Jim Elias and Eric J. Johnston are now at OConnor, where they will work on a new line of camera accessories. Jim, who lives in Munich, will head the design team. Eric Johnston will be the US product specialist, based out of Valley Cottage, NY. Almost every cinematographer knows Jim: first as an LA camera assistant, then part of the Willy Tec follow focus team, and most recently as a freelance designer for ARRI.
Eric was a popular and familiar face while at ARRI, where he handled accessory sales across the US and South America.
Michael Zeisse will handle sales in Europe, Middle East and Africa. Ali Ahmadi, recently transferred from New York to Burbank, is the OConnor Brand Manager.
Chad O’Connor (1914-2007) would approve. His hobby was filming steam locomotives, and he developed the silicon fluid-damped camera head because he couldn’t get smooth shots with his existing equipment. One day in 1952, he was filming a steam engine and someone asked to try out his camera and tripod. The man seemed to know what he was doing. He then asked if O’Connor could build some more for him. It was Walt Disney, and the rest is history. The point is that Chad was an incredible inventor and whenever I’d call him up with a question or problem, he’d design, built and ship the part or accessory right away.
“The new accessory line continues the OConnor tradition of supporting the cinematographer’s art with industry-leading engineering and craftsmanship, tailored to the rapidly-changing landscape of new cameras,” said Bob Carr, President of Camera Dynamics Inc. (which handles OConnor).
The first OConnor camera accessory– with many more to come – is a completely modular cine-style follow-focus system. The compact and low profile unit enables quick, tool-free mounting on standard rod systems. This new OConnor cine-style follow focus is compatible with all standard follow-focus accessories and driver gears. OConnor’s new follow focus will integrate with all camera and lens systems in use. More products will be announced.
The OConnor cine-style follow focus will be available for preorder in March. Delivery is scheduled to begin in April. More information will be coming. Here at FDTIMES, there were irresistible twitchings at the keyboard to name OConnor’s new division. O’Cessories. Although the founder spelled his name with an apostrophe, they dropped it in the company name, OConnor. Accessories…AKS…OKS…How about OConnor OKS?
Whatever they call it, I’m sure it will be a great success, and I look forward to seeing Jim and Eric soon.