David Nowell is one of Hollywood's most sought-after aerial cinematographers/directors. He photographed or directed the aerial sequences of over 40 films between 1970 and 2000, producing both simple bird's-eye views and daring stunt photography. His lengthy resumé doubles as a list of modern hits that includes The Blues Brothers (1980), Top Gun (1986),… More Bio:
David Nowell is one of Hollywood's most sought-after aerial cinematographers/directors. He photographed or directed the aerial sequences of over 40 films between 1970 and 2000, producing both simple bird's-eye views and daring stunt photography. His lengthy resumé doubles as a list of modern hits that includes The Blues Brothers (1980), Top Gun (1986), Jurassic Park (1993), Outbreak (1993), The Pelican Brief (1993), Apollo 13 (1995), Ransom (1996), The Lost World: Jurassic Park II (1997), Air Force One (1997), Wild Things (1998), and The Cell (2001).
Nowell started as a camera assistant for Continental Camera Systems in 1972. He shot mostly sports and news events until 1979, when he assisted cinematographer David Butler on the aerial scenes for Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now. Nowell has worked steadily ever since, photographing and directing aerial sequences for filmmakers Wolfgang Peterson and Tony Scott, among others.
In 1992, Nowell met future action film aficionado Michael Bay on the set of Adrian Lyne's Indecent Proposal (1993), where Bay was the second unit director. The two struck up a working friendship, and Nowell went on to photograph several of Bay's best television commercials. A prior commitment kept Nowell from shooting his friend's first feature-film directorial effort, Bad Boys (1995), but he was on hand to photograph the aerial scenes for Bay's next two films, The Rock (1997) and Armageddon (1998).
In 1999, Nowell began work directing the intricate aerial action sequences of Bay's WWII drama Pearl Harbor (2001). The shoot was extremely difficult; it took Nowell and his crew over one year to film only 20 minutes of aerial footage. Yet, the effort was worth it -- praise for Nowell's airborne scenes was some of the only applause that Pearl Harbor received.
Nowell's technical knowledge and aerial expertise have helped him in front of the camera, as well. The aerial cinematographer/director appeared onscreen as a sound technician in Ski Patrol (1990) and as a helicopter news cameraman in Blown Away (1994).
Ski Patrol (1990)
- Sound Technician
- Ryan O'Neal (74 years old)
- James Gammon (75 years old)
- Veronica Cartwright (66 years old)
- Geraint Wyn Davies (58 years old)
- Leslie Phillips (91 years old)
- Nina Foch (91 years old)
- Ali Suliman (39 years old)
- Judith O'Dea (70 years old)
- Julien Poulin (69 years old)
- Crispin Glover (51 years old)
- Olga Karlatos (68 years old)
- George Takei (78 years old)
- Gregory Itzin (67 years old)
- John Patrick Amedori (28 years old)
- Rachel Maryam Sayidina (35 years old)
- Clint Howard (56 years old)
- Clayne Crawford (37 years old)
- Joseph Lawrence (39 years old)
- Shemar Moore (45 years old)
- Michael Brandon (70 years old)
- Andy Serkis (51 years old)
- Matt Austin (37 years old)
- Carmen Electra (43 years old)
- Jessica Lange (66 years old)
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