We had the privilege to sit down with artist Jim Gray in his Sonoma studio. Jim runs Studio Gray, where he makes large scale installations and interior design pieces, among other things. We wanted to meet with him after finding an interest story online. The dramatic scale of his work was intriguing, and he made for some great conversation. We’ll be coming back to transcribe the entire interview here.

His philosophy is the slogan of his site: “the making is the thing”. As he describes in this video, his work isn’t about the work; it’s about the problem solving that gets it ready to leave the shop. That’s something we can relate to. You can view the video here:


The interview was shot on a Panasonic GH4 with a wired lav microphone. As the entire thing was done with one person in limited time, the lighting is simple. In the interview, the large window in Jim’s office brought in most of the light. A few Chinese Lanterns were used to add soft ambient fill, one of my personal favorites. I tend to set up a few in most situations. A couple of diffused lights made up for the fill on his left side.

All b-roll elements were shot on the Sony FS7, using two LED panels to add fill where the studio didn’t provide it. We had brought more lights, but didn’t find them necessary. The space had very even lighting, which makes sense for somewhere you have to see your work in detail. A mix of variable frame rate and 4k modes were used, with the intention of a 1080p output. My favorite shot is at the beginning, the close up of his chiseling work. It really demonstrates how powerful the detail can be on these camera given the right conditions. High frame rates on the FS7 has been mixed in terms of results for us, as maintaining the detail is much more difficult. Hopefully we’ll get the opportunity to hook it up to an external recorder in the future to see the full potential.

This was a fun and educational shoot, and we’re excited for you to check it out. Fire dancers will be next for the Portrait Series, then… who knows? We’re open to suggestions!