Behind the Scenes: DP Tommy Maddox-Upshaw


Megan Donnelly of AbelCine recently had the opportunity to sit down for a conversation with DP Tommy Maddox-Upshaw to discuss his career, his inspirations, and his most recent work with the Sony VENICE on Season 6 of FOX’s Empire, and two seasons of FX’s SnowFall.

They discussed his approach to shooting Empire with the Sony VENICE camera and how he maximized the sensitivity of the camera’s sensor to move more efficiently and faster on set, capture a variety of skin tones, and how he set up his video village to closely monitor exposure on set. 

They talked about his theory and approach to choosing lenses for a project, and how the story always drives these decisions. On both shows, he has put the Sony Extension Block to use in extremely small spaces as a unique tool to achieve shots he couldn’t otherwise dream of.


Tommy also touched on the technical advancements of lighting and how these new technologies paired with the extreme low light sensitivity of the Sony VENICE allowed him to capture the images he wanted and maximize the emotional impact of the story.

Subscribe: Sign up for our FREE e-lert here. Stay on top of the latest advertising, film, TV, entertainment and production news!


Megan Donnelly is the Technology and Education Development Manager, AbelCine LA