Los Angeles based Cinematographer, Dustin Pearlman, has a long list of credits to his name, ranging from commercials for Nissan, to music videos for The Pharcyde, and narrative work, “The A Plate.” With his recent purchase of a Sony FS7, he relied on Switronix to provide long-term power solutions.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you started your career?
After graduating from Northwestern University’s film program in 2004, I rushed to California to join Hollywood’s revered camera crews. My time as a camera assistant allowed me to observe the cinematographer’s process intimately and the lessons were invaluable. In the process, I met wonderful Directors, Actors, and DPs with whom I still collaborate.
After several steady years of AC gigs, I started prioritizing shooting my own projects. As my reel improved, I graduated from spec commercials with friends on the HVX-200 to indie feature films on the RED ONE. While long-form narrative is my preferred medium, I often lens music videos, commercials, and shorts.
2. Between narrative, music videos and commercials, what do you like that’s different within each industry?
I love tackling a variety of projects and don’t want to be pigeon-holed into a singular style/genre. One of the reasons I never sought a 9 to 5 is that my brain craves contrast. Floating between types of jobs keeps my approach fresh and thwarts a paint by numbers approach. I doubt it is a coincidence that many of the gigs I book are hybrids. A recent web series featured a music video within the narrative storyline.
As an amateur musician, music videos perfectly combine my two passions. What they lack budgetary, they repay artistically by offering opportunities for experimentation/risk and unbridled creativity.
I’m grateful for commercial work as their budgets facilitate renting top-notch gear that we fantasize about having in other forms. I recently used a Russian Arm for the first time and it was all that I hoped it would be. It’s revolutionized the way I watch car commercials.
3. What was the most exciting project you worked on and why?
The winter-western music video for Valley Lodge’s “Kiss Me I’m Drunk” takes the cake. I love nature and shooting in the mountains–regardless of season–is my kind of paradise. While it was only two production days long, the experience was peerless. Just before our arrival, a massive storm dumped fresh snow everywhere and the trees looked like they were hand painted by Bob Ross. Anywhere I pointed my camera looked amazing. After work, the crew unwound in natural outdoor hot springs. Epic in every sense. I blogged about the experience here.
4. What Core SWX products do you use, and in your experience, what benefits come along with using them?
I recently purchased a Sony FS7 and sought a long-term power solution. Camera systems go in and out of vogue rapidly and I wanted non-camera specific support. My Core SWX batteries and chargers will remain in my kit for the foreseeable future. I have the HyperCore 98Wh 14.8V V-mounts and I love the digital display, which allows me to precisely monitor my consumption (the XDCA Extension unit doesn’t communicate the battery’s voltage to camera). The USB/D-Tap connectivity also allows for a host of accessories like my Odyssey 7Q+ monitor/recorder.
The four batteries are strong enough to take me through a long day without needing power on-set. That endurance recently came in handy while shooting for Ducati where logistics prevented our having a base camp to charge batteries.
The compact size of the Core SWX GP-2LSJ dual-chargers allow me to fit my complete FS7 package in a single Pelican case (1610) for easy transport. These batteries last so long, that I probably could’ve gotten away with just one charger!
5. Aside from your achievements and accomplishments so far, are there more goals you’d like to work towards in your future?
Like many of my peers, I crave those magical three letters after my name. I’ve never been motivated by awards, but recognition by one’s colleagues is the greatest honor imaginable. In the meantime, I will continue to improve as an artist to reach that pinnacle: A.S.C. membership. Having my work highlighted in the American Cinematographer magazine along the way would be great too.