Veteran technician Michael Acuna joined Chicago-based Daufenbach Camera motion picture equipment rental company in March.
With eleven years experience servicing Chicago’s film industry, the co-owner of the former Schumacher camera brings a wealth of homegrown expertise and local knowledge to one of the only Chicago-based equipment rental houses capable of outfitting large crews with state of the art gear.
“I am excited to join Daufenbach and assist in growing the business,” says Acuna. “By partnering with Daufenbach Camera, I will be able to provide continued service to Schumacher’s long-time clients, which is very important to me.”
Acuna developed a reputation for building custom camera packages and training personnel in the use of high-end digital equipment during his years at Schumacher, which officially shuttered this month. The company’s credits during that time include Chicago shoots for CBS’ CSI New York, The Dark Knight (Batman) and dozens of national commercials.
He joins Daufenbach’s eight full time staffers and three interns. His responsibilities will include overseeing camera maintenance, servicing, maintaining, troubleshooting, managing inventory and repairing a variety of cameras and lenses.
“We are very excited to have Michael in the Daufenbach family,” says Lawrence Daufenbach, founder, CEO and Director of Operations at Daufenbach. “He’s been working for 23 years in the industry. He has a wealth of knowledge in cinematography technology and a lengthy track record for providing customers with the right gear to complete projects on time and on budget. He knows the gear.”
Acuna will also lead Daufenbach’s technical training program, sharing a degree of proven expertise that Daufenbach acknowledges is among the best in the business.
“A lot of guys who Michael has trained over the years are respected professionals on some of Chicago’s most respected crews,” he says. Today, many of the alumni that he nurtured through the Schumacher training program can be found among Chicago’s most successful crews.
The two camera houses frequently provided sub-rentals to one another in the past. The experience helped assure Acuna that Daufenbach has the chops to provide his former clients with the same level of service provided by Schumacher. It also strengthens their joint commitment to enhancing Chicago’s film community.
“When we buy equipment, we reinvest in the city,” explains Daufenbach, who is committed to building “the largest readily-available inventory in Chicago.”
“Our gear lives here. It isn’t shared with other branches.”
In addition to outfitting most of the features that come through Chicago film incubator Stage 18, Daufenbach equipped two films making highly anticipated world premieres at SXSW this week: Signature Move, a Chicago-based romcom produced by Brian Hieggelke, Fawzia Mirza and Eugene Sun Park; and Small Town Crime, an LA indie thriller.
Current projects shooting on Daufenbach supplies include What They Had. Due to start prepping next week, the indie feature starring Hillar Swank will be shot with Hawk anamorphic lenses, which Daufenbach describes as “some of the top in the world.”
Besides expertise and equipment, Daufenbach believes that his company’s passion for local production motivates filmmakers to come his way.
He spent years renting his own personal Panasonic DVX100 to filmmaking friends before founding Daufenbach Camera in his Logan Square apartment in 2009.
After realizing that “there wasn’t a really good place for operators and technicians to learn about new cameras,” he offered the service to fellow cinematographers and camera assistants in Chicago Local 600. Before long, word spread that this was the place to rent and learn.
Since moving to its current location at 320 N. Damen, Daufenbach’s team has trained many of the local school programs new to the digital cameras, including the core film faculty at Columbia College.
www.daufenbachcamera.com · 320 N Damen Ave, Suite D201, Chicago, IL · 60612. 312-226-0042.