Shane Hurlbut

Shane Hurlbut, ASC (born 1964) is an American cinematographer. Originally from Ithaca, New York, he grew up near Cayuga Lake, and graduated from Southern Cayuga High School in 1982. Hurlbut studied film at Emerson College, graduating with a degree in film and television in 1986. His early career included work on music videos for Gloria Estefan and Smashing Pumpkins. He met director Rob Cohen while working on a music video for the 1996 disaster film Daylight, and again worked with Cohen as cinematographer for the television pilot of The Guardian.

Shane Hurlbut
Born1964 (age 57–58)[1]
United States
Other namesL. Shane Hurlbut[2]
Alma materEmerson College
Herkimer County Community College
Southern Cayuga High School
Spouse(s)Lydia Kunkler[1]

Hurlbut received a nomination for an award from the American Society of Cinematographers for his work as director of cinematography on the 1998 television movie The Rat Pack – he was the youngest cinematographer ever to have been nominated for an American Society of Cinematographers award for a debut film.

He has received positive comments from film critics for his cinematography work on films including Drumline and Mr. 3000, and in a review of the film Into the Blue Roger Ebert highlighted Hurlbut's work. In a review of the 2005 film The Greatest Game Ever Played Joan E. Vadeboncoeur of The Post-Standard described Hurlbut as a "splendid cinematographer" who contributed "beauty and atmosphere" to the film's shots. His work on the 2006 romantic comedy Something New where he collaborated with director Sanaa Hamri was positively received in The Times-Picayune and The Journal News, and his cinematography work on the 2006 film Waist Deep with director Vondie Curtis-Hall was well received in The Seattle Times.

Early lifeEdit

Hurlbut was raised in Ithaca, New York.[3] His mother taught sixth grade, and his father worked as a professor's assistant at Cornell University.[4] He grew up on a 250-acre (1.0 km2) farm in Aurora, New York near Cayuga Lake, and graduated from Southern Cayuga High School in 1982.[1][5] He married Lydia Kunkler, a fellow graduate of Southern Cayuga.[1]

Hurlbut attended Herkimer County Community College, graduating with a degree in radio and television broadcasting in 1984,[6] and he was inducted into the Alumni Hall of Honor by the Herkimer County Community College Alumni Association on April 4, 2008.[7] Hurlbut received a bachelor's degree from Emerson College, where he majored in film and television.[4] He graduated from Emerson College in 1986.[8]



Hurlbut moved to Los Angeles in 1987, where he began work in film as a driver, key grip, and gaffer, before becoming a cinematographer.[4] He was a grip truck driver for the 1988 film Phantasm II.[9] His early career included work on music videos for Gloria Estefan and Smashing Pumpkins, photo shoot work with photographer Herb Ritts for an April 1997 Absolut Vodka spread in Vogue magazine, and work on a Nissan "Enjoy the Ride" commercial.[1] He met director Rob Cohen while working on the Donna Summer/Bruce Roberts music video for the 1996 disaster film Daylight.[10] Hurlbut again worked with Cohen as cinematographer for the 1997 NBC television pilot The Guardian.[1][10] In 1997 Hurlbut's career focused on light as applied to photography and film, and he owned a lighting business in Pasadena, California.[1] Hurlbut assisted friends from Southern Cayuga in their film careers, including Dan Wade and Tim Carr.[1]

Cohen selected Hurlbut as his cinematographer for the 1998 television movie The Rat Pack,[10] which was Hurlbut's feature film debut.[8] His lighting style for the movie was heavily influenced by the glamour photography of George Hurrell.[11] Hurlbut received a nomination for an award from the American Society of Cinematographers for his cinematography work on the movie, becoming the youngest cinematographer ever to have been nominated for an American Society of Cinematographers award for a debut film.[3][12] Hurlbut worked again with Cohen on the 2000 film The Skulls, which was his first theatrical feature film.[4]

He received positive comments for his work on the 2002 film Drumline,[13][14] directed by Charles Stone III.[15] Lou Lumenick of the New York Post wrote that the film was "Handsomely photographed by Shane Hurlbut".[13] "With 300 students dancing, running, jumping, singing and playing, Stone and cinematographer Shane Hurlbut bring you right inside the brassy band, nudged between the tubas, saxophones and clarinets," wrote Clint O'Connor of The Plain Dealer.[14] Charles Taylor of Salon commented "The movie was shot by Shane Hurlbut and none of the shots call attention to themselves. Instead you're struck by the beauty of watching a row of drummers' hands as they blur with the rhythm their sticks are beating out."[16] Hurlbut worked with director Barry Levinson, as cinematographer for The Adventures of Seinfeld & Superman advertisements for American Express.[8]

In 2004, Hurlbut teamed up with director Charles Stone III again to work on the film Mr. 3000.[17] In a positive review of the film, Harper Barnes of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch highlighted Hurlbut, noting he had previously worked with the film's editor, Bill Pankow, on Drumline.[18] In a review of Mr. 3000 for The Manhattan Mercury, arts critic G.W. Clift specifically highlighted Hurlbut's work on the film, commenting: "Mr. 3000 has several attractions, even unexpected ones like Shane Hurlbut's heart-stopping photography. ... one doesn't mind that it lingers over scenes, in part because the scenes look so very good."[19] In his review Mr. 3000 for the Intelligencer Journal, Jack Roberts also highlighted Hurlbut's work on the film.[20]


Hurlbut's cinematography work on the 2005 film Into the Blue received positive reception from film critic Roger Ebert.[21] In a review of Into the Blue for the San Francisco Chronicle, Peter Hartlaub noted "director of photography Shane Hurlbut does some nice work in tight places".[22] Lou Lumenick wrote in the New York Post that the "watery interludes" in Into the Blue were "gorgeously photographed by Shane Hurlbut".[23] Though Associated Press writer David Germain gave a negative review overall of Into the Blue, he wrote positively of Hurlbut's cinematography work, commenting: "Shane Hurlbut's cinematography buoys the movie, but his lovely pictures of the actors swimming among jellyfish and shimmery aquatic vegetation cannot compensate for everything else."[24]

Bob Strauss of the Los Angeles Daily News also wrote positively of Hurlbut's work in his review of Into the Blue, writing: "The undersea photography, much of it shot amid schools of wild sharks, is exquisite..."[25] Strauss also commented positively on Hurlbut's work on the 2005 film The Greatest Game Ever Played, writing he "does a great job of making golf look cinematic".[25] Soren Andersen of The News Tribune wrote of Hurlbut's work on The Greatest Game Ever Played: "Shot by cinematographer Shane Hurlbut, the picture is extraordinarily handsome, with its velvety green fairways and its burnished, candlelit interiors."[26] Joan E. Vadeboncoeur of The Post-Standard was critical of the film's script, but praised Hurlbut's work: "Director Bill Paxton does have a splendid cinematographer, Shane Hurlbut, contributing beauty and atmosphere."[27]

In 2005, Hurlbut became the first cinematographer to utilize the InDI process developed by LaserPacific, while working on the film Something New.[28] In 2006, Hurlbut became a member of the American Society of Cinematographers.[5] Hurlbut's cinematography work on the 2006 romantic comedy was positively received by film critic Michael H. Kleinschrodt of The Times-Picayune, who wrote: "Cinematographer Shane Hurlbut finds interesting angles from which to shoot and photographs a formal cotillion with panache."[29] Kevin Canfield of The Journal News noted that Hurlbut assisted director Sanaa Hamri with "one lovely scene of the lovers bathed in the orangy light of morning and another, shot from overhead, of couples twirling on a dance floor".[30]

Hurlbut worked on the 2006 film Waist Deep with director Vondie Curtis-Hall, and Tom Keogh of The Seattle Times described their work on shots prior to a kidnapping scene in the film as "close to breathtaking".[31] Hurlbut worked as cinematographer on the 2008 film Semi-Pro starring Will Ferrell, and Steven Boone of The Star-Ledger noted: "...Shane Hurlbut's widescreen sports cinematography does conspire with two notorious disco covers of classical music to give us a thrill along with the cheap laughs."[32] Hurlbut collaborated with director McG as director of photography on the 2006 film We Are Marshall.[33] Hurlbut and McG decided to use vintage lenses and film stock from the time period to evoke a feeling of the 1970s.[33]

In 2008, Hurlbut again worked with director McG, as director of photography on the film Terminator Salvation.[34] During shooting for the film in July 2008, Hurlbut was the victim of a profane tirade from actor Christian Bale, who scolded Hurlbut for walking into a scene involving Bale and actress Bryce Dallas Howard.[34][35] Hurlbut responded calmly and apologized several times to Bale, and continued shooting for seven hours after the incident.[34][36][37] On February 6, 2009, Bale told KROQ-FM radio that he and Hurlbut talked after the incident and "resolved this completely".[38] Bale acknowledged the two worked together for several hours after the incident, and "at least a month after that", and noted "I've seen a rough cut of the movie and he has done a wonderful job. It looks fantastic".[38]

Charles Stone III, director of the original "Whassup?" commercial campaign for Anheuser-Busch Budweiser beer, remembered Hurlbut from their work together on Drumline, and contacted him in 2008 to make a video in support of Barack Obama's 2008 campaign for President.[15] The video, "Wassup 2008" was posted to YouTube in October 2008 and received over 1.8 million views.[15]

Additionally, Shane and his wife Lydia Hurlbut started the Hurlbut Academy, an online educational platform and mentoring community dedicated to helping filmmakers become better artists. The Hurlbut Academy will rebrand to the Filmmakers Academy in 2022. [39]

In the fourth quarter of 2021, Shane and Lydia announced the Filmmakers Academy. Along with Cinematography, new courses include "Unscripted Camera Operating: The Playbook" (taught by Sherri Kauk), "Commercial Directing" (taught by Jordan Brady), "How to be a camera assistant" (taught by Derek Edwards), "How to be a DIT" (taught by Derek Johnson), and "How to be a MOVI Tech" (taught by Chris Herr). The Hurlbut Academy will cease operations at 00:00 January 31, 2022 to allow Shane and Lydia to fully focus on the Filmmakers Academy.



Year Title Director Notes
2000 The Skulls Rob Cohen
2001 Crazy/Beautiful John Stockwell
2002 Drumline Charles Stone III
2003 11:14 Greg Marcks
2004 Mr. 3000 Charles Stone III
2005 Into the Blue John Stockwell
The Greatest Game Ever Played Bill Paxton
2006 Something New Sanaa Hamri
Waist Deep Vondie Curtis-Hall
We Are Marshall McG
2008 Semi-Pro Kent Alterman
Swing Vote Joshua Michael Stern
2009 Terminator Salvation McG
2010 Cheech & Chong's Hey Watch This Christian Charles Documentary film
2012 Act of Valor Mike McCoy
Scott Waugh
Deadfall Stefan Ruzowitzky
2014 Need for Speed Scott Waugh
2015 Fathers and Daughters Gabriele Muccino
2017 The Adventurers Stephen Fung
The Babysitter McG
2018 There's No Place Like Home Gabriele Muccino
2019 Rim of the World McG
2020 Holidate John Whitesell
2020 Safety Reginald Hudlin
2021 Love Hard Hernán Jiménez
2022 Tall Girl 2 Emily Ting

Short film

Year Title Director Notes
1998 The Robber Michael Mayer
2005 The Bet Charles Stone III
2007 The Reckoning Robert D. Lawe
2010 The Last 3 Minutes Po Chan Also producer
2012 The Ticket


Year Title Director Notes
1997 The Guardian Rob Cohen TV movie
1998 The Rat Pack TV movie
Nominated- ASC Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography
2015 Into the Badlands David Dobkin
Guy Ferland
6 episodes
2021 Resident Alien David Dobkin Episode "Pilot"


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Tobin, David (May 22, 1997). "Local success story". The Post-Standard. The Herald Company. p. 7.
  2. ^ Scott, A. O. (2009). "Shane Hurlbut". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Baseline & All Movie Guide. Archived from the original on 2009-02-08. Retrieved 2009-02-04.
  3. ^ a b Vadeboncoeur, Joan E. (July 7, 2006). "Ex-Ithacan works on film". The Post-Standard. The Herald Company. p. E2.
  4. ^ a b c d Fisher, Bob (2008). "KODAK: Shane Hurlbut, ASC OnFilm Interview". OnFilm Interviews. Kodak. Retrieved 2009-02-04.
  5. ^ a b American Cinematographer staff (October 1, 2006). "New ASC Members". American Cinematographer. Los Angeles, California, United States: American Society of Cinematographers. 87 (10): 118. ISSN 0002-7928.
  6. ^ "Shane Hurlbut – Class of 1984 Radio-TV Broadcasting". Distinguished Alumni. Herkimer County Community College. 2008.
  7. ^ Ruffing, Rebecca (April 10, 2008). "Hall of Honor Induction". HCCC News. Herkimer County Community College.
  8. ^ a b c "Filmmaking is Awash with Emerson Alumni". Emersonians in the News. Emerson College. December 2006.
  9. ^ "Alum Cinematographer Works on Major Projects". Emersonians in the News. Emerson College. January 2007.
  10. ^ a b c Rogers, Pauline (August 1998). "Play It Again: Shane Hurlbut Revives The Glamour of The Rat Pack". International Cinematographers Guild. p. Cover Story. Archived from the original on 2009-02-08. Retrieved 2009-02-04.
  11. ^ Probst, Christopher (May 1, 1999). "Tuned-In Talents". American Cinematographer. Los Angeles, California, United States: American Society of Cinematographers. 80 (5): 105. ISSN 0002-7928.
  12. ^ "Shane Hurlbut ASC". MZed. Retrieved 2019-10-14.
  13. ^ a b Lumenick, Lou (December 13, 2002). "A Beat With Heat". New York Post. p. 058.
  14. ^ a b O'Connor, Clint (December 13, 2002). "'Drumline' director, actors are on a roll in band flick". The Plain Dealer. p. 33.
  15. ^ a b c Helm, Burt (October 27, 2008). "Who's behind the "Wassup 2008" Obama ad? Not Budweiser". BusinessWeek. The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc. Retrieved 2009-02-04.
  16. ^ Taylor, Charles (January 10, 2003). ""Drumline" – The surprise of an overcrowded season, this rousing marching-band drama introduces a talented young director – and packs a wallop". Salon. Retrieved 2009-02-04.
  17. ^ Miller, Marci (September 22, 2004). "Movie Review: Mr 3000". Mountain Xpress. Retrieved 2009-02-04.
  18. ^ Harper, Barnes (September 17, 2004). ""Mr. 3000" may not homer, but it scores". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. E03.
  19. ^ Clift, G.W. (September 29, 2004). "Mr. 3000' not worthy of its great photography". The Manhattan Mercury. p. B4.
  20. ^ Roberts, Jack (February 25, 2005). "'Mr. 3,000' a solid hit, but not out of the park". Intelligencer Journal. p. 7.
  21. ^ Ebert, Roger (September 30, 2005). "Into the Blue". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on 2012-09-23. Retrieved 2009-02-05.
  22. ^ Hartlaub, Peter (September 30, 2005). "Sunken treasure story's not too deep, but nice and salty". San Francisco Chronicle. p. E5.
  23. ^ Lumenick, Lou (September 30, 2005). "Only Skin Deep – Soggy Story as Skimpy as Albas Bikini; 'Blue' Is Alba Dross". New York Post. p. 039.
  24. ^ Germain, David (Associated Press) (September 30, 2005). "'Into the Blue' is all looks, no brains". The Columbian. p. F6.
  25. ^ a b Strauss, Bob (Los Angeles Daily News) (September 30, 2005). "Pleasures are skin-deep in silly, sexy 'Into the Blue'". Tallahassee Democrat. p. D7.
  26. ^ Andersen, Soren (September 30, 2005). "'Greatest Game' skillfully played – An unheralded young American golfer takes on a seasoned British champion in an impressively intelligent and impeccably acted film". The News Tribune. p. F25.
  27. ^ Vadeboncoeur, Joan E. (October 5, 2005). "'Game' Lacks Script To Be Great Film". The Post-Standard. The Herald Company. p. E5.
  28. ^ Goldman, Michael (November 21, 2005). "From Dailies to DIs". Digital Content Producer. Penton Media, Inc. Archived from the original on February 8, 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-04.
  29. ^ Kleinschrodt, Michael H. (February 3, 2006). "Guess Who's Coming to Garden – 'Something New' has an appealing cast, but production could use another polish". The Times-Picayune. p. 04.
  30. ^ Canfield, Kevin (February 3, 2006). "'Something' not-so new". The Journal News. p. 4K.
  31. ^ Keogh, Tom (June 23, 2006). "Up to their necks in trouble – Movie review". The Seattle Times. Seattle Times Company. p. I18.
  32. ^ Boone, Steven (February 29, 2008). "Typical Ferrell film: Fun, but cheap laughs – Review". The Star-Ledger. p. 24.
  33. ^ a b Olsen, Mark (December 3, 2006). "The Full-Throttle Flash Guy Is Gone (Cue Violins)". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-02-04.
  34. ^ a b c Fox News staff (February 3, 2009). "Christian Bale's F-Word-Laced Verbal Tirade Caught on Tape". Fox News. Archived from the original on May 14, 2013. Retrieved February 4, 2009.
  35. ^ Bryant, Adam (February 3, 2009). "Christian Bale's Verbal Attack Draws Today's Attention". TV Guide. Retrieved 2009-03-10.
  36. ^ Access Hollywood (February 3, 2009). "Christian Bale's profane tirade caught on tape: Actor berates director of photography who walked on set during filming". MSNBC. NBC. Archived from the original on February 6, 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-04.
  37. ^ Inside Track (February 4, 2009). "Outburst reveals Christian Bale's 'Dark' side". Boston Herald. Archived from the original on February 7, 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-04.
  38. ^ a b BBC News staff (February 6, 2009). "Actor Bale speaks out over rant: Film star Christian Bale has called a US radio station to apologise for a tirade which was leaked onto the internet, calling it "inexcusable"". BBC News website. BBC News. Retrieved 2009-02-06.
  39. ^ "Meet Lydia and Shane Hurlbut of Hurlbut Academy in Sherman Oaks". Voyage LA. 2019-12-05.

External linksEdit