Behind the Scenes of “Game of Thrones” From a Camera Operators’ Perspective

HBO’s Game of Thrones is one of the most popular TV shows in the world and you don’t need me to tell you that – if you are not watching it religiously, then chances are either someone if your family or close circle of friends does. The crown jewel in HBO’s current programming roster, GoT has gathered a gigantic legion of followers over the years since it has been in our living rooms. The books on which the show is based are a huge hit too among fantasy fans, and the best part about it – the books aren’t over and those of us who are Game of Thrones devotees are in the very privileged position of seeing the tales of brave men and women of Westeros and beyond unfold right in front of us.

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One of the many fascinating aspects of Game of Thrones is its sheer scope – it takes a crew of over 1,000 that shoot in countless and often rather extreme locations from snowy northern locations (shot in Northern Ireland) to the sun scorched dessert wastelands found in Spain and iconic historical landscapes of Croatia and Malta.

I can’t think of any other network or studio that is able to bring George R. R. Martin’s epic vision to the “small screen”, except maybe Netflix, who are supposedly spending close to $100+ Million per season of their flagship drama “House of Cards”.

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In the latest Behind the Scenes featurette, we get to experience the wild world of Game of Thrones from quite possibly the “best seat in the house” – that of the Camera Operators. If you ever wondered how they shoot GoT, the video below will give you some fascinating insights into what it takes to operate an A or B camera on the set of Game of Thrones.

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The Camera Operators much like everyone else in the crew on GoT has to be on top of their game all the time – no wonder that you see a lot of dudes like Sean Savage (A Camera, Dragon Unit) and Ben Wilson (A Cam, Wolf Unit) who have a lot of years of experience under their belt.

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However, the basics are still there – after all even on the biggest TV show in the world everything boils down to a team effort; sure the Cam Ops have a very stressful job, but they are in the middle of the action – right there with the actors making sure the Director’s vision and their DoP’s ideas are achieved. Working on a show of this scale with multiple DP’s and directors over the course of a season can be challenging, but also very rewarding as the Camera Operators get to do a bit of crane work, Steadicam, and quite a bit of hand held work.

Game of Thrones Camera operator Arri Alexa

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I think the biggest take-away from the featurette above is that even though operating a camera is an art form, and all of these guys strive to achieve strong compositions and pretty pictures, they would only work if they serve the story. After all there are no hard rules etched in stone, but learning from experience and trusting your gut.

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And with a little over 6 weeks to go before the Season 6 premiere, HBO dropped the much-awaited trailer for the new season, which in less than 24 hours has amassed the insane 8.9+ Million views on YouTube (100 a of which, at least, are mine).

Game of Thrones Season 6 premieres on April 24th on HBO.

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  • Eno