Harry Mathias

Harry Mathias.Office: HGH 220
(408) 924-4550

Harry Mathias (MA, BA, San Francisco State University) was the director of photography on feature films, network TV dramatic shows, documentaries, TV and political commercials, and music videos. He is schooled in the classical Hollywood movie traditions of cinematography and lighting and has collaborated with some of the greatest names in the cinema industry. His feature film projects have included drama, comedy, action, and special-effects movies. He was nominated for Oscar for Solly's Diner by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1980.

Professor Mathias was also active in the San Francisco avant-garde filmmaking movement. He won a Golden Eagle Award for his documentary about homeless teenagers, Shadow Children. He has filmed documentaries for BBC, CBC, ABC, NBC, CBS, and Swedish Television, as well as KPIX, KQED, and KGO in San Francisco.

Equally skilled in digital cinema technology, Professor Mathias was the senior technical executive at NEC Digital Cinema; the founding top executive of Barco digital cinema; the Director of Motion Picture Technology, worldwide, at Schneider Optics; and the Senior Consultant to four of the CEOs of Panavision. He is a founding member of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) DC28 and 21DC Digital Cinema standards group. He was made a Life Fellow of the Society for his digital cinema standards work. He has been elected as Director of International Cinema Technology Association for two terms.

Professor Mathias is author of: The Death & Rebirth of Cinema: Mastering The Art of Cinematography in The Digital Cinema Age, published by Waterfront Press, on Dec. 2015, ISBN 978-1943625147 and Electronic Cinematography: Achieving Photographic Control over the Video Image and Cinematografia Electronica; translated into Greek and published as Hilektroniki Kinimatografia, in 2006, and distributed worldwide. He was a contributing author (along with former Vice President Al Gore) to HDTV: The Politics, Policies, and Economics of Tomorrow's Television; and a contributing author to The American Cinematographer Manual, American Cinematographer Video Manual, and the SMPTE book Television Image Quality.

Professor Mathias has written four peer-reviewed Journal articles for SMPTE and other industry scientific organizations. He also wrote numerous articles and published studies for each of the following magazines: The International Photographer, The BKST Journal, Film Journal International, Box Office, On Location, American Cinematographer, and Video Systems Magazines, on which he was the Contributing Editor from 1978 to 1980. 

Professor Mathias has given more than 76 invited lectures on film technology and digital cinema worldwide. He also has moderated discussion panels, and for six years toured Internationally to give weeklong seminars on Digital Cinema and Film Image Control Techniques.

Professor Mathias’ academic teaching career has included being the Chair of The Film Department and a professor at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, and he has taught at the University of California, Los Angeles; the University of Southern California; Stanford University; American University; the American Film Institute; the Swedish Film Institute; and the Directors Guild of America’s Forum for Continuing Education.

Professor Mathias has also taught recent master classes at Baylor University; San Francisco State University; The Banff Centre of the Arts, University of Alberta, Canada; Presented an invited paper at the IMAGO International conference on teaching and researching Cinematography in Belgium (IMAGO is the International Federation of Cinematographers), International Cinema Technology Association in Los Angeles; and The International Moving Image Society in London, UK.

Some of his film credits include:

Feature Films as Director of Photography
The Grand Tour, One More Shot, Unbecoming Age, Ernest Goes to Camp, Beverly Hills Brats, My Chauffeur, Creature, White Bird, and Solly's Diner (Academy Award Nominee, 1980).

Feature Films as Second Unit Director of Photography
The Right Stuff; Officer and a Gentleman; Annie; One from the Heart; Blue Thunder; The Outsiders (served as camera operator); Man, Woman and Child; White Dog; Looking to Get Out; Airplane; Escape from Alcatraz

Television Movies as Director of Photography
Someone Else's Child (ABC), Fatal Vows (CBS), Betrayed by Love (ABC), Dream Date (NBC), Your Mother Wears Combat Boots (NBC), Bigfoot (Disney), Timestalkers (CBS), Shannon (Pilot), and Between the Lines (Pilot)

Music Videos or Concerts as Director of Photography (selected)
The Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi, Joe Cocker, Earth, Wind, and Fire, George Benson, Journey, Donna Summer, Big Brother and the Holding Company, and The Grateful Dead


Oscar Nomination 1980 Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences for Solly’s Diner. Harry Mathias and Larry Hankin, Producers. Harry Mathias, Director of Photography, Editor.

San Francisco Invitational Film Festival First Place for Washington Square. Harry Mathias, Director, Director of Photography, Editor.

Filmex Award 1981 at the Los Angeles Film Expo Solly’s Diner. Harry Mathias, Larry Hankin Producers. Harry Mathias, Director of Photography, Editor.

The Allen Award 2005 by the International Cinema Technology Association.

The Allen Award 2007 by the International Cinema Technology Association.

The Cine Golden Eagle Award 1991 for Best Documentary, Shadow Children, a documentary about homeless teenagers on the streets in Berkeley. Harry Mathias, Director.