Bill's Career Convergence

Bill Williams - President & CEO, A Cut Above Video Productions, Inc.
December 2004

A very long cold experience, but well worth it was December 20 & 21, 2004. James Neihouse, an IMAX cinematographer, was asked to provide 35 mm film support and video support for the first launch of United Launch Alliance’s Delta IV Heavy rocket. James asked me to assist with the film equipment setup and cover the video support needed.

Being a space enthusiast and having previously worked in the aerospace industry for many years as a missile guidance engineer, I jumped at the chance to get up close and personal with the biggest baddest rocket the United States had launched in decades. Even heavier payload capacity than the Space Shuttle.

The effort started with a lot of heavy lifting of our own. Some of that 35 mm film equipment and support gear had to be carried and lifted to the launch support tower, an observation tower and a nearby blockhouse. The final setup for the film equipment was done about 4:00 AM, and it was very cold.

The first day encountered some issues and the launch was postponed until December 21, when we repeated a lot of the setup process. At the end of that setup on Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and after the pad was largely evacuated prior to arming the rocket, I was asked to get some final video of the Delta IV Heavy on the pad.

Wow! What an opportunity for a space nut. There I was, alone with my camera on the pad taking video of this monster rocket, 236 feet high, hours before it was to be launched. Just before we left the pad James asked if I would like a picture of the setup. So here is the only picture I have of what we did that day, just before we packed my van and left the pad about 5:00 AM on December 21, 2004.

BTW, I called my mom later that morning to tell her what I was up to that day.


© 2004 Bill Williams
A Cut Above Video Productions, Inc.