Many of you know me as the DP of the SNL Film Unit but I've also shot other TV shows and commercials, and I write & produce feature films and documentaries...I was even nominated for an Oscar in short-filmmaking. But before I was ever a DP I was a camera assistant, where I had a chance to learn from legendary ASC cinematographers like Conrad Hall, Dean Cundey and John Schwartzman. They were so generous with their knowledge and inspired me to someday try to do the same.

That’s why I set out to design this full-day workshop that would teach the most important filmmaking lessons that I’ve learned over the years. We’ll cover current filmmaking technology (there’s a lot to keep up with), but we’ll also learn about one thing that isn’t changing—the principles of visual storytelling. Through it all we’ll dive head first into the secret language of visual structure and outline the core foundations and techniques of cinematography.
"Alex and I have been shooting 2nd Units for each other for 20 years. There’s no one I trust more than him to be my eyes when I can’t be there myself."
Matt Jensen
Director of Photography
(Game of Thrones, Chronicle, True Blood)
Green Street Hooligans
Bigger Stronger Faster*
SNL: Romantic Comedy
SNL: Headz Up
SNL: History of Punk
SNL: Buble Duets
SNL: New Claritin
SNL: Bathroom
SNL: Pacino Promo
Alex is a member of the Canon Explorers of Light program.
You can learn more at the Canon Digital Learning Center.
Articles about my work
Once upon a time, the Saturday Night Live Film Unit –— those responsible for the fake commercials, shorts, title sequences and pre-recorded elements used in sketches — shot on 35mm film stock. 

On the surface that doesn't seem like a big deal, but when you take into account that they were shooting on Friday for a Saturday show, you realize the implications: films labs, telecine sessions and other time-intensive steps. Alex Buono, one of the Film Unit’s primary DPs for the past 12 seasons, remembers it as an “incredibly challenging” workflow.
Saturday Night Live. A weekly network television tradition. An iconic proving ground for generations of top comedic entertainers. The basic format of SNL hasn't changed much since its debut in 1975: topical humor about what's happening at the moment. The opening sketch ends with "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!" Cue the opening title sequence, applause and guest monologue. "We've got a great show for you tonight," is followed by a commercial parody. Enter the SNL Film Unit, where Alex Buono has served as a director of photography since the late 1990s. Almost every week, the Film Unit team is faced with shooting a parody commercial spot that will need to emulate the original as closely as possible, but with a far smaller budget, crew, resources and, most significantly, far less time.
Inside Alex Buono's Toolkit: Shooting 'Saturday Night Live''s Digital Shorts

When a television show runs for more than 37 years, it must be doing something right. Such is the case with NBC’s Saturday Night Live. And when the same director of photography remains involved in the show for more than a decade, he must be just as successful.

Alex Buono shoots an SNL short
Alex Buono joined the show in 1999, having worked as a cinematographer and producer on a number of films. His current role involves working with the show’s film unit, which shoots pre-taped segments for the otherwise live production.
"Alex isn't a cinematographer, he's an artist. He doesn't just get the shot, he makes the shot."
Jeffrey Nachmanoff
Writer/Director (Homeland, Chicago Fire, Traitor)