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Blackmagic Day LA – Director/DP Joe Murray & The Blackmagic Cameras

Joe Murray is a veteran, award winning director and director of photography whose career spans decades, having a hand in shooting numerous high profile projects and commercials, such as Star Wars Episode IV and television spots for McDonalds. He was a presenter at the Blackmagic Day event last week, and we stopped to talk with him about his career as well as his recent use of Blackmagic cameras for his recent commercial work.

Murray got his start in the film industry as a telecine artist, transferring motion picture film into video while also building a career as a director of photography, which in turn led to him being asked to direct, giving him the uncommon title of Director/Cinematographer. Along those lines, Murray’s presentation was not only about his work with Blackmagic cameras, but also the process of getting hired for commercial work. He gave a full rundown, from starting with a conference call, to developing a treatment, to pre-production and finally production itself. All the while he stressed the importance of pre-production and the reality that, after all that work, you still may not be hired. Murray also describes how the selection process works now compared to how it was not long ago, and how it can actually be beneficial to your workflow. Finally, he described a bit more of his filmmaking philosophy, such as using “real people” in lieu of actors, such as casting a real taxi driver as a taxi driver.

Then the interview turned toward Blackmagic and Murray’s work with their cameras thus far. We covered his McDonalds commercial spot just a few months back, where he used the Pocket Cinema Camera to great effect. Murray explains that he chose the Pocket camera for its “non-specific but cinematic look”, as well as its small form factor that allowed him to mount it to the front of a motorcycle helmet to get the perspective he wanted for the shot. For those reasons and with only a day’s worth of testing, Murray went ahead and chose the Pocket Cinema Camera for the spot, and was very pleased with the result. Though he does mention that the image was too perfect, something they were able to change in post.

Joe Murray’s talented work spans multiple mediums, and is definitely worth a look for anyone in the industry. You can find out more about him and his work at

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