Caleb Norman went from being a BMX rider filming his friends, to a lead cinematographer at Mad Media, to now chasing his dream of having his own company. Like many of our other client spotlights, we came across Caleb’s #CoreDriven photos via Instagram as we noticed he relies on powering his RED camera with Hypercore battery packs. Read below to see more about Caleb’s career and what advice he gives to aspiring cinematographers.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your career.
I started my career as a BMX rider filming friends and editing ‘Sponsor Me’ videos. I attended Palomar College in San Diego entered into their video editing program. After Palomar a former teacher, Wade Rollins, got me an internship with Mad Media, a San Diego production company that specializes in automotive and action sports content.
I worked hard and smart interning for free at Mad Media and was offered a full-time position after my first year. From there I kept grinding, polishing my craft, doing any task that was asked of me and after some turn over and constant development I ended up as their lead in-house editor and cinematographer.
I knew I eventually wanted to work for myself. In March of 2018 I had a BMX crash and had to take time off from Mad Media. I had a lot of time to think about what I really wanted from my career. I purchased additional camera equipment, built my website, got a logo, developed my demo reel and opened shop.
2. What advice would you give to an aspiring cinematographer?
I would advise any aspiring cinematographer to just go film and edit. Fail and learn. The only way you’ll ever get better is by doing. You don’t need the best equipment. I’ve had the most fun in the world going out with just a GoPro and filming a fun edit with my friends at the skate park riding bikes. Creativity has no boundaries.
I’d also advise beginners to not be afraid to work for free to gain experience and pay your dues. I worked an entire year for free, taking lunch orders, cleaning gear, organizing the gear room, emptying trash cans, and whatever else was asked of me.
3. What’s one of your most memorable projects you worked on?
My most memorable project was a promo video for Polaris RZR called XP1K3 while working at Mad Media. You can find the video on YouTube at this location: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Kdk7PFlQXg
It was a viral series we did for Polaris to promote their XP1000 UTV. It was a lot of fun shooting high stakes stunts where you had to nail your focus on the driver, RJ Anderson, and your camera move. A miss and we’d have to go out and do it again. It’s always fun to have that added pressure and be part of larger scale projects. I find the comradery that comes with projects like this very satisfying. I enjoy filming with friends that you might not normally work with on smaller projects and getting to meet new friends.
4. What Core SWX gear do you rely on and how is it beneficial to your productions?
I use the Core SWX Hypercore 9 Mini RED V-Lock batteries with a Core SWX battery charger. I also have 2 Hypercore Slim 75 batteries that I use for my Ronin Gimbal setup. I love Core SWX batteries because they read natively in my RED camera and I can instantly tell how much battery life is left. They’re heavy duty. They have USB and P-Tap power built into them. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve charged my phone with these batteries while powering my RED Epic Dragon.
5. What exciting projects should we keep an eye out for next?
I have a few proposals in with some potential clients. Being so fresh into the free-lancing life, my calendar is pretty empty at the moment but I’ve had lots of positive conversations with people I worked with in the past and new potential clients through reaching out via social media and other avenues. I’m really excited for what this year brings for me and the challenges of owning my own company.