“Life as a House”: DP’ing Fixer Upper – Part 2

Featured image
AC & DP Apprentice, Peter Leininger, operating the DJI Ronin.

When any show enters its third season it’s easy to play it safe and do what you’ve been doing. Hey, if it’s not broke why fix it?

If you’ve worked with me then you know I am always looking for ways to improve.  So when we started prepping for Season 3 of “Fixer Upper” I looked for ways to make this show even better.

I’m focused on focusing.

One of the b-roll elements on “Fixer Upper” are the point of view (POV) shots. This is the b-roll that mimics what the home owners, Chip and Jo would see as they walked through the houses during the Real Estate Day portion of the show.

During Season 1 we used our camera rig and walked with the camera over the shoulder through the houses.

When Season 2 rolled around we went with the 5D mark 2 on a Glide-cam rig.  Now Season 3 meant another opportunity to kick it up a notch!

Camera stabilization rigs have never been more affordable.  We decided to purchase a DJI Ronin rig for this season and it works beautifully. The setup and operation did not take too long to master.

We also updated our 5D this year, opting for a 5D mark 3.  The combination gets the job done.  The results have been stunning and will definitely boost the production value of “Fixer Upper”.

In addition to using the DJI Ronin for POV shots, we also use the rig for shots leading and following talent in scenes. On top of that, we’ve found that the Ronin/5D rig works well for shooting car to car b-roll and neighborhood driving b-roll.  We’re always looking for new ways to use the DJI Ronin.


Adding new gear doesn’t always make sense but in this case it did.  My AC/DP Apprentice, Peter Leininger and I are huge fans of the Ronin.

We love pulling this rig out and putting it to work.  However, we’re always a little surprised at how good the results are.

Peter has literally hit tree branches while shooting with this rig and you couldn’t even tell during play back.  I can’t wait to see the Ronin footage throughout Season 3 of “Fixer Upper”.


– Roger Woodruff

Director of Photography

“On Set Selfie” (We find weird things all the time in Waco.