Monthly Archives: January 2012

Association Profile: Thomas Myrdahl, Director of Photography

Thomas Myrdahl, Director of Photography on the move
We caught up with Tom Myrdhal, our Director of Photography and one of the instructors at our famous Canon camera classes. Tom has been working for The Association for over 14 years. Constantly on shoots in various parts of the world, we’ve never had a chance to sit him down for an informal interview, and find out what he’s been up to during his career with The Association:

Where are you from and how did you get started in film?

I’m a California boy, born in Pasadena. I went to film school at Loyola Marymount and specialized initially in documentary. I made several award-winning projects in my early period, then I went to work for the UN and did projects in Asia. When I came back I got into IATSE. I was an assistant cameraman along with having my own production company in Hawaii, where I worked on series shows and shot documentaries that were pertinent to Hawaii at that time.

After I came back to the United States, I lucked out and got a job with Lockheed (now Lockheed Martin) and started a career that really never stopped. I’ve been with Lockheed Martin for 25 years. I’ve shot projects with the [aircrafts] SR71, 117, F22, and the F35, shooting most of their commercials in the last couple of years and specializing in their product web videos. Everything I’ve been shooting with Lockheed has been with the Mark II 5D. We’ve gotten such good results that Lockheed Martin no longer shoots anything with their agency. We do everything for them, so it’s been a really great experience. We already have over thirty projects lined up for next year.

What do you do here at The Association?

I’m a Director of Photography at The Association. I also help them put together camera packages and help them analyze creative shooting elements in a script they might have.

What’s your favorite camera?

The favorite camera that I’ve been using right now has been the Mark II 5D, and I’m looking forward to this new C300 and other cameras that Canon will be bringing out.

What’s the most exciting project you’ve ever done?

It’s hard to choose, really. I’ve had a good experience shooting Lockheed Martin’s aircraft carriers. I’ve had great experiences shooting the SR 71, which is the CIA aircraft that spied on Russia for 40 years. Airplanes have been a big part of my life. Also, when I was getting my M.A. at Loyola, I was very much involved in the Chicano movement in East LA and with one of the films I did, I ended up going to about eight riots. The last documentary I did for them was the Chicano moratorium when Ruben Salizar was killed. It became sort of the pivotal event between Los Angeles and the Chicano community. I was honored to give them a twelve-minute documentary on that, which became sort of a historic piece for their movement.

What’s so great about the Canon Boot Camp?

It’s the best Canon camera class because it teaches people the basics. They have checklists that the teachers go through with the students on how to set the camera up properly. You end up fully understanding the still camera and video settings so that you won’t end up making a mistake when you go out to shoot something.

What’s really great about this boot camp is that it not only teachers you how the camera works but it also teaches you about the pitfalls and mistakes you can make on the way. I use the 5D because it gives me the best picture, although it’s not very easy to work with. When you take this boot camp you’re going to walk away with the knowledge to use this camera properly.

To find out more about The Association, custom video production or the Canon Boot Camp, visit our website or call us at 818-841-9660.

The Story of the Ferrari and the Lamborghini

REALLY Simple Marketing Solutions

This is a series on marketing solutions. Often the simplest solution is the best. Here’s one you might find interesting.

For several decades Alpine and Lamborghini were positioned together as part of their effective marketing plan.  Alpine was launching a new technology and wanted a full-blown TV commercial shot on 35mm.  The agency, Kalis and Savage, derived the creative storyboard in which a Ferrari challenges a Lamborghini to a race.  When the light turns green the Ferrari blazes off into the dark night. The Lambo?  Well he’s more entranced by the music flowing out of the new DDDrive speakers.*


So, The Association’s video production crew set it all up.  Who won?  Ferrari? Lamborghini?  Well, I suppose you could say Alpine won…because the commercial production won multiple awards.

Take a look…

*The DDDrive speaker was an experimental speaker in which magnetic flux was poured into an acrylic mold so that the magnet in the speaker would have greatly improved accuracy in the flux fields created.

Custom Video Production: The MD 500 Explorer Helicoptor

Custom Video Production for McDonnell Douglas

Often the simplest solution is the best. Here’s one you might find interesting.


Marketing is about making something appealing. It’s kind of making the sow’s ear into a silk purse (although I’ve never seen that done successfully but it’s an attention getter.) This article is about a chopper and a hog of sorts, that The Association took on for a custom video production.

McDonnell Douglas was introducing their new MD 500 Explorer helicopter, which was designed for the Medivac market. It was a complete re-design from the sleek helicopters in the 500 series. It was, well… fat and slow. The bigger cabin made room enough for stretchers and medical personnel, but it certainly lowered the score in the sleek and sexy department. So the marketing problem we faced was how to make a boxy, sluggish helicopter appealing? Our creative department came up with the idea of positioning it with another chopper, i.e. the Harley Davidson Electro Glide. We got a vintage Electro Glide and fueled up the Explorer and off they went into testosterone territory, followed closely by our expert video production crew.

Click here to see the award-winning video that premiered the Explorer at the Helicopter Association Internal convention:

Canon Boot Camps Empower Filmmakers

The Association’s Canon Boot Camp from fletch murray on Vimeo.

The Association has been leading the way for Canon certification on the HDSLR 5D and 7D. Our Canon Camera Classes have been getting excellent reviews from students who need to learn how to use these incredible cameras fast.

Canon Camera Class Handbook
Our assumption is that those signing up for the classes lied their way on to a job, and they need to know by the next Monday how to professionally set up and use their camera. As a result, our Canon Camera Classes are super hands-on. We’ve even  created a special handbook called “Shooting Movies with the Canon HDSLR” to ensure participants are able to have all the fundamentals down.

We even test each participant at the end of the both levels to ensure they fully understand and can execute the skills we teach.

There was an exponential increase in the number of mainstream television shows and feature films utilizing Canon DSLRs in the past two years. Here’s a list of a few examples:

“True Blood”
“Memphis Beat”
Captain America
“House M.D.”
“The Tonight Show”
“Saturday Night Live”

Anyone interested in getting trained on the Canon DSLR 5D & 7D can find out all about our classes by visiting for the next event dates, or click on the links on the right of this blog for a specific upcoming class date.