Hartland Photographer Played Large Role in Shooting 'Making a Murderer'

For aerial photographer Curtis waltz, the majority of his work is done in the air, shooting still photography for commercial real-estate. 

But in 2013, he received a different call, asking if he'd be interested in shooting video for a documentary. 

His instructions, shoot aerial video of the Manitowoc County Jail, courthouse, and Steven Avery property, but he wasn't told what that video was for. 

      "I asked them gosh is this going to be national, is this going to be on PBS?", says Waltz. "They just kind of laughed, and looked at me and said oh no, much bigger." 

The process spanned a full year, featuring two shoots in October and another in March. In total, he shot over 10 hours of video for the documentary. It was over two years later in December, that he finally discovered what that video was for.

     "It was a complete surprise as to where it all went," he says. 

Using a camera rig, Waltz shot the video through an open door, communicating with pilots to get the perfect shot.  

     "We're actually flying the helicopter sideways, so the cameras moving straight. And then for example as we go over the courthouse, the pilot will tilt the helicopter to get that vertical scene 

Throughout the process he worked with two pilots, Jeff Klatt and Kandace Rawling. The two shoots in October were done with Klatt. 

     "They had some very specific requests for what they wanted to shoot," says Klatt of the filmmakers. 

He's the lone member of the group who's seen the series in its entirety. 

     "My wife and I were watching it, and I could see these scenes that I recall shooting so vividly but had kind of forgotten about," he says. "You get this rush of that memory, and oh ya, I remember doing that!" 

The video with snow on the ground was shot with Rawling, in single-digit temperatures above Manitowoc. 

     "I was dressed like the abominable snow-woman, and I was still freezing to death," she says. 

Waltz' name is the one you'll see in the credits, but he's quick to give credit where its due.

     "They make me look good i guess is the bottom line," he says. 

Waltz says he has no plans to leverage his new found fame into a Hollywood career, but he hopes the work adds some credibility to his work here in Southeast Wisconsin. 

Waltz owns Aerialscapes Inc., which flies out of Lakeshore Helicopter in Kenosha. 

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