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#1 Mario C. Jackson

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Posted 29 March 2006 - 10:28 AM

Hey guys, I have been wondering about how a dp goes about choosing a gaffer and what would be a an ideal (lol) relationship between the two.
thanks
Mario Concepcion Jackson
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#2 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 29 March 2006 - 06:48 PM

I have a crew list that I submit to producers where I list all the key crew members I like to work with. Basically gaffer, focus puller, clapper/loader, grip and so on (I even have a sound guy on it). Every job description has at least 2 names on it, but sometimes more. That's because I don't have one favourite, but several. It's also in case some of them are not available and we need redundancy.

When it comes to gaffers I have about 5 names. I have two fav's that are at the top, but they're all really as equally good. Just different styles. My two favourites are kind of around their early 30's yet very experienced and very energetic. But most importantly for me, they are my creative partners. I can ask their advice, they can make suggestions and hone a light list to suit the look we've talked about and so on. And they can save my ass sometimes with their experience.

I don't work very well with gaffers who are more set in the old master/servant way of filmmaking. I want input. I want them to think about lighting as much as I do and not just placing out lamps or running feeds.

A gaffer is the second DP on the set, in some ways. At least that's how I like to think about it.
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#3 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 29 March 2006 - 11:46 PM

I think how you choose a gaffer really depends on how comfortable and or interested you are in the lighting end of cinematography. Some D.P's are more interested in camera placement and lenses while they are less interested in the lighting in the scene as long as they have enough stop for focus without it being totally flat. Most good DP's pay attention to both. But it's this scale that sort of determines how much creative input a gaffer will have on the film. Is the DP more into camera or light?

Camera guys rely on a gaffer that does more than handle electric. They look for someone with an eye for color and contrast and a sensitivity to the quality of the light. I really just look for a Gaffer that can safely handle the electric load on set and also has some grip experience. I'm always open to their input creatively but I don't really rely on it.

Edited by Michael LaVoie, 29 March 2006 - 11:48 PM.

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#4 Hal Smith

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Posted 30 March 2006 - 12:14 AM

I've been somewhat fascinated by the creative collaboration that Dion Beebe formed with Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer during the filming of "Chicago". A top Cinematographer was working with a Broadway lighting designer team who have a mantle full of Tony's (and Dion now has his Oscar). They both talk glowingly about how fruitful the project was for both sides of the equation. Dion being a film guy had never worked with preprogrammed intelligent lighting with lighting cues being called in real time as was done in the fantasy musical numbers, and Jules and Peggy enjoyed watching Dion's professionalism in action.

Maybe there will be future where DP's and LD's will work more often as collaborative equals - it sure worked on "Chicago".
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#5 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 30 March 2006 - 02:49 AM

There are two types of gaffers: gaffers that know HOW and gaffers that know HOW and WHY. The latter are the ones I prefer to work with. A gaffer should be cool under pressure, dynamic and passionate about light.
I avoid people that are just executants that offer no creative input.
To fell that there is a real collaboration and not a tug of war is very important especially when working with gaffers that have lots more experience.
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#6 timHealy

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Posted 30 March 2006 - 03:48 AM

I think it really varies. There are many DP's who are very exact and ask for a specific light for a specific job. Then there are DP's who may come from the camera side or for whatever reason may be a much less experienced lighter and REALLY depend on a good gaffer. But the truth lies somewhere in between.

There are a great many gaffers who could and should be DP's in their own right but for whatever reason have trouble breaking into the next level and staying there.

Best

Tim
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#7 Stephen Williams

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Posted 30 March 2006 - 04:28 AM

There are a great many gaffers who could and should be DP's in their own right but for whatever reason have trouble breaking into the next level and staying there.

Best

Tim


Hi,

I know one who should be a DP but does not want the added responsibility.

Stephen
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#8 Mario C. Jackson

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 08:36 AM

Guys I appreciat the input.
Thanks
Mario Concepcion Jackson
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