American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 84

In Memoriam
Emmy-winning cinematographer Gerald Perry Finnerman, ASC died on April 6 at the age of 79. Finnerman was born on December 17, 1931, in Los Angeles, Calif. His father, Perry Finnerman, also an ASC member, was a contract cinematographer at Warner Bros. who worked on such series as Cheyenne, 77 Sunset Strip, Bronco, Colt .45, Lawman and Maverick. After honing his skills as a combat cameraman, the junior Finnerman joined his father’s crew as a camera assistant. When his father died, in 1960, Finnerman began working with Harry Stradling Sr., ASC. Stradling promoted Finnerman from focus puller to operator, and when Stradling left Warner Bros., in 1964, Finnerman went with him. At Paramount, they worked on the feature How to Murder Your Wife; at Universal, Moment to Moment; and at Columbia, Walk Don’t Run. Finnerman’s allegiance paid off two years later, when Stradling recommended him to Desilu Productions for a new series called Star Trek . Finnerman got the job, thereby becoming one of the youngest cinematographers working in Hollywood. (He was 32.) He drew heavily from lessons he had learned while working with his father and Stradling. “Harry once told me, ‘When you take the lights around so far that it scares people or it scares you, that’s when it looks good,’ and that’s what I used to do [on Star Trek],” Finnerman told AC (Oct. ’94). “I used to take that light way around until I got scared, and then it had dimension. That’s what Star Trek had: dimension.” Charting the galaxy-spanning adventures of the crew of the starship Enterprise, the show was also marked by dynamic dolly moves and a great deal of ingenuity with incamera effects, including forced perspective. “I think much of the look also came from the placement of lights and the use of colored gels,” Finnerman said. “We changed walls from gray to blue to green, depending on the mood and what we wanted to say about that planet. One day we created a purple
84 July 2011

Gerald Perry Finnerman, ASC, 1931-2011
sky. Another day, the same set looked like a hot desert in March. A third day, it was deep blue. We did it with filters and lights. “On a show like Star Trek, you have to push the envelope,” he added. “The result of playing it safe is a diet of pabulum.” of Governors, and as the chair of the Membership, Constitution and Bylaws, and Strictly Social committees. Finnerman continued to shoot series, features and telefilms throughout the ‘70s and into the ‘80s. He earned Emmy nominations for the series Kojak, From Here to Eternity and The Gangster Chronicles , and he won an Emmy for the telefilm Ziegfeld: The Man and His Women. In 1985, he began shooting the first of five seasons of Moonlighting, a series that afforded him even more opportunities for experimentation than Star Trek did — as well as the opportunity to direct. Following the investigations of the Blue Moon Detective Agency, comprising Maddie Hayes (Cybill Shepherd) and David Addison (Bruce Willis), the show consistently played with the tropes of a host of genres. The noirinspired episode “The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice,” for example, was shot in black-and-white. “Working on the production of an episodic TV show entails long, hard hours, and it can be very stressful work,” Finnerman told AC (July’ 86). “If you are going to put yourself through that, you might as well be doing something which you can be proud of.” Finnerman’s efforts on the series were rewarded with two Emmy nominations and two ASC nominations. He served on the Cinematographers Peer Group of the Board of Governors Election Board of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences from 1995-97, and in 1996 he was inducted into the Producers Guild Hall of Fame for his work on Star Trek. In 2002, Finnerman officially changed his ASC status to “retired.” “In the end, people are going to come to you, and if something was less than perfect, you can’t blame it on the camera, lens, film or the operator,” said Finnerman. “You’re the one they picked to do the job right. It’s your responsibility. “Never be lazy. Try to be creative … If you are having a good time, you are probably doing good work.” — Jon D. Witmer ●

Finnerman stayed on the series for its three-year run, and he also notched credits on Mission: Impossible for Desilu. In 1968, he shot the telefilm The Sunshine Patriot for director Joseph Sargent, and based on the strength of that work, he was offered the film The Lost Man , starring Sidney Poitier, with whom Finnerman would also work on They Call Me Mister Tibbs! and Brother John. In 1969, Finnerman and some collaborators were scouting from the air for a production that was to shoot in Colorado, and the plane crashed. Only Finnerman survived. In an interview with TV Guide, the cinematographer recounted, “I wore a metal brace around my hips, up my back and down my chest for six years. I learned a great lesson, though. No matter how tough things are on set, no matter how much people scream … I do not get excited. It has given me a quiet approach to life.” In the midst of his recovery, in 1970, Finnerman joined the ASC after Stradling recommended him. It was to be an active membership, indeed, as Finnerman served as a vice president, a member of the Board
American Cinematographer



American Cinematographer - July 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Cinematographer - July 2011

American Cinematographer - July 2011
Contents
Editor’s Note
President’s Desk
Letters
Production Slate: Larry Crowne • Mortal Kombat
Monster Out of the Box
Ring of Power
Shot Down in Flames
A Cultural Cataclysm
Ascending Cinematography’s Summit
Post Focus: Prime Focus New York
Filmmakers’ Forum: Jim Matlosz
New Products & Services
International Marketplace
Classified Ads
Ad Index
In Memoriam: Gerald Perry Finnerman, ASC
Clubhouse News
ASC Close-Up: Bruno Delbonnel
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - American Cinematographer - July 2011
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - Cover2
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 1
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 2
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - Contents
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 4
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 5
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 6
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 7
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - Editor’s Note
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 9
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - President’s Desk
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 11
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - Letters
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 13
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - Production Slate: Larry Crowne • Mortal Kombat
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 15
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 16
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 17
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 18
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 19
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 20
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 21
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 22
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 23
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - Monster Out of the Box
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 25
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 26
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 27
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 28
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 29
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 30
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 31
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 32
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 33
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 34
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 35
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - Ring of Power
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 37
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 38
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 39
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 40
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 41
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 42
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 43
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 44
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 45
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - Shot Down in Flames
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 47
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 48
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 49
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 50
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 51
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 52
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 53
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - A Cultural Cataclysm
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 55
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 56
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 57
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 58
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 59
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 60
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 61
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - Ascending Cinematography’s Summit
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 63
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 64
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 65
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 66
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 67
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 68
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 69
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - Post Focus: Prime Focus New York
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 71
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - Filmmakers’ Forum: Jim Matlosz
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 73
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 74
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 75
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - New Products & Services
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 77
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 78
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 79
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - International Marketplace
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - Classified Ads
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - Ad Index
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 83
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - In Memoriam: Gerald Perry Finnerman, ASC
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 85
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - Clubhouse News
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 87
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - ASC Close-Up: Bruno Delbonnel
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - Cover3
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - Cover4
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