Before shooting began in the summer of 1924, the cautious Mikhin began breaking Eisenstein in on the technical aspects of the film studio, and chose the people to work with him. He introduced Eisenstein to twenty-seven-year-old Edouard Tisse [alternative spellings: Eduard Tisse; Edward Tisse; Eduard Tissé Edward Tissé], a camerman who had distinguished himself in newsreel work during the Civil War. In 1918, Tisse shot the first Soviet feature, Signal, and a film about Soviet Latvia the following year for Vertov's Kino-Glaz group.
There is so much mystery surrounding Tisse's origins that many false statements about them have been pritned. He was said to have been born in Latvia of a Swedish father and Russian mother (or vice versa). Because of his name, people presumed him to be French, putting an acute accent on the final 'e'. Even more confusing was the fact that Eisenstein referred to him as 'The German'.
Tisse was born Kazimirovich Nikolaitis in Lithuania of Catholic Lithuanian parents; his father was Kazimir Nikolaitis, and his mother was of Swedish extraction. For some reason, the son took the name Edouard, changed his surname to Tisse, and claimed to be German. (Later, in the early 1930s, when it was extremely unpopular to be German, he explained that a mistake had been made, and that he was really Lithuanian.)