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How did you find your Gaffer?

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#1 David Grauberger

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 12:52 AM

Hi everyone,

 

I've been shooting corporate/tv/doc work primarily for several years now.  Im branching into more narrative/scripted stories and clients.   I was just wondering if other DP's out there could talk a bit about how you found your gaffer?  Seems like you need a good mix of skill with lighting, while also being a team player to aid you on set.  Did they grow with you out of film school?  Did you interview and hire them?  Recommended by someone in the biz?  How did you work out your creative artistry with their own?   

 

I'm also located in Denver which makes it harder to fill that position than say LA... 

 

Any advice would be great! 

 

David 


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#2 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 10:13 PM

I shot a feature in Denver 10 years ago.  Great city.  There were a few rental houses there with great staff.  Perhaps you can find someone there who can help you out.  Often the rental staffers make great set techs.

 

For a gaffer, Ideally you want someone with a good team of friendly, fast grips/electricians who will listen to them.  Also someone who knows as much as any licensed electrician and won't cause a wall fire or circuit failure.  

 

It's great if they understand the difference between how to create daylight vs. moonlight in a scene but that's really the Cinematographer's job.    

 

Since you said you're new to film, In the narrative world, the job of lighting a movie extends far beyond being a skilled set technician. And that's where the DP is important.  Cause a DP has a greater awareness and understanding of light, mood, color, contrast etc.

 

A gaffer may be an accomplished technician and a joy to have on set, be a wonderful crew manager but they may not have an inherent instinct and understanding of how to light a film and interpret a script etc.  


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#3 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 01:00 AM

I would argue gaffers probably know more than most Dps since they've seen far more tricks than any DP really could. After all, they can crib from everyone.

I'd say you want to find a gaffer you get along with-- one who knows their stuff, and backs you up. And if you can, someone a lot smarter than you who isn't gunning for your job.


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