FROM ANCIENT GREECE to the 1940s, from the supernatural to superheroes and CGI to the British Secret Service, Jay Maidment has seen and shot it all. Whether from atop of a glacier, in the depths of the Highlands or Shepperton Studios, Jay has to rise to the challenge and capture the action, emotion and memorable moments that entice us to the big screen. It s no mean feat: working on big-budget blockbusters with bigger expectations, scrambling for shots without overstepping boundaries, and reacting to one-shot wonders with technical precision is all in a day s work.

Making the ambitious transition from Granada TV sitcoms into film was a simple case of right place, right time. "My big in came from a meeting with stills photographer Keith Hamshere, primary photographer on several James Bond films. I was interviewed as a second unit photographer for Tomorrow Never Dies, but ended up getting his job when he left early to work with George Lucas on Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. I was thrown into the deep end. My first day was a fight scene with glass smashing, special efects going off and Pierce Brosnan getting thrown through a window. It was very nerve-racking: TV sitcoms are not quite in the same league," says Jay. Apart from the faster pace and vast numbers of crew and cameras to contend with, the main difference between TV and film are the styles of stills: for TV tend to be staged, whereas for films, you have to capture them when the cameras are rolling as nine times out of ten you won t get the same performance from the actors. And that s what you re there for: you need to convey the feel of the film that they re trying to market. Occasionally you can ask to set up a shot if it s a key plot point and difficult to get due to the location, but even then you ll only get 20-30 seconds before the crew want to move the schedule on. While we re an integral part of marketing the film, wenot an integral part of making it. Our role is

to capture stills as quickly and discreetly as possible. The great thing about being in a film crew, though, is everyone has a specific job to do, but theyall help you do yours.

 integral part

It s important as you ll quite literally have to be under a cameraman s armpit sometimes to get a photograph."

Jay relies on his Nikon D3s, D700 and fast zooms like the 24-70mm and 70-200mm f/2.8 for their versatility and low-light capabilities when shooting movies: "Sometimes you find yourself cramped in a room with minimal lighting and your bag is outside. Changing lenses isn t an option and if you don t have a zoom, you might miss a moment or an off-set picture because you don t have the reach."

The images Jay takes are used  or a broad range of marketing material, from posters to DVD covers, to press kits and product placements. Behind-the-scenes images of the director at work, for instance, would be used for editorial coverage of the film in the likes of American Cinematographer magazine. Wh le he concentrates on grabbing cast portraits and behind-the-scene images, occasionally his stills will be used for posters, but unlike the days of old Hollywood, the studio tends to bring in a big name to photograph the stars on set or against a grey

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