(written from a Production point of view)
Narita was born as Hiro Morikawa in Seoul, Korea and raised in Japan and Hawaii. He studied graphic art and story illustration at the San Francisco Art Institute before venturing into cinematography. After serving as a designer and photographer in the US Army from 1964 through 1966, Narita apprenticed under director and cinematographer John Korty for over three years. The two first worked together on the Academy Award-winning 1972 film The Candidate.
It was John Korty who gave Narita his first work as cinematographer, the 1976 NBC made-for-television movie Farewell to Manzanar, for which Narita received his first Emmy Award nomination. Clyde Kusatsu and James Saito were part of the cast of this production.
In the early 1980s, Narita was a cinematographer for such TV movies as the 1984 John Korty-directed thriller The Haunting Passion (which featured Paul Rossilli), the 1984 adaptation of Solomon Northrup's Odyssey (which starred Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's Avery Brooks in the title role), and 1985's Go Tell It On the Mountain (which starred Paul Winfield). He later photographed the 1989 NBC drama Mothers, Daughters and Lovers, which featured Jim Beaver, Jack Blessing, and Robert Duncan McNeill, and and the 1991 ABC science fiction drama Plymouth, which co-starred Jerry Hardin.
In 1992, Narita photographed an episode of the HBO horror anthology series Tales from the Crpyt, which features the voice of John Kassir as the Crpyt Keeper. Narita then reunited with John Korty for the 1993 movie They, after which he worked on the TV movie Long Shadows, which starred Matt Frewer. His more recent TV works include the 2000 movie Dirty Pictures and the 2001 special Half Past Autumn: The Life and Works of Gordon Parks, both of which garnered him Emmy nominations. He was also cinematographer on the pilot for the WB series Gilmore Girls.
Narita was a director of photography on the musical documentaries The Last Waltz and Rust Never Sleeps and a camera operator on the acclaimed films Apocalypse Now and More American Graffiti. He also worked as an additional cameraman on the hit 1983 films The Right Stuff and Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi.
His first feature film as cinematographer was the 1983 Disney adventure Never Cry Wolf, which earned him a number of awards, including the 1983 National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Cinematography. He later directed photography several other Disney films, including Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (starring Matt Frewer), The Rocketeer (featuring Bill Campbell, Max Grodénchik, Darryl Henriques, Clint Howard, Ed Lauter, Terry O'Quinn, Tiny Ron, and Paul Sorvino), Hocus Pocus (starring Charles Rocket), and James and the Giant Peach (featuring Steven Culp). He also served as the live-action director of photography for Tummy Trouble and Rollercoaster Rabbit, two animated short films based on the motion picture Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
Narita's other feature film credits as Director of Photography include the 1985 drama Prince Jack (whose cast included Theodore Bikel, Kenneth Mars, and William Windom), the 1986 romantic drama Fire with Fire (which featured Virginia Madsen and Tim Russ), the 1994 action film Gunmen (which starred Patrick Stewart), the 1996 science fiction thriller The Arrival, the 1997 thriller Sub Down (featuring Tony Plana and Nikki Cox), and 1999's Fortress 2 (co-starring Beth Toussaint and Willie Garson). He was later the Second Unit Director of Photography on the films The Time Machine (whose screenplay was written by John Logan), The Scorpion King (which starred The Rock and featured Branscombe Richmond), and Anger Management.
More recently, Narita was the Director of Photography on the 2006 films The Darwin Awards (starring Winona Ryder) and Valley of the Heart's Delight (starring Bruce McGill). He was also the camera operator on the episode of the talk show Shrink Wrap which focused on Robin Williams.