In Memoriam: Lou Barlia

Motion picture cameraman Lou Barlia, who was behind the camera on many well known films from the 1970’s through the late 1990’s died at the age of 92 on June 25th, 2022 after a brief battle with mesothelioma cancer. His two sons were with him at his home in Las Vegas when he passed.

Born and raised in New York, Barlia’s career in photography began in his early teens when his father brought home a camera that he had found on the train tracks in the city. Thus began Lou’s lifelong passion for photography and cameras that never ended.

Starting with work at a photo studio during and after his high school years (the School of Industrial Arts in New York) Barlia was later drafted into the army and served as a combat cameraman during the Korean War (for which he received the Bronze Star, and other citations, for his service).

Barlia’s work in film continued in the 1950’s and 1960’s with commercials, documentaries, and TV shows, eventually leading into feature films starting in the 1970’s. From that point until his retirement in 2000 Barlia was behind the camera on many popular movies (Love Story, Superman, Slap Shot, Jaws, The Big Chill, The Accidental Tourist, Silverado, to name a few)

In recognition of his work, Barlia received a lifetime achievement award from the Society of Operating Cameramen (SOC) in 2000.

Up until very recently Lou had been an active, independent, youthful and sharp minded retiree who never lost his interest in photography, cameras, cars, flying (licensed and instrument rated), fitness, and all kinds of technical gadgetry. Above all was his love for his family.

Lou was preceded in death by his ex wife Betty, with whom he reconciled before her passing, as well as his beloved sisters Lilly Mogel, Anne Meranchick, and Lorraine Grunor.

He will be greatly missed by all!

Services to be held at the VA cemetery in Westwood, CA on August 4th at 11:30 am.

In Memoriam: Jean-Marie Lavalou

Jean-Marie Lavalou, the Frenchman who co-created the Louma Crane, the first remote-controlled camera system used in the motion picture industry, died on July 15 in Paris. 

It was during his national service in the French Navy film department that Jean-Marie met his inventor partner, Alain Masseron. Together, they created never-before-seen camera movements while making a film inside a submarine by attaching the camera to the end of a wooden pole and tracking through the narrow vessel. The young inventors then brought their device to the camera rental house SamAlga Cinema in Paris. Upon seeing its potential, chief engineer Albert Vigier quickly introduced them to David Samuelson of Samuelson Film Service in London. With the combined teams of engineers and the eureka moment of combining the device with the in-development video assist system that Joe Dunton was working on at Samuelsons, the first remote head for motion picture filmmaking was born.

The story of the Louma Crane is well documented and it was the passionate (some would say obsessive) Lavalou who brought together the many talented engineers who made his and Masseron’s vision possible. He lived his dream of working with the likes of Roman Polanski and Steven Spielberg, and he was forever in awe of Directors and Directors of Photography, striving to create new equipment for them to use on set. Receiving the Academy Award of Merit in 2005 with his co-inventors was most assuredly a career highlight for Lavalou. In later years, he was also responsible (alongside the development of the Louma 2 telescopic crane) for bringing the Spydercam system to France when he designed the stadium roof fittings and pulleys on which the wires are attached.

2022 Camera Operators of the Year in Film & Television

The recipients of the Society of Camera Operators Camera Operator of the Year in Film are the team of Mitch Dubin, SOC, and “B” Camera John “Buzz” Moyer, SOC (West Side Story). The recipients of Camera Operator of the Year in Television are Manolo Rojas, SOC, and “B” Camera Pauline Edwards, SOC (Snowfall, S4, Episode 8, Betrayal). The award recipients were celebrated by industry peers and colleagues during the virtual 2022 Society of Camera Operators Awards Celebration on Saturday, March 5, 2022.

Hundreds of viewers from around the globe tuned in to the annual SOC Awards Celebration on Saturday evening. For the first time, the SOC expanded nominations to include collaborative efforts and teams of operators, allowing both “A” camera operators and “A” and “B” camera operator teams the chance to be recognized.

Mitch Dubin, SOC, and “B” Camera John “Buzz” Moyer, SOC, took home the title of Camera Operator of the Year in Film for their work on West Side Story. The duo topped a talented group of nominees in the film category, including Gilles Corbeil, SOC (Nightmare Alley); Matthew Moriarty, SOC (A Quiet Place Part II); David Thompson, SOC, with “B” Camera Ian Seabrook, SOC (Finch); and Mike Heathcote, SOC (The Many Saints of Newark).

Manolo Rojas, SOC, and “B” Camera Pauline Edwards, SOC, were awarded Camera Operator of the Year in Television for their work on Snowfall, S4, Episode 8, Betrayal. The TV category nominees included multiple collaborative teams: Mick Froehlich, SOC, with Remi Tournois, SOC (Hawkeye, S1, Episode 3, Echoes); Timothy Muir Spencer with “B” Camera Mike McEveety (For All Mankind, S2, Episode 10, The Grey); Reid Russell, SOC, with “B” Camera Jan Ruona, SOC (Blindspotting, S1, Episode 1, The Ordeal); and Gregor Tavenner with “B” Camera Alan Pierce, SOC (Succession, S3, Episode 7, Too Much Birthday).
During the virtual celebration, the award-winning and versatile actor, producer, and director Danny DeVito was honored with the Governors Award, and Motion Impossible/AGITO Remote Dolly Systems and Cinema Devices/Ergorig System accepted SOC Technical Achievement Awards.
In addition to celebrating the achievements of the exceptional film makers and crews, the SOC Awards Celebration proudly welcomed Dr. Thomas Lee from the Vision Center at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles to center screen to salute to the success of the SOC’s continued support, including filming the charity’s fundraising videos.
Following the Awards Celebration, guests, nominees, and award recipients were invited to virtual after-parties. Hosted by nominees, the after-parties were held in multiple breakout rooms, allowing attendees to not only chat (virtually) with the breakout room host, but also with others in attendance.



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Camera Operator Summer

Snowfall, FX’s crime saga set in Los Angeles against the backdrop of the crack epidemic, weaves together a tapestry of stories from characters whose lives are affected by the drug.

In this SOC Creative Spotlight conversation, Manolo Rojas, SOC, and Pauline Edwards, SOC—the camera operating team for Snowfall's fourth season—talk about their histories in the film business, what led them to their work on Snowfall, and how the diverse crew for this series became its own sort of family that stood out from many of the sets they’ve worked on in the past.

Also highlighted in this conversation is the chemistry and trust that’s required between operator and DP, how distancing protocols related to the COVID-19 pandemic ironically brought them closer as an operating team, and what it meant for them to be recognized as the 2022 Camera Operators of the Year in Television.



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