Veteran photographer, Chris Haston, has been shooting for NBC for an impressive 21 years. He also served on the Will & Grace crew for the show's entire eight seasons. We asked Chris to explain his role, share his memories and also create his own personal W&G photo gallery.
- What is the role of a still photographer on set?
- Even though the show is running film through their cameras, you can't lift an image off that film for technical reasons. They are shooting at a slow shutter speed because they are going one frame into the next. For still photos, you only need one frame. In fact, we're called single framers. You need good quality, with no movement. But, when Sean Hayes is doing cartwheels during the curtain call you can't help it sometimes!
- My job is to get these pictures. I try to get pictures with no microphones or lighting equipment in the shot. Just to make it look like it came off the film. But in between scenes, Sean Hayes messes around a lot. He'll dance around; act like he's playing the violin. Sometimes the actors would go into the audience and talk to the audience. I pretty much covered it all. Debra Messing gave me the best compliment by calling me the show historian. That really touched me because when the camera stopped rolling on them, I kept rolling. I obviously had respect for their space.
- The photos I take are sent out to the world through the NBC Publicity department and are also on NBC.com. After I'm done shooting, I download the shots to a server. Then they are edited and uploaded for press, publicity, advertising and whatever else anyone would need them for.
- For the longest time over the years, I was doing special setups. I'd bring in special lights and in between scenes I'd run over to Madonna or J-Lo or whomever and shoot 20 or 30 images. Then they'd go back to work and I'd break down all my stuff. That way we had quality work done in a short amount of time, with little effort.