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January 2015

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Page 42 of 51 41 POST JANUARY 2015 hen Bill Roe, ASC, the long-time director of photography on ABC's hit drama Castle, receives the American Society of Cinematographers' Career Achievement in Television Award on February 15th, he celebrates a new milestone in what could be called the family business. Roe, who was nominated for three Primetime Emmy Awards for The X-Files and Faith of My Fathers, and won back- to-back ASC Awards for The X-Files, has a legacy in film and television. His grand- mother was a hairdresser for the legend- ary Barbara Stanwyck and his father, Jack Roe, was a first AD, production manager and producer on motion pictures. "I spent my childhood on big sets like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," says Roe. "I told my dad I wanted to be a grip, and he said, 'I think you want to be camera' — something I still thank him for!" Although Roe played baseball and foot- ball in high school and college, he figured he'd "get into the business eventually." He worked for free for a year in the loading department at Warner Bros., and his first job as a loader, on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, earned him his union card. He began assisting and operating on feature films, then accepted director Michael Watkins' invitation to shoot a TV Movie of the Week starring Ricky Schroder. Roe enjoyed the television experience and before he knew it he was shooting the series Brooklyn South and inter- viewing for The X-Files. "And the rest is history," he laughs. Roe says two of "the most memora- ble" jobs he's had are The X-Files and Castle. "The X-Files was fantastic to work on; a huge team effort. People always say that it will never happen again — it was such a big show, both in its popu- larity and the size of the production. We used every toy in the book on it. We'd get off at 4am after shooting 14 hours and say, 'That was pretty cool!' And that happened every week." On Castle, "We keep the budget down, our noses to the grindstone and make a good-looking product for the money we have. It's a tribute to everyone who makes the show happen — and the result is that ratings are higher in Season 7 than they were in Season 1." Apart from the pilot episode, Roe has been with the series since its start. Castle migrated to digital cinema- tography with Arri Alexa cameras two seasons ago. Roe says he still misses film, but he has a long history of shooting digital dating back to Michael Mann's Robbery Homicide Division in 2002. "Back then we were shooting HD to make the picture crazy ugly and dirty," he recalls. "Now, the cameras are so much better, so sensitive. The Alexa works great. We treat it just like film with no DIT on the set." Roe has favored parallel, or side, light- ing and natural lighting throughout the run of Castle. "Of course, every script is different: You don't automatically walk in and turn on a light. Is it funny? Deep and dark? Colorful? You make the lighting fit the scene." Roe doesn't do digital color manage- ment on the set. "We keep it real simple," he says. "I change some color tempera- tures in the camera and use color gels on lights, but there's no on-set color timing." Color grading happens during the DI at Encore Hollywood with colorist Tony Smith. "I've worked with Tony since The X-Files. He's done all my pilots (The Men- talist, Eastwick), movies and Castle." A few seasons ago, Roe began to direct episodes of Castle, and now he spends about half his time shooting and the rest directing. Daryn Okada, ASC, fills in as DP when Roe directs. "It's a great gig," Roe admits. "The people are fantastic on Castle. We're all very close. [Show star] Nathan [Fillion] is going to introduce me at the ASC awards ceremony. He tells me he can't wait! I have a feeling it's going to be more like a roast than an introduction." As one of the younger ASC Achieve- ment Award winners, Roe was "taken aback" when he got word of the honor. "I wasn't expecting it. I'm very touched. It's taking a while to sink in — I'll probably be overwhelmed at the event." ASC WINNER BILL ROE BY CHRISTINE BUNISH HONORING A LEGACY IN FILM AND TELEVISION W CAREERS

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