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Television Commercial and Documentary Director/DP Rich Underwood on set behind an Eyedirect Mark 2



I am a television commercial and documentary director.


Whether commercial or documentary, my path to telling a good story remains the same. My direction of actors is informed by the reality of my doc work and my doc work benefits from the constructs I apply from narrative filmmaking.


I started as a cinematographer and I do shoot some of my work. Whether or not I operate camera - I hold pretty tight reins on the visual image. The look of the work does vary according to assignment goals, scope and story details, but the cinematic look is uniform to my vision.

Writing is not my first love, reading is. But when you read enough and listen enough, you have a few things to say.


I authored a book "Roll - Shooting TV News" published by Focal Press. It received great reviews and is used at some of the best journalism schools in the world.

I wrote an Emmy award winning documentary about the San Jacinto mountain range called "Voices of the Monument".

I've written a few articles for trade publications.

And, I've contributed creative on a few ad campaigns and have written both feature length and short narrative screenplays.

It's a conversation, not a quiz. My interview style can best be described as casual and empathetic,  It's deep, it's personal, it's humorous, it's tearful - just like life.

Whether behind an Eyeline Direct, resting the camera in my lap or setting up 50ft. away to create a private moment for two people to share, I am always looking for new ways to explore how people share their thoughts..

— For the documentary work, this is what I tell

people about what I do  -


I’ve been blessed to create films of people who celebrate life while teetering on it’s edge.  I love them, plain and simple, both patients and the caregivers deeply committed to the preservation of life. We laugh together, we cry, hug and spent time just being quiet - taking stock in the moment. Our time, captured to share with the world, is immediate and honest - revealing the elements that color life: fear, humor, pain, love, reflection and joy.


These are the stories of ordinary folks who in a heartbeat, are thrust into extraordinary circumstances. It’s my hope this work not only informs but inspires others as a celebration of how precious life is. It is also an illustration of how a brand can influence human endeavor and how beautiful that can be when told through a cinematic story.

I invented the Birdcage Lantern.

From Chimera -
Inspired by Director/Cinematographer Rich Underwood and refined by Chimera's engineers, the new Chimera Birdcage Lantern light has emerged as a unique addition to the Chimera family of light banks.


This new inoovative design offers flexible use - hang it, stand it up, lay it down, put it on a stand with the new Chimera #3860 Stand Adapter. The light can be shaped with the adjustable black skirt, adding a glow where you desire a small to moderate area of soft accent light.

For the last 10 years I've been on the faculty at the Television Film and New Media department at San Diego State University teaching cinematography and advanced filmmaking to both undergrads and grad students.

Doc Work
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