James Ball is a Director of Photography based out of the Washington, DC area for over 20 years. He combines his skills in verité documentary, commercial, and narrative worlds on a wide array of projects, from big-budget spots with large crews, to more intimate doc shoots done on a shoestring. Jim began his shooting career gradually over 25 years ago, migrating to DP from an earlier career as a camera assistant. His first long-form credits were with the National Geographic Channel, with the series “Is It Real?”, and blue-chip specials such as “The Incredible Human Machine” and “The Human Family Tree”. This led to relationships with other clients such as Discovery Channel, PBS, Smithsonian Channel, HBO, and dozens of commercial, non-profit, web, and cable TV producers.
His work has brought him to all corners of the globe, from island-hopping in the South Pacific to off-roading in the Yukon Territories. He’s experienced diverse cultures from the Hadzabi tribes of Tanzania to the uncontacted peoples of the Peruvian Amazon. No matter the location, he’s always looking to collaborate with others in service of a great story.
Jim is a member of the International Cinematographer’s Guild, Local 600 as a Steadicam/Camera Operator. Much of his union work includes dayplaying on TV shows, and feature films, and commercials as they come through the Washington, Baltimore, and Virginia markets.
In recent years, Jim has also served as Director of Photography on multi-camera, live-to-tape studio productions for the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, and the Science Channel.
Jim recently finished shooting a season of "Closer to Truth" for PBS, and a special for Smithsonian/PBS titled "Lineage".