Matt Carroll joins the team! As our Operations Manager, Matt will be a new friendly face around the shop. We caught up with our new friend and chatted about his interests and experiences. Enjoy!



CA: You studied Electrical Engineering at Miami University. Wait, what? Miami University is in… Oxford, Ohio?

MC: Yep.


CA: Not in Miami, Florida?

MC: No, there's the University of Miami and then there's Miami University, named after an Indigenous tribe. Miami University came first, like in 1809 or something. The school always makes a big deal about it.


CA: I see. Okay. Gotcha. So you worked in electrical engineering and at a co-op. What kind of skills do you feel like you've picked up in that journey that translated into film?

MC: Engineering, at its core, is all about problem-solving. It all boils down to problem-solving and just honing that skill into whatever specific discipline that you end up going into. My favorite thing to do was to be presented with a problem and try and design my way out of it.



CA: So, problem-solving is very much in your wheelhouse. But, it’s still not necessarily a clear jump in going from electrical engineering to film. Would you mind explaining how and why you made that transition?

MC: I was a junior at Miami. It wasn’t that I didn't enjoy what I was doing - the stuff I was doing was really cool and I had a lot of fun with it. But, at my co-op, I saw that all of the really talented engineers ended up being in management. I didn't really like that trajectory. I was also very heavily involved in theater until I graduated high school. So there was always some kind of artistic output for me and I didn't feel like I had that anymore. I had also, in that year, really gotten into photography and shooting video.


CA: Gotcha. So you then transferred to Columbia College Chicago. How was that?

MC: Oh, it was great. I loved it. I originally went to Columbia as a directing major. Cynthia Harrig, who runs advanced cameras at Columbia, told me that I should be a DP. She said understanding the visual language is the single most important thing that a director can do. And that if I wanted to be a director, the best way to do it is by filming stuff. So, she offered me a job working in advanced cameras. I was a TA, a rental technician, and studying cinematography.


CA: It seems like she was presenting cinematography as a means to the end of directing. Do you still feel like cinematography is like a means to an end or is cinematography what you want to do?

MC: She made the right call. Cinematography's exactly where I should have been.




CA: You graduate from Columbia College Chicago and you’re in the camera department for all these different projects. Are there any projects, in particular, that stand out to you?

MC: I think my favorite thing that I got to shoot was for Fender Guitars last year. It was with Jeff Tweedy - he's the frontman of Wilco. The production was just featuring one of their new guitars, but we got to go in their space and shoot him playing the guitar for a few hours and just chat. I loved the footage and I had a lot of creative freedom with it. That was a ton of fun.


CA: Yeah. Seems like a really great experience. So, you’re starting as Operations Manager at Camera Ambassador. What does that entail?

MC: I think in part it's to shift some responsibilities off of Erica's shoulders that maybe are things that she's been doing for a long time that the CEO / Founder of Camera Ambassador doesn't necessarily need to be doing all the time. Besides, the day-to-day operational things are the things that I love. So I think it works perfectly.




CA: Yeah. That makes sense. What do you like doing outside of work?

MC: I recently started getting into shooting tintypes, which is a ton of fun,


CA: What are tintypes?

MC: They are the earliest photographic process. It's a wet plate process. You're shooting onto a piece of aluminum or glass or plexiglass, but you actually coat it in a wet chemical-collodion mixture that binds to whatever the surface that you're shooting on. Then, you dip it in silver nitrate and the collodion acts as a binding agent to hold the silver nitrate onto whatever your substrate is that you're shooting onto.


CA: Okay. I'm gonna ask a possibly rude question. Are folks shooting tintypes just for the hipster vibes? Like, why experiment with wet plates?

MC: It’s technically the best archival medium. So, photographic paper degrades over time. But if you shoot onto a piece of aluminum and then you lacker it, it's good for - as far as we know - forever. We have Civil War photos that look just as good as the day they were shot. Meanwhile, some photographs from the seventies are already falling apart.


CA: Right. Well, you’re gonna have to show me some of them sometime! Matt, thank you for your time.

MC: Thank you.




Matt is a director of photography and camera operator with a background in narrative, documentary, and commercial filmmaking. Prior to his interest and pursuit of a career in the film industry, he studied Electrical Engineering, working briefly as a co-op electrical designer at Ethicon Endosurgery. When he's not at Camera Ambassador, he enjoys playing Magic, making ferrotypes and playing video games with his cat, Rhonda.

Check out Matt on his website!