Jamie Stuart's DSLR-shot 'Idiot with a Tripod' Captures Winter Mayhem

Filmmaker Jamie Stuart hauled out his Canon 7D (and winter parka) during the blizzard that recently slammed the U.S. East coast to film Idiot with a Tripod, a short film depicting New York City getting blanketed in powder. So named in homage to Dziga Vertov's 1929 silent film Man With a Movie Camera, the clip garnered the following praise from Roger Ebert: "this film deserves to win the Academy Award for best live-action short subject." Oscar or not, it's nice to see a clip that's in no way sophomoric go viral. Check it out:

Here's Stuart with the technical details via an e-mail to Ebert:

I shot with my Canon 7D and edited it with Final Cut Pro. Early on, I was able to vary things a little more — I used macro diopters for the close-ups during the day shots, my portable slider for the dolly shots and also, a 75-300 zoom for the rooftop shots. I was more limited at night because of the weather conditions, so I stuck with my 24mm, 50mm and 85mm — all of which are manual Nikon lenses. Which meant that in the middle of that maelstrom I was changing lenses, wiping off the lenses and manually focusing/adjusting each shot.

The 7D is known to have great weatherproofing, and that certainly came in handy on this shoot, which was the rare DSLR production wherein overheating wasn't a problem.

Because Idiot with a Tripod is a homage to Man With a Movie Camera, here's the latter film in full:

Kudos to Jamie for getting some great shots and turning around the clip so quickly. What'd you think?

[via Filmmaker Magazine, Mashable]

You Might Also Like

Your Comment


I'd say Jamie Stuart is definitely NOT an idiot. Very nice piece - great looking shots and fantastic job editing to the music track. Just about as rare as a viral film that isn't sophomoric is a DSLR shooter who actually pays attention to the other half of the filmmaking process - editing! Major props to this guy.

December 30, 2010 at 1:01PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


I loved it!!! Nice to see a pro follow his passion and distribute the film so quickly. Also nice to see something of worth go viral. It falls in line with my philosophy of getting out there and shooting, creating a film/video whenever you feel like it. Inspired to crank out another film. Be back later...

December 30, 2010 at 2:25PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


I do not get it!?

What is all the fuss about? Seriously... it is a montage of shots cut together that any person with a camera could have captured and cut together. Why the hype?

What a waste of 3 minutes of my life.

January 2, 2011 at 2:09PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


"it is a montage of shots cut together that any person with a camera could have captured and cut together. Why the hype?"

...Really? I mean, I understand that you've won seven awards for your short movies, and that's great. And you're a local fellow South African, but really dude? Do you really have to shit all over a FELLOW artist's work, simply because it doesn't have the heart gripping plot of a standard SA film? (that was a joke, by the way)

Maybe being loaned a RED while still calling yourself a student has made you feel like you are in some way set apart from the rest of us, but I don't exactly see how that can be.
Honestly, I think the reason I took the time to write this comment is simple because I'm disappointed in the caliber of some artists these days, but "haters" will always exist, I suppose.

I highly doubt I'll be watching "Eternity" now...

January 4, 2011 at 12:20AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


"Its a montage of shots cut together that any person with a camera could have captured and cut together.Why the hype?
What a waste of 3 minutes of my life."

....Ones own opinion right?

Idiot with a tripod created more emotion within a minute of his video. More emotion than the 1 minute teaser you have posted for Eternity.

A teaser is suppose to generate interest, not how much you spent on the film.

Oo.... look at me, Mr. film student with lots of production value and budget to use big shot Red Cameras and fancy sport cars..

Seriously, where did all the money go to? Sometimes the simpliest things in life are much better than TRYING TOO HARD.

Idiot with a Tripod recieved Robert Eberts attention which he suggested for a possible Oscar nod for a reason.

What has Robert Ebert said about your films and awards? None? I'm just saying....

January 6, 2011 at 6:25PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

Gentleman Jack

Seconded Chris.
The project is a collection of shots created by pressing the record button, basic montage editing and adding a cutesy (some may say infantile) soundtrack. All material was supplied by the 'blizzard'. Many shots are out of context and unfinished in the edit, there is little shot or content continuity or relationship of the music to the fact that 'blizzard' was a very dangerous and deadly event. Definitely not enhanced by the music. The project shows little use of filmic language.

The title should be taken literally, at face value. For that is what Jamies expressed.

Eberts has obviously lost his perspective, never had any, or has another agenda. Who knows, or cares?
In Brendan Behan's words (abr): "Reviewers are like eunuchs in a harem..." etc.

But Jamie - you should keep going as you definitely have an eye for the process.

June 16, 2011 at 6:42PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


I don't get it either....Its a beautiful montage (albeit YouTube compression created a ton of macro blocking :/ ) but seriously its like those famous paintings where its just one streak of a brush and everyones like "Look at this! Its just grand!". Its good but its not something that could keep the focus of someone with ADHD which in this day and age is like 4/5...I mean props for going out in the blizzard but uh..yeah.

November 5, 2012 at 9:48AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

Nate O

Man with a movie camera was my favorite film to write an essay on in my cinematography class :P

January 2, 2011 at 3:44PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

Alexander Miller

That's viral? Too many cameras, too much unemployment.

January 4, 2011 at 10:15AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

P. Mack

A reply to you naysayers: Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts. Your spelling was correct and your ideas were very illuminating about yourselves and your aesthetic senses.

You made it clear that you don't understand what Mr. Stuart was doing, which suggest that you must be, at best, a newbie with little or no connection to the real worlds of professional video and photography and you should refrain from taking part in these dialogues. You embarrass the rest of us.

Do yourselves a favor: Before you offer up any more snide and ignorant snipes, pick up a dictionary - look up "respect". Check the bible for the phrase "...pearls before swine". You're named in that one.

Finally, one of you genius-critic-at-larges asked why he wasted 3 minutes of his precious life....I guess my response to you is: "You wouldn't understand the answer, so why don't you crawl back under your blanket fort where you belong? Don't clog up the real world where the bigger, more talented and committed kids play". Stop wasting everyone's time. Please?

Hugs 'n Kisses,
R.S. Walker

January 14, 2012 at 6:59PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

robert walker

This is just a slide show.

January 18, 2012 at 8:40AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

rob spence

I would have liked to hear the live recorded sounds included. And remember, everybody is not gonna like your work. You might not think much of your own work. The moral of the story is: create and distribute. Who knows who will see it.

July 16, 2012 at 3:02PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

Derrick Phillips