron

2000

Rush Hour 2 [Brett Ratner] c.op; ph: Matthew Leonetti

2001

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation [ep #33 'Ellie' dir by Charles Correll; tv-series/2nd season] c.op; ph: Michael Barrett

2002

Red Dragon [Brett Ratner] c.op + Steadicam op; ph: Dante Spinotti

2002

X2/X-Men 2 [Bryan Singer] Steadicam op; ph: Newton Thomas Sigel

2002

Crossing Jordan/Medical Examiners [ep #43 'Sunset Division' dir by Allan Arkush; tv-series/2nd season] c.op; ph: John Aronson

2003

The Chronicles of Riddick [David Twohy] co-c.op; ph: Hugh Johnson

2005

Miami Vice [Michael Mann] c.op 'c' cam (+ 2uc); ph: Dion Beebe

2005

X-Men - The Last Stand/X-Men 3 [Brett Ratner] c.op 'a' cam + Steadicam op (+ addph); ph: Dante Spinotti

2006

Rush Hour 3 [Brett Ratner] uncred c.op + Steadicam op; + ph

 

 MISCELLANEOUS [e.g. as director]

1981

Basket Case [Frank Henenlotter] co-asst sound; ph (16mm-35bu): Bruce Torbet

 

 

1986

Street Trash [dir; + story/Steadicam op] ph: David Sperling; reworking (16mm-35bu) of 16mm short film made as a high school student

2003

A Director's Journey: The Making of 'Red Dragon' [Kevin Krakower] co-tech adv; ph: K. Krakower

2009

Southland [dir ep #13 'Maximum Deployment'] tv- series; 2nd season, 2010; ph: Dana Gonzales; see Television (2008)

2010

Southland [dir (+ ph) ep #19 'Cop or Not' & #22 'Failure Drill'] tv- series; 3rd season, 2011; see Television (2008)

2011

Southland [dir (+ ph) ep #28 'Legacy' & #32 'Risk'] tv-series; 4th season, 2012; see Television (2008)

2011

Longmire [dir ep #8 'An Incredibly Beautiful Thing'] tv-series; 1st season, 2012; ph: Todd Dos Reis; see Television (2011)

2012

Shameless [dir ep #29 'The Sins of My Caretaker'] tv-series; 3rd season, 2013; ph: Rodney Charters; see Television (2010)

2012

Southland [dir (+ ph) ep #36 'Babel' & #40 'Heroes'] tv-series; 5th season, 2013; see Television (2008)

2012

Longmire [dir ep #16 'Tell It Slant' & #20 'Election Day'] tv-series; 2nd season, 2013; ph: Dana Gonzales; see Television (2011)

2013

The Red Road [dir ep #2 'The Wolf and the Dog' & #3 'The Woman Who Fell from the Sky'] 12-part tv-series, 2014-15; 1st season, 2014 (6 ep); ph: Ivan Strasburg; for SundanceTV

2013

Longmire [dir ep #25 'Of Children and Travelers' & #31 'Harvest'] tv-series; 3rd season, 2014; ph: Todd Dos Reis (#25) & Dana Gonzales (#31); see Television (2011)

2014

The Brink [dir ep #5 'Swim, Shmuley, Swim'] tv-series, 2015; ph: Todd Dos Reis; see Television (2014)

2015

Longmire [dir ep #38 'Help Wanted' & #42 'Shotgun'] tv-series; 4th season, 2015; ph: Todd Dos Reis; see Television (2011)

2015

Wicked City [dir ep #3 'Should I Stay or Should I Go'] 8-part tv-series, 2015; ph: Dave Perkal

2015

Rush Hour [dir ep #4 'LA Real Estate Boom'] 13-part tv-series/HD, 2016; ph: Marshall Adams

2016

Longmire [dir ep #48 'Pure Peckinpah' & #52 'Continual Soiree'] tv-series; 5th season, 2016; ph: Todd Dos Reis (#48) & Dana Gonzales (#52); see Television (2011)

2016

Outsiders [dir ep #26 'Unbroken Chain'] 26-part tv-series, 2016-17; 2nd season, 2017 (13 ep); ph: Scott Peck

2016

Animal Kingdom [dir ep #13 & #14 (co-dir: Emmy Rossum)] tv-series, 2016-present; 2nd season, 2017; ph: Loren S. Yaconelli

2017

Power [dir ep #32] tv-series/HD (ARRI ALEXA Plus), 2014-present; 4th season, 2017; ph: Hernan Otaño