Hector Ramirez

Camera Operator


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his three-and-a-half-hour interview, Hector Ramirez discusses his career as a camera operator, from his start on All in the Family, to one of his then-current positions as an Emmy-winning camera operator on Dancing With the Stars. He speaks of his move from Colombia to the United States, attending the Don Martin School of Radio and Television Arts and Sciences, and his work on Norman Lear sitcoms All in the Family, The Jeffersons, and Good Times. He details his work shooting several music and comedy specials, including Paul Simon's Concert in Central Park, as well as his experiences as camera operator for the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes, the Emmy Awards, the Grammys, and MTV's Award Shows. Ramirez also comments on holding the then-record for the most number of Emmy nominations, and shares his thoughts on reality television and what forms good composition. Beth Cochran conducted the interview on May 12, 2011 in Los Angeles, CA.

"Norman Lear came down and he goes, 'my name is Norman Lear.' I said, 'yes sir, I know.' And then he said, 'you did a good job.' And that's it. So I figured well, maybe I'm coming back. And I did."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Hector Ramirez on Carol Burnett's spoof of Gone with the Wind on The Carol Burnett Show
Hector Ramirez on his Emmy win for the "Steadicam Tango"
Hector Ramirez on on working with David Copperfield
Hector Ramirez on the most important image he's ever captured
Hector Ramirez on advice to someone about to appear on camera
Hector Ramirez on shooting George Carlin's comedy specials
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood and early influences; on moving to America from Columbia; on his love of photography; on moving from New York to California; on attending the Don Martin School of Radio and Television Arts in Hollywood and learning about camera work
On his first professional job in television at Los Angeles station KLXA; on KTLA; on his start as a camera operator for CBS; on the equipment used in the 1970s; on becoming the camera operator for All in the Family; on testing, lighting, the cast, and favorite episodes of All in the Family
On working as a camera operator on Maude, Good Times, The Jeffersons, and The Carol Burnett Show; on the music and bloopers on The Carol Burnett Show; on technological developments in the 1970s and how they changed shooting
On working with new technology on The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour; on working with David Copperfield on The Magic of David Copperfield

Chapter 2

On working with David Copperfield on his television specials; on being a camera operator on In Living Color; on responding to improv vs. shooting a carefully scripted show; on qualities a good camera operator has; on being a camera operator for Kennedy Center Honors
On being a camera operator for Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve; on working on Barbra Streisand's Barbra: The Concert; on techincal issues of shooting a concert;  on working on Elvis Presley's concerts for television
On shooting Diana Ross' concert in Central Park; on working on Super Bowl halftime shows, Christmas in Washington, and in Monaco for Prince Rainier
On shooting live awards shows: the Academy Awards, the Grammys and MTV's award shows

Chapter 3

On preparing for shots for the Academy Awards ;on MTV award shows; on equipment changes over the years; on shooting comedy specials for television; on how sitcoms in the '80s and '90s differed from those in the '70s; on shooting Fail Safe
On working with a Steadicam; on shooting American Idol with a Steadicam; on working in HD; on shooting Fail Safe
On differences between shooting American Idol and shooting Dancing With the Stars; on rehearsals, the production schedules, hosts, and the dancers on Dancing With the Stars

Chapter 4

On his Emmy win for the "Steadicam Tango"; on his opinion of reality television; on shooting Presidential Inaugurations and Democratic and Republican Conventions; on 9/11; on his preference between shooting weekly variety shows or sitcoms
On working on This is Spinal Tap with Rob Reiner; on his work on feature films; on the most significant technological advancement to his field; on elements of good composition; on shooting in 3D; on changes in staffing from staff to freelance
On advice to aspiring camera operators; on memorable experiences in his career; on holding the then-record for the most Emmy nominations; on his most meaningful Emmy wins; on what makes a good camera operator; on the key to his success; on the highlight of his career; on the most important image he's ever captured; on how he'd like to be remembered
Shows

Academy Awards, The

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Hector Ramirez on shooting live award shows
Hector Ramirez on how shooting the Academy Awards differs from shooting the Grammys
Hector Ramirez on preparing for shots for the Academy Awards

All in the Family

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Hector Ramirez on working as a camera operator for All in the Family
Hector Ramirez on working as a camera operator for Maude and how it differed from All in the Family
Hector Ramirez on how sitcoms in the '80s and '90s differed from those in the '70s

American Idol

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Hector Ramirez on shooting with a Steadicam on American Idol
Hector Ramirez on how shooting Dancing With the Stars differs from shooting American Idol

Barbra Streisand Specials

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Hector Ramirez on being a camera operator for Barbra Streisand's Barbra: The Concert

Carol Burnett Show, The (1967-78)

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Hector Ramirez on working as a camera operator for The Carol Burnett Show
Hector Ramirez on the "Went with the Wind!" sketch on The Carol Burnett Show

Carol Burnett Show, The (1967-78): "Went with the Wind!" Sketch

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Hector Ramirez on the "Went with the Wind!" sketch on The Carol Burnett Show

Christmas in Washington

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Hector Ramirez on working on Christmas in Washington

Dancing With the Stars

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Hector Ramirez on equipment he uses on Dancing With the Stars
Hector Ramirez on shooting with a Steadicam on Dancing With the Stars
Hector Ramirez on working on Dancing With the Stars; on how a British director differs from an American
Hector Ramirez on how shooting Dancing With the Stars differs from shooting American Idol
Hector Ramirez on rehearsals, the production schedules, hosts, and the dancers on Dancing With the Stars

Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve

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Hector Ramirez on being a camera operator for Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve

Emmy Awards, The (Primetime and Daytime)

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Hector Ramirez on attending the Emmy Awards

Fail Safe

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Hector Ramirez on shooting Fail Safe

Good Times

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Hector Ramirez on working as a camera operator for Good Times

Grammys, The

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Hector Ramirez on how shooting the Academy Awards differs from shooting the Grammys

In Living Color

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Hector Ramirez on being a camera operator on In Living Color

Jeffersons, The

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Hector Ramirez on working as a camera operator for The Jeffersons

Kennedy Center Honors

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Hector Ramirez on being a camera operator for Kennedy Center Honors

MTV Movie Awards, The

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Hector Ramirez on how MTV's award shows influenced other award shows

MTV Video Music Awards

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Hector Ramirez on how MTV's award shows influenced other award shows

Magic of David Copperfield, The

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Hector Ramirez on working with David Copperfield on The Magic of David Copperfield
Hector Ramirez on working with David Copperfield

Maude

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Hector Ramirez on working as a camera operator for Maude and how it differed from All in the Family

Roseanne

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Hector Ramirez on how sitcoms in the '80s and '90s differed from those in the '70s

Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour

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Hector Ramirez on working with new technology on The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour

Super Bowl

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Hector Ramirez on working on Super Bowl halftime shows  

Tony Orlando & Dawn

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Hector Ramirez on working on Tony Orlando & Dawn
Topics

9/11

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Hector Ramirez on 9/11

Advice

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Hector Ramirez on advice to someone learning Steadicam
Hector Ramirez on advice to someone about to appear on camera
Hector Ramirez on advice to aspiring camera operators

Bloopers

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Hector Ramirez on bloopers on The Carol Burnett Show

Emmy Awards

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Hector Ramirez on his Emmy win for the "Steadicam Tango"
Hector Ramirez on holding the then-record for the most Emmy nominations; on attending the ceremony

Historic Events and Social Change

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Hector Ramirez on 9/11

Memorable Moments on Television

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Hector Ramirez on working on Elvis Presley's concerts for television

Richard M. Nixon

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Hector Ramirez on the most important image he's ever captured

Technological Innovation

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Hector Ramirez on technological developments in the 1970s and how they changed shooting
Hector Ramirez on working in HD
Hector Ramirez on the most significant advancement to his field - the mini-cam

Television Industry

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Hector Ramirez on advice to someone learning Steadicam
Hector Ramirez on advice to someone about to appear on camera

Television and the Presidency

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Hector Ramirez on the most important image he's ever captured
Professions

Camera Operator

View Profession
Hector Ramirez on his start as a camera operator for CBS
Hector Ramirez on how shooting in front of a live audience changes what was done in rehearsal
Hector Ramirez on being staff vs. a freelance camera operator
Hector Ramirez on qualities a good camera operator has
Hector Ramirez on the elements of good composition and his visual style
Hector Ramirez on what makes a good camera operator

Production Professionals

View Profession
Hector Ramirez on being staff vs. a freelance camera operator
Hector Ramirez on how shooting in front of a live audience changes what was done in rehearsal
Hector Ramirez on his start as a camera operator for CBS
Hector Ramirez on qualities a good camera operator has
Hector Ramirez on what makes a good camera operator
Hector Ramirez on the elements of good composition and his visual style
Genres

Awards Shows

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Hector Ramirez on shooting live award shows

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

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Hector Ramirez on how shooting a variety show differs from shooting a sitcom

Reality TV

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Hector Ramirez on working on Dancing With the Stars
Hector Ramirez on his opinion of reality television
People

Beatrice Arthur

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Hector Ramirez on the cast of Maude

Tom Bergeron

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Hector Ramirez on the host of Dancing With the Stars

Sonny Bono

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Hector Ramirez on working with Sonny and Cher on The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour

Carol Burnett

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Hector Ramirez on the dress rehearsals and memorable moments of The Carol Burnett Show

George Carlin

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Hector Ramirez on shooting George Carlin's comedy specials

Jim Carrey

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Hector Ramirez on being a camera operator on In Living Color

Cher

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Hector Ramirez on working with Sonny and Cher on The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour

Dick Clark

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Hector Ramirez on being a camera operator for Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve

Bill Clinton

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Hector Ramirez on interacting with Bill Clinton

George Clooney

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Hector Ramirez on shooting Fail Safe

Tim Conway

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Hector Ramirez on the dress rehearsals and memorable moments of The Carol Burnett Show

David Copperfield

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Hector Ramirez on working with David Copperfield on The Magic of David Copperfield
Hector Ramirez on working with David Copperfield

Prince of Monaco Rainier III

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Hector Ramirez on working with Prince Rainier of Monaco

Harvey Korman

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Hector Ramirez on the dress rehearsals and memorable moments of The Carol Burnett Show

Vicki Lawrence

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Hector Ramirez on the cast of The Carol Burnett Show

Norman Lear

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Hector Ramirez on working with John Rich and Norman Lear on All in the Family
Hector Ramirez on working with Norm Lear on the day-to-day work of All in the Family

Rue McClanahan

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Hector Ramirez on the cast of Maude

Richard M. Nixon

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Hector Ramirez on the most important image he's ever captured

Carroll O'Connor

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Hector Ramirez on working with the cast of All in the Family

Tony Orlando

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Hector Ramirez on working with Tony Orlando on Tony Orlando & Dawn

Dave Powers

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Hector Ramirez on the dress rehearsals and memorable moments of The Carol Burnett Show

Elvis Presley

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Hector Ramirez on working on Elvis Presley's concerts for television

Rob Reiner

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Hector Ramirez on working with the cast of All in the Family
Hector Ramirez on working on This is Spinal Tap with Rob Reiner

John Rich

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Hector Ramirez on working with John Rich and Norman Lear on All in the Family
Hector Ramirez on working with director John Rich on All in the Family

Diana Ross

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Hector Ramirez on working on Diana Ross' concert in Central Park

Jean Stapleton

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Hector Ramirez on working with the cast of All in the Family

Barbra Streisand

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Hector Ramirez on being a camera operator for Barbra Streisand's Barbra: The Concert

Sally Struthers

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Hector Ramirez on working with the cast of All in the Family

Jimmie Walker

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Hector Ramirez on the cast of Good Times

Robin Williams

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Hector Ramirez on shooting Robin Williams' comedy specials

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