VPI Associates are people we choose to work closely with. They are a team of incredibly talented and creative individuals.
Derek Gruszeckyj is a DOP (director of photography) well known in the industry having worked in TV, Commercials, Corporate and Feature films.
1. How did you get into the industry?
I Left school and went straight into a Studio Photographers (Stills). I had an interest in photography, but knew nothing about f-stops or colour temperature, and started as a Studio Assistant. It was a good training ground, learnt a lot about lighting, cameras etc. Made the Tea and mixed the developer … and sometimes mixed that up !
2. What do you love about the job?
The travel is fantastic (not the motor-way and airport delays) I like the variety of locations, both inside and outside, both home and abroad… and, I like to meet different people. I’ve ski’d down the Himalayas, been Marlin fishing in Hawaii and shot Speed Boats in the Midnight sun. Its more of a hobby than a job. What better way is there to earn a living?
3. The most enjoyable personality that you have worked with?
Did a small sequence with Lenny Henry … all hand held…….. and I laughed all the way through it. (the best wobbly cam ever) And Rosie and Jim made me laugh every day.
4. What was your role on the film Quantum of Solace and what does it mean?
I was employed by Eon as HD camera operator/technician. They had some fx shoots to do, and decided to shoot on HD instead of shooting on film and having the transfers to do. I shot some of the sequence that involved the 2 main characters jumping from a crashing plane and falling to earth (with 1 parachute) Sorry to ruin the illusion, but it was shot in a vertical wind tunnel in Bedford ! (4 x days for 30 seconds!) And another sequence, shot in Austria, involved James Bond secretly filming ‘the baddies’ with his High Def / Heat Seeking / Infra Red, Mobile Phone !! (I could do with one of those !)
6. Best/worst experience to date?
Ah now…. there’s a thought. I had to shoot a lead crystal fruit bowl especially commissioned by Stuart Crystal. There was only one!!!!! (be very careful Derek, this is the only one, you can see this coming) It had the Stuart Crystal logo engraved in the base. We shot it on a powered turntable against deep purple velvet drapes … beautiful …. And it all went well, We wrapped. I picked up the bowl to put it back in the special presentation box
………… and dropped it……… !!! …. it shattered into a zillion pieces. I just wanted the ground to open up and swallow me.
7. Career highlight so far?
Um … now there’s a difficult one. Its not always the ‘big’ jobs that give you the most satisfaction.
Shot Bill Wymans Blues Odyssey in Memphis and the UK. I like the Blues, so it was a joy to do. And met a few Blues heros on the way, BB King, Ike Turner, Wilson Picket, Mick Fleetwood, blimey the list went on and on…… it was excellent.
On the last week of the first series of Rosie and Jim … it was evident that children were watching this, we had crowds of people around the boat, they really loved the programme….. that makes it all worth while….10 years and 250 episodes later.
And I can’t dismiss working on Quantum of Solace … fingers crossed they’ll ask me again.
But at the same time, I’ve shot for The Big Issue for the last 4 years, (my bit of free work for ‘charity’ ) …. That’s really worth while. And I met people who really don’t have anything. That opens your eyes.
But, every job has its own merits, whether it be a big block buster or a corporate video… its just as important to all involved.