James Stier

James’s professional life is a balance of two roles. By day he is a Manchester based, freelance lighting camera operator and project director. Slowly earning his cinematographer stripes on larger, more complicated productions with bigger crews.

By night he is a filmmaker at Ronin; directing stories that resonate with him personally. James has two award-winning TV and theatrical features under his belt and is in pre-production on his third.


Growing up in a small village near Sheffield, South Yorkshire, James never really enjoyed school and subsequently had a misspent youth taking photographs and making films. He was quiet, shy and introvert yet found filmmaking and photography as a way of connecting with people and seeing the world. He became influenced by photographers, writers, explorers and documentary filmmakers; leading to an obsession with travel and visual storytelling.

After graduating James was offered a position at Apple supporting professional clients and developing core IT skills in creative applications. A little over a year later he was knee deep in snow, walking across the Himalayas as a camera operator on a pilot documentary. This inspired him to join the RAF in 2009, winning the JHC award for best photographer in 2010 alongside four service awards in 2011.

Alongside a military career, James had begun building a video production company creating brand documentaries for the 3rd sector. This led to the development of two features, the first set on a remote island called Anholt. The second, a 4-year production about the last fisherman in the Rame Peninsula of Cornwall - featured on BBC Countryfile and recently winning the Coastal Culture Award at SIOFF and Best Doc at Snowdance.

His last large project as producer/camera operator was shooting 4 British cancer survivors taking part in the worlds hardest ultra marathon cycle race across America.