Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)

David Bailey Nowell (born 4 December 1948; age 70) is a camera operator and cinematographer for Hollywood films who specializes in aerial photography. He was a camera operator on Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and he was later the Director of Aerial Cinematography on both 2002's Star Trek Nemesis and 2009's Star Trek. [1]

Nowell has been working in Hollywood since the 1970s. His first project was John Cassavettes' acclaimed 1974 drama A Woman Under the Influence, on which Nowell was a camera operator. Nowell then joined the tumultuous production of the acclaimed Vietnam War film Apocalypse Now, which featured Albert Hall and which won the 1978 Academy Award for Best Cinematography. Afterward, Nowell became an assistant aerial camera operator on the 1978 thriller Capricorn One, which featured music by Jerry Goldsmith and performances by David Huddleston and James B. Sikking. Other early aerial photography credits include The Great Santini (1979) and The Blues Brothers (1980, featuring Henry Gibson and Charles Napier).

Nowell won two Emmy Awards as camera operator on two Magic of David Copperfield television specials, 1981's The Vanishing Airplane and 1984's Floating Over the Grand Canyon. Nowell's other credits as camera operator include the 1983 James Bond film Octopussy, the infamous 1986 family comedy Howard the Duck, and the campy 1988 musical Earth Girls Are Easy.

Shortly after Star Trek III, Nowell again operated cameras for that film's cinematographer, Charles Correll, on the 1984 National Lampoon comedy film Joy of Sex. Like Star Trek III, Joy of Sex also featured Christopher Lloyd in the cast.

Nowell has provided aerial photography for Star Trek Nemesis cinematographer Jeffrey L. Kimball on four films: Top Gun (1986), Curly Sue (1991, featuring Branscombe Richmond, Barbara Tarbuck, and Cameron Thor), Wild Things (1998), and The Big Bounce (2004, featuring Bebe Neuwirth). Nowell also worked with Star Trek: First Contact and Star Trek: Insurrection cinematographer Matthew F. Leonetti as an aerial photographer on the 1987 film Dragnet, starring Christopher Plummer.

Like Dan Mindel, the Director of Photography on 2009's Star Trek, Nowell has worked frequently with sibling directors Ridley and Tony Scott. As a result, Nowell and Mindel worked together on several films. On Ridley Scott's 1991 adventure-drama Thelma & Louise (featuring Christopher McDonald), Nowell was the director of photography of the film's aerial unit while Mindel was the first assistant camera operator.

Afterward, Nowell and Mindel collaborated on three films for Tony Scott. For the 1996 thriller The Fan, Nowell was a helicopter camera operator while Mindel directed additional photography, and for both Enemy of the State (1998) and Domino (2005, featuring Stanley Kamel), Mindel was Director of Photography while Nowell was Director of Aerial Photography.

Nowell and Mindel's most recent collaboration was the 2006 film Mission: Impossible III, where Nowell was once again Director of Aerial Photography and Mindel the Director of Photography. This film was directed by J.J. Abrams, who also directed and produced 2009's Star Trek.

In addition, Nowell has repeatedly collaborated with director Michael Bay. Nowell has served as Bay's Director of Aerial Photography on the films The Rock (1996), Armageddon (1998, co-written by J.J. Abrams), Bad Boys II (2003), The Island (2005, featuring Ethan Phillips), and Transformers (2007). The latter two movies, like 2006's M:i:III and 2009's Star Trek, were written by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. Nowell worked with Bay again on the 2009 sequel to Transformers, entitled Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen, also written by Kurtzman and Orci.

Nowell's aerial camera work can also be seen in such films as Ridley Scott's Black Rain (1989, featuring Tim Kelleher, Richard Riehle, and Stephen Root), Tony Scott's Man on Fire (2004) and Deja Vu (2006), Stephen Speilberg's Jurassic Park (1993) and Minority Report (2002, starring Neal McDonough and Patrick Kilpatrick), Wolfgang Petersen's Air Force One (1997, featuring Timothy Carhart, Spencer Garrett, Boris Lee Krutonog, Pavel Lychnikoff, Don McManus, Glenn Morshower, Dan Shor, Bill Smitrovich, and Dean Stockwell) and The Perfect Storm (2000, starring Bob Gunton and Christopher McDonald), Gore Verbinski's The Ring (2002), Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006), and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007), Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2003, featuring Brad Dourif and Karl Urban) and King Kong (2005), and blockbusters such as Signs (2002), Collateral (2004), both National Treasure films (2004 and 2007), Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005), Live Free or Die Hard (2007), I Am Legend (2007), and Iron Man (2008, featuring Faran Tahir).

His recent non-aerial work includes the films Last Action Hero (1993), The Pelican Brief (1993), and Interview with the Vampire (1994, starring Kirsten Dunst and Christian Slater). He was also Director of Photography for the weightless unit on the acclaimed 1995 film Apollo 13.

Besides Star Trek, other films which feature Nowell's aerial photography include Hancock (2008), Tropic Thunder (2008), Eagle Eye (2008, executive produced by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci), Ridley Scott's House of Lies (2008), the James Bond film Quantum of Solace (2008), G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009, featuring Rachel Nichols), and Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins (2009, starring Anton Yelchin).

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