New Plymouth-bred Rodney Charters borrowed a wind up Bolex camera from his dad to make stylish short Film Exercise (1966). It helped win the Elam student a place at London's Royal College of Art. After two decades of filming adverts and documentaries globally, he began amassing more than 50 credits in Hollywood. Charters has framed high profile US TV dramas from Dollhouse and the remake of Dynasty, to 24 (for which he was twice Emmy nominated). He also shot Michael Caine robbery movie Going in Style. In 2013 Charters won a Career Achievement in TV Award from the American Society of Cinematographers.
While most people think a director of photography just stands behind a camera, the job is far more complex. During the filming of 24, for example, I directed a huge crew — sometimes numbering as many as 200 technicians. In the long run, the DP is responsible for the final look of the film. Rodney Charters explains what a director of photography does, on website Zacuto
Man. Woman. Motorcycle. Beach. Road. This short film makes clear that Rodney Charters had a certain way with images, long before he got busy shooting television (24, Roswell) in the USA. Charters directed Film Exercise while he was an arts student in Auckland in the 1960s. It helped him win a place at London's Royal College of Art. Favouring music and unusual angles over dialogue, the film celebrates the joys of being young and on the move, while capturing scenes of Auckland nightlife including a Mt Eden party. The La De Da's supply the custom-built soundtrack.