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Q: Where are you from?

A: I was born and raised in Damascus, MD - small football town about an hour north of DC and 45 minutes west of Baltimore, MD.

Q: Where do you primarily work?

A: The commercial world is mostly where I work. I really enjoy the larger productions with a full crew onset. I find my best work comes on the jobs where I can hyper focus on one role on set. I’m currently based in Pittsburgh and since the pandemic have been working mostly here. Before COVID, my work was made up of mostly travel work - like 95%, so it’s been a transition but looking forward to flying for work again.

Q: What job do you hold on set?

A: My role on set switches between director of photography, camera operator, and gimbal operator/tech.

Q: How did you get into filmmaking?

A: I got into filmmaking by landing an internship with a corporate production/training company. In order to graduate from the communications department of my college (Indiana University of Pennsylvania) I had to get a credited internship. At the time I was applying for PR firms, marketing companies, and production companies. I wasn’t convinced I could make a living making videos at the time so I am so grateful I got the internship I did.

Q: What was your first camera?

A: My first camera was a Canon 7D. I was living month to month and used my tax return to get that with a kit lens. My family thought it was a bad idea until I had it paid off by the end of the year and getting more work from now owning a camera. I still own it and will never sell it.

Q: What have been some of your career highlights so far?

A: My favorite part of this career is the access you get and the people you meet. Whether it is paying ice hockey with Mario Lemieux on Heinz Field, connecting with strangers in Dubai, watching a Pittsburgh Penguins game with Brian Cranston and Steve Carrel, or MoVI oping music videos for Twenty One Pilots and Imagine Dragons, I am so grateful by the experiences this career has given me.

Q: How is the FX3 maximizing your production value?

A: Having a camera this small with that sensor is incredible. 60fps is great but if you really want to slow objects down, 120fps gives you much more flexibility. I did a shoot for Post cereal where the FX9 was the Acam and the A7siii was a B cam. They ended up using mostly the A7siii footage because of how great it looked. On another job the director was a little stressed about getting broll because after the interview, the photography was more important and they were using strobes. It wasn’t a huge space and the FX9 takes up a little room and it’s harder to move around with. So I pulled out the FX3 with the Sony 24-105 f/4 and picked off most of our shot list in between the photographer getting his shots. Overall, it produces a beautiful image at 120fps in FF 4K and can be rigged to pretty much anything due to its size. It can also go from having nothing but a Sony lens for amazing AF to being built out to a cinema rig with PL mount lenses. I like options :)

Q: When you’re prepping for a shoot what’s the one piece or gear you never want to forget?

A: Thinking of this question gives me anxiety! Beyond the obvious choices of camera, media, batteries and lenses, I’d say that almost all of my jobs I operate with a SmallHD 503 monitor. It gives me confidence in my exposure and focus.

Q: Whats the most under rated piece of gear on set?

A: The other thing I make sure I take on every job is the Red multitool. It is great to have the most common tools needed for camera accessories in your pocket.

Q: What type of work do you like doing the most?

A: The type of work I like most are gimbal jobs on large sets. It’s humbling to be surrounded by so many talented people and the feeling of needing to give it 100% just to keep up. Those are the jobs I grow the most from

Q: Zoom or Prime?

A: Zooms are great when you don’t have the time or resources to swap lenses. However, I always prefer the look of a prime and most of the time you’ll get 1 stop more over a zoom. This doesn’t mean I always shoot wide open but most primes at f/2.8 are going to be noticeable sharper than a zoom that is wide open at a f/2.8

Q: Monitor or EVF?

A: Nothing replaces an EVF however there are certain shooting styles where a monitor is faster and more comfortable for me. I also shoot a ton of projects on a gimbal so I have been getting used to using a monitor.

Q: How did you become a top movi op?

A: Like most people I wasn’t great at gimbals when I first used them. I had some steadicam training prior so that helped a bit but it is really about seat time. In order to get good you need to be constantly practicing and figuring out how to make the most balanced rig. Physical health is also super important in being a good operator

Q: Whats your favorite type of shoot?

A: Car jobs may be my favorite. Really enjoy the rigging process and operating on wheels

Q: Any interesting shoots coming up for you that you can tell us about?

A: Theres always a handful of things in the pipeline butI don’t count on anything until I’m actually on set. However, one of the jobs I’m excited for is the Ferrari Challenge North America at Watkins Glen where I’ll be shooting for my friend Christopher Morrison as he does the drone footage.

Q: SDI vs HDMI?

A: SDI!!! I am not a fan of HDMI

Photo Credits Go To Photographer Matthew Shuck

Follow Rob Ruscher On Instagram and Check Out His Website!


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