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The role of a gaffer


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#1 cscs

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 06:37 AM

Hi,

I am currently writing a short piece on the role of a gaffer and despite wanting to get a interview with a professional gaffer I haven't had the time.
Therefore I was wondering if any gaffers could tell me a bit about what, in general, their job entails.
For example the most common difficulties they come across on set/location as a gaffer, how their career as a gaffer begun, there work flow with the DoP and qualifications they have etc.

This project has to be in tomorrow, short notice I know, but hope someone can help.

Thanks

Jen
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#2 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 07:57 PM

I'm not a gaffer. I'm a DP but I've worked with a few. The gaffer is the chief electrician on a film set. They will safely and efficiently distribute electricity to the sets and locations. Under them would be the bestboy electric and so on. Some DP's who either don't know or don't have much interest in lighting (which I don't understand but I've seen firsthand) will defer those responsibilities to a gaffer they know that may have more experience and knowledge about light but the creative and artistic decisions of lighting are typically the responsibility of the DP. Often though, people think the Gaffer is the "lighting person" or "lighting director". No such position exists on films. "Lighting Director" is a stage term. In film, that position is the DP. Gaffers do not have reels, or websites, or agents and the like. A gaffer is a technician whose primary responsibility on set is to manage electricity. Though I have had gaffers that took very active interest in the artistic process of lighting but these are rare exceptions. Hope that helps.
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#3 David Auner aac

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Posted 14 May 2009 - 02:15 AM

I am currently writing a short piece on the role of a gaffer and despite wanting to get a interview with a professional gaffer I haven't had the time.


I suggest heading to a libary and checking out some books on the topic. Else do a search of the boards and find the question answered already.

Regards, Dave

PS: And don't do stuff at the latest possible moment! ;) Not a good attitude in the film business...
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#4 Karel Bata

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Posted 14 May 2009 - 04:34 AM

A pal of mine, Chris Jones, interviewed UK gaffer Joe Allen for one his books, the relevant chapter of which is here: The guerilla film makers handbook


This is the role of a gaffer in the UK. You other guys might find the differences between the role here and in the US interesting. Page 260 gives you the DoP.
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#5 Serge Teulon

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Posted 14 May 2009 - 06:28 AM

As filming is a collaborative process, I find that the best gaffers are the ones which are technically good but also have a creative input/interest. These can be hard to find.....or expensive to hire.
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#6 Karel Bata

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Posted 14 May 2009 - 07:56 AM

You could have got me for a good deal once upon a time... :lol:

This thread has sent me back into the archives. Here's a little piece of film history:


Posted Image How Others See You B) Anyone name that camera? Could be a BL4.


Why don't the attachments here work?
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FJS International, LLC

Metropolis Post

Broadcast Solutions Inc

The Slider

Visual Products

Ritter Battery

CineLab

CineTape

Paralinx LLC

Wooden Camera

Tai Audio

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Glidecam

Willys Widgets

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Opal

Rig Wheels Passport

rebotnix Technologies

Technodolly

Abel Cine

Aerial Filmworks