Southern California native Russell Carpenter became established as a leading TV cinematographer, earning a pair of Emmy Awards for his documentary work in the San Diego area. He segued to the big screen providing sleek visuals for such horror and fantasy outings as "Sole Survivor" (1984), "Lady in White", "Critters 2: The Main Course" and "Cameron's Closet" (all 1988). "The Lawnmower Man" (1992) proved his versatility and was a blend of photography and computer-generated effects that created a simulation of virtual reality. His pyrotechnics on this effort led John Woo to tap him for "Hard Target" (1993). James Cameron utilized the cinematographer's skill for the opulent set pieces in the action-packed "True Lies" (1994). Carpenter faced numerous challenges in shooting the opening chase sequences (a horse in pursuit of a motorcycle through a hotel) and especially the final scenes which featured a Harrier vertical-takeoff plane hovering over a Florida high rise, a missile, a helicopter and a fiery finale.