Jem Schofield has been growing theC47 in sync with some of the most immense changes in terms of technology in this industry. The last decade has been incredible with the introduction and advancement of digital, advancements with lighting technology, camera formats, drones, streaming and just about everything else. We sat down with him to talk about his journey throughout the years.
PH: Where did the idea for theC47 come about? What was your original mission and does that continue until today?
Jem Schofield: When everything fell to pieces in 2008 I did about $1500 worth of work in a 9-month period of time. We had just had our third child and I needed to do something!
With some equipment support from AbelCine, I started theC47 in 2009 and began producing daily online videos related to video production and filmmaking. That led to work with Canon, Zeiss and other companies in the industry. It was also during the time of the DSLR Revolution so I started to teach classes and workshops focused on production.
The original mission for theC47 was only education but as someone who has been in production for over 20 years as a producer, DP and educator I eventually merged my production company with theC47 into one entity. From that standpoint, things have changed - but the 20% of my life dedicated to education hasn’t and I continue to create educational content through my YouTube channel and courses like the ones I have produced with Lynda.com / LinkedIn Learning.
PH: Talk about the name of your company, please.
Jem Schofield: Hmmm. It’s not an airplane!
PH: What have you found to be some of the most-remarkable advancements and solutions for filmmakers and video production pros over the last decade?
Jem Schofield: The combination of quality and cost. We have it so good now in terms of the tools that are available to us as storytellers and content creators. It’s now all about creativity and craft!
PH: What kind of work and education do you focus on?
Jem Schofield: I mainly teach production from the standpoint of craft. There is definitely a technical aspect to what I teach but the end goal is always application and doingness. Small to no-crew production is my focus as that’s the world I live in.
PH: Even though you are an educator yourself, how do YOU keep learning?
Jem Schofield: I read constantly. I go out and take photographs which helps my eye. I do tests with cameras, lenses and lighting. The beauty is this is a field of never-ending learning and I feel at 20+ years into this that I have just started my education.
PH: Tell us about some of your all-time favorite films that influenced you?
Jem Schofield: Well, it’s a pretty long list but here’s some of them…
Narrative (Baker’s Dozen): Rocky, The Wrestler, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Blade Runner, Drive, The Grand Budapest Hotel, A Clockwork Orange, Raiders of the Lost Ark, No Country for Old Men, There Will Be Blood, Django Unchained, Lost in Translation, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.
Docs: Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Man on Wire, Grey Gardens.
PH: What’s in your go-to filmmaking toolkit? First, cameras. Then, lenses. And finally, lighting.
Jem Schofield: Again, that’s kind of a loaded question! As an educator, I am using so many tools that sometimes I forget.
I mainly shoot with the Canon C200, C300MKII, Sony FS7 II, Fujifilm X-T3 and the ALEXA Mini when on bigger projects. Lenses are project-based. Canon and Zeiss for the majority of projects and also a lot of Fuji and Sigma glass. Lighting is also all over the place and is project-driven. Westcott’s FlexCine products, ARRI SkyPanels, Aputure, Fillex, etc. I am testing new lights all of the time!
PH: Can you talk about some projects and content that might be shared soon (at NAB or beyond)?
Jem Schofield: That’s a moving target. I just wrapped production on a project for Zeiss. We shot at Red Rock Canyon Conservation Center. Lots of drone stuff on that one. Permits were a bitch! I did a great project a while back with RØDE that featured Billy Bob Thornton and got to work with my friends at ARRI. I also produced a great series with my close friend and documentary cinematographer Matt Porwoll (Cartel Land), that focused on how he approaches docs as a cinematographer. We got to produce a short doc together as well which was wonderful to do. I also just finished producing some educational content for SmallHD.
It looks like the rest of 2019 is going to be interesting. I may be producing an in-depth course for MZED Pro and I just wrapped another course of my own for LinkedIn Learning on Corporate Production.
PH: How do you feel about today’s filmmakers vs. some of the “old guard” in terms of their technique, knowledge, and role as artists?
Jem Schofield: Hard question that will get different answers from everyone you ask. I probably would have gone to film school if I knew I wanted to do this at the age of 16 or 17. I didn’t. There are also so few spots or places in the good ones. Many people are self-taught and just get lots of production experience. I don’t ask for resumes when I hire people. I ask for recommendations. If you have the right temperament, learn the first time and work hard, then you are an asset to the industry.
PH: What do you think are some of the most amazing products to have hit the market in the last few years — and what would you like to see coming to market this year and next?
Jem Schofield: The cameras, lenses and lighting we have available to us today are so good! Right now I just want better monitoring solutions so we can actually see what these cameras are capturing. They are probably the one thing that are the most behind at this point. Lots of features but we need the resolutions, dynamic range and gamuts to match our cameras. And, we need these at an affordable price. Not twenty to 30 thousand dollars.
PH: Can you share some best practices for the ideal Director - DP relationship? Certainly an extremely critical one, relevant to all of our community.
Jem Schofield: Communication. If the director learns some of the language of cinematography it will help them immensely with that relationship. There is a great book called "Cinematography for Directors" that covers this subject very well.
PH: Lastly, since we asked another friend of ProductionHUB, another foodie, Mr. Gary Adcock, can you give us your Top Picks in NYC, LA, Chicago and in the Pacific Northwest?
Jem Schofield: Oooh! I’ll leave Chicago to Gary. That’s his town.
For New York: Mandoo Bar (Dumplings), Decoy (Peking Duck), Tamarind (Indian), Jin & Totto (Ramen), Carmines (Family Style Italian), and, Joe's on Carmine for a real New York slice!
I have to mention three in New Jersey... Varka, Wyckoff Thai, & Oakland Diner (I love diners and this is the best!)
LA: Dave’s Hot Chicken, Sushi Yuzu, Porto’s Bakery & Café, MexCocina Café, Parks BBQ (Korean).
Pacific Northwest: Mothers, Local Ocean, Word of Mouth, Jory.
About Jem Schofield & theC47:
Jem Schofield is a producer, DP and educator and the founder of theC47 (a full service production company that focuses on video production, filmmaking, consulting & education). He spends most of his time producing content, educating others and otherwise being borderline obsessed with cameras, lighting and the craft of storytelling.
For over 20 years Jem has produced projects for an ever-expanding client base. Current and past clients include AbelCine, Apple, Inc., ARRI, Canon, Corus Entertainment, MAC Group, NBCUniversal, NPR, Riverbed Technologies, Scottish Enterprise, Sony, TED, The Vitec Group, Walmart Films, Westcott, YouTube, & Zeiss.
Jem is also an equipment design consultant to many manufacturers in the film and television industry. Most recently he designed theC47 DP Kit and theC47 Book Light Kit (geared towards corporate, in-house and small to no crew productions), which is based on Westcott's Scrim Jim Cine system.
For more information about Jem and his whereabouts, visit his website or visit his YouTube Channel at where he posts ongoing educational content focused on the craft of video production and filmmaking related to small to no-crew productions.
Where you can find theC47: