SET LIGHTING TECHNICIANS HANDBOOK PDF
Set Lighting Technician's Handbook: Film Lighting Equipment, Practice, and Electrical The Automated Lighting Programmer's Handbook, Second Edition. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Box, Harry C. Set lighting technician's handbook: film lighting equipment, practice, and electrical distribution. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Box, Harry C. Set lighting technician’s handbook: film lighting equipment, practice, and electrical distribution/Harry C. Box. The set lighting profession uses volumes of peculiar-sounding technical terms. This edition of the.
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2 The Stage Lighting Technician's Handbook Stage Terminology: Learning Set Lighting Technician's Handbook: Film Lighting Equipment, Practice, and. PDF Download Set Lighting Technicians Handbook Film Lighting Equipment Practice and Electrical Distribution. Book Related. === DMCA === This Sites is an. Set Lighting Technicians Handbook, Fourth Edition, is a friendly, hands-on manual covering the day-to-day practices, equipment, and tricks of the trade essential.
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Stage Lighting Technician Handbook
Start on. Show related SlideShares at end. WordPress Shortcode. Published in: Full Name Comment goes here. Are you sure you want to Yes No. Be the first to like this. No Downloads. Views Total views. Actions Shares. Embeds 0 No embeds. Although the gaffer usually selects electricians for the crew, once an electrician is offered a job, it is the production manager with whom he signs the deal, memo, or contract. Paychecks are handled by the accounting department through a payroll company. The duties of the unit production manager UPM include preparing the script breakdown and production schedule, establishing and controlling the budget, supervising the selection of locations, making deals for locations and services, booking the cast and crew, overseeing daily production decisions such as authorizing overtime and making schedule changes due to weather , and managing all the off-set logistics, including housing, meals, transportation, permits, security, and insurance.
As the UPM is responsible for the budget, he or she must approve all equipment orders and personnel requests. Some productions have a production supervisor instead of, or as well as, a production manager.
The production coordinator assists the production manager. His or her duties include booking the crew, booking and returning equipment, ordering expendables and supplies, monitoring petty cash, distributing production information to the various departments, and coordinating and distributing the shooting schedule and script revisions. Assistant Director The assistant director 1st AD runs the set. The AD must stay informed of any potential delays or problems and facilitate, coordinate, and motivate the actions of the crew, solving problems before they occur.
He or she is responsible for keeping the production moving and on schedule on an hour-to-hour basis. ADs are responsible for coordinating the actions of all the departments. For example, if an electrician needed some furniture moved to place a light and the set decorator is nowhere in sight, the 1st or 2nd AD would take the matter in hand. The AD staff take care of the actors: coordinating their schedules, ushering them through makeup and wardrobe and to and from the set.
The AD also directs the background action, supervises crowd control, and determines safety precautions during stunts or complicated setups. The AD is aided by a 2nd AD. They in turn are helped by second 2nd ADs and a squad of production assistants PAs.
You can usually enlist the help of a PA for any odd job that presents itself; just ask first to be sure that the 2nd ADs can spare the PA. Script Supervisor Details such as the hand in which an actor holds his beer, at what point in the scene he puts out his cigarette, whether his shirt sleeves are rolled up or not are observed and noted by the script supervisor.
All these details are noted in a log for future reference for the editor and the director. For this reason, it is vital for her to be able to see the action on every take; if you stand in her way, you risk being jabbed by her sharp little pencil. The script supervisor also keeps track of the scene and take numbers, lenses used, shot scale, movement, eye-line direction, good takes, flawed takes and reason , line changes including ad libs and mistakes , and so forth.
The gaffer sometimes has the best boy take detailed notes on the placement of the lights, especially if the scene may be replicated at another time. The script supervisor can provide the best boy with the applicable scene numbers for these notes. A: Five. One to screw it in and four to tell you how they did it on the last show. The camera department is made up of the DP, camera operator, 1st Assistant, 2nd Assistant, and a loader.
When shooting in High Definition, the camera crew may include a Digital Image Technician known as a DIT and a camera utility person in place of the loader. The first camera assistant 1st AC is responsible for the camera, including building it, configuring it for each shot, making lens changes, threading the film, running tests, and performing regular maintenance as needed.
During the take the 1st AC keeps the camera in focus and may perform any of a multitude of other tasks—zooming, making an aperture change, or ramping the shutter speed or angle. From time to time, the 1st AC calls on the lighting crew to help get rid of stray light hitting the lens.
When a light shines directly into the lens, it causes a flare on the image. Almost all camera equipment runs on batteries, but a 2nd AC needs power to run a video monitor.
When a director uses a video monitor, it quickly becomes habit to supply power to the monitor as soon as the camera is placed. Similarly a stinger should be supplied for the dolly at all times.
Sound Department The sound mixer oversees the recording of audio, monitors the sound levels, and is generally responsible for the quality of the sound recording. The sound mixer is the one person on the set lucky enough to perform his or her job from a sitting position. He or she can usually be found reading the paper at the sound cart.
The boom operator is the person who actually positions the microphone within range of the actors, by holding it on a pole over their heads, wiring them with radio mikes, or planting hidden microphones on the set.
The boom operator has to contend with shadows cast onto the actors and backgrounds by the microphone and boom pole. Boom operators are very good at analyzing the lighting and use great ingenuity to avoid casting shadows.
The gaffer and DP can usually help the boom operator by setting toppers on one or two lights to eliminate shadows cast onto the back wall. Particularly difficult for the boom is flat-on hard light from the direction of the camera, because it tends to throw mike shadows onto the back wall.
Shooting the light so that it lights only the face or raising it higher, so the light is angled downward, then topping the light, can eliminate the problem. Sometimes, the lighting is such that a boom microphone simply cannot be used, and the sound department must accommodate by using other methods.
Even with baffles to deaden it, engine noise can be a nuisance.
Ballasts and dimmers usually hum and can become a concern for sound. Place them as far from the microphones as possible preferably in another room or outside.
The sound cart should be powered off separate utility power. All crew members must check with an electrician before plugging in their own electrical equipment; plugging a monitor mistakenly into a dimmer channel, for example, would provide an unexpected fireworks display. Locations Q: How many fire safety officers does it take to screw in a light bulb? A script might call for a city street, department store, hospital, church, factory, private residence, prison, airport terminal, office building, hotel lobby, or postapocalyptic tundra.
Many settings can be more easily and cheaply filmed at an existing real site than re-created on the studio stage or lot. When on location, any questions or problems pertaining to the building or grounds such as rigging lights to the structure or access to locked rooms or circuit breaker panels are handled by the building engineer through the locations manager or their assistants. The locations manager obtains permission to place lights in unorthodox places, such as on a roof.
Care must be taken not to damage the floors, walls, or garden. When a house has hardwood floors, for example, the grips and electricians can put rubber crutch tips on the legs of the stands and ask that layout board be put on the floors to protect them. Some locations make restrictions on the use of their property. Working on a period movie, for example, you may well find yourself shooting in a historical building with irreplaceable architectural detail. It will usually involve extra time and trouble, but it is more important to keep the locations manger an ally and help preserve good relations with every location the company uses.
In the greater scheme of things, it is better for our whole industry if the public views film production as a positive experience. Transportation Q: How many teamsters does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Four. You got a problem with that? The drivers are responsible for operating and maintaining all the production vehicles. These are particularly useful on location when equipment needs to be shuttled to several sites in one day or must be dispersed over a large area.
Drivers may also be dispatched to make runs, return equipment to, or pick it up from suppliers. It is a good idea for the best boy to give the transportation coordinator as much advance warning as possible, as needs arise. Art Department Q: How many art directors does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: Does it have to be a light bulb? Construction builds the sets, set dressing decorates the set with items not handled by an actor, while the props department is responsible for anything that is handled by an actor.
Wiring them is taken care of by an electrician.
Employees of the set decorator move furniture. Hair, makeup, wardrobe, stunts, special effects, first aid, craft service, and catering are the remaining departments on the set with which electricians need to consult from time to time.
It pays to stay on good terms with every department. Civilians One more group you are going to come into contact with, especially when working on location, is the general public. Everyone on a film crew knows how important it is to establish and maintain good relations with the public.
No one knows this more than the locations manager. We constantly hold up traffic and ask people to be quiet during takes. By our very presence, we often put someone out. A disgruntled neighbor may confront the first person he or she sees, sometimes quite rudely. As lighting technicians, our role in all this is minimal but important.
Treat any comment or question from the public with politeness and professionalism. Help the locations manager stop trouble before it starts by pointing any complaints or problems his or her way. Get approval before placing a light somewhere it is going to annoy civilians; that way the locations manager has a fighting chance at preemptive diplomacy. Any kind of rigging that might do harm to a location or otherwise alarm the owner must be preapproved through the locations manager.
When locations or production make specific rules or requests with regard to working in a location, know that they are doing so because the issue is already sensitive. If they tell you to wrap out quietly, they are doing so because there have already been complaints about the noise.
There are also those who have learned they can extort money from a desperate production manager and make noise and get in the way until they are paid. Okay, let me just finish off the list.
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Q: How many stunt men does it take to screw in a light bulb? Q: How many studio execs does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: No one knows.
Light bulbs last much longer than studio execs. Q: How many actors does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: One to screw it in and 99 to say they could have done it better. Q: How many screen writers does it take to change a light bulb? Q: How many editors does it take to change a light bulb? A feature film crew may shoot 20—30 setups per day. The assistant director tries to schedule the shots so that all the shots in a scene in which the camera is looking in one direction, requiring one particular lighting setup, are shot together at one time.
When possible, wider master shots are photographed first, establishing the lighting for the scene. Closer coverage, which usually requires refinements to the master setup, follows. The crew then relights the scene for the new camera angle.
Set Lighting Technician's Handbook
Although it is convenient when the shots can be scheduled in an order that is efficient for lighting, the AD may have other priorities. Shot order may be arranged to give precedence, for example, to a particularly difficult performance or a stunt that destroys part of the set.
The only sensible way to proceed in filming each new scene is to follow the following five steps in order: 1. Set Basics: Your First Barbecue 13 Lighting without blocking first always causes delays when the actors arrive and do things differently. Trying to shoot without rehearsing and tweaking almost always results in an imperfect take.
As fundamental as this rule sounds, it is often the first thing forgotten on set. A well-run set works as follows. First the director, DP, and actors block the entire scene plan the staging.
During blocking rehearsal, the set is usually cleared so that the actors and director can work without distraction. The director and principal actors are called the first team. The DP, gaffer, and key grip watch the rehearsal to determine lighting needs and constraints.
Once the scene has been blocked, the actors are sent to makeup and the DP begins lighting.
Often, the lighting crew has already roughed in some of the lights during a prelight. The actors are replaced by costumed stand-ins, who act as models for the gaffer and DP while the lights are placed. The stand-ins are known as the second team. The camera crew sometimes rehearses complicated camera moves using the stand-ins to save the principal actors from technical rehearsals that might dull their performance.
Once the lighting is in place, the AD calls the first team back to the set for final rehearsal. The AC gets final focus marks.
The timing of the actions and camera movement may be adjusted. After one or two rehearsals, the scene is ready to shoot. As a courtesy to the actors and director, everyone must hold their work while the actors are on the set. However, final rehearsals may take place while the lighting crew still has final touches to add. Also, during the rehearsal the DP may see a problem that needs to be addressed before shooting. It is therefore essential that the lighting crew be allowed a moment to tweak after the rehearsals, before the first take.
To save time between setups, electricians may begin lighting a new part of the set while the rest of the crew is filming, but before the camera rolls. It distracts an actor to see a technician standing directly in his or her line of sight staring blankly while trying to perform. It cues the sound mixer to stop rolling tape while the problem is fixed. Your next shot will be out of a glass. Electricians then begin wrapping: taking down the lights, coiling the cable, and loading the truck.
The term comes from the early days of sound. It is an acronym for minus optical stripe. Be prepared for a loud noise to follow. To come up with a complete equipment list, the gaffer needs pretty clear ideas about how each scene will be lit.
The gaffer reads the script carefully, making notations and raising questions for the DP. He discusses scenes with the DP.
The input of the director, production designer, and costume designer often steer important lighting decisions. While absorbing the aesthetic choices of the director and DP, at every stage, the gaffer must consider three things: equipment, personnel, and time.
Equipment What basic equipment is needed to light the scenes? Which scenes require special equipment condors, xenon spotlights, or what have you? Will the transportation department need to furnish extra vehicles on particular days to move equipment from place to place?
Personnel How many extra electricians are needed to operate this special equipment or to prerig or wrap out cabling and equipment? Are certain days on the schedule particularly difficult, or will large locations require extra hands? Time What prerigging is required to achieve efficiency during shooting?
How much time does it take to get into and wrap out of each set? What might cause lighting delays the DP and production department should take into account? What workable solutions can the gaffer suggest to the assistant director and UPM? During preproduction, the gaffer and DP also discuss how to approach the material.
What is the mood and style of the film? When will the shots be fairly conventional, and when will steadicam shots reveal every corner of a room, requiring that all lights be hung above or outside the set?
What gel colors are needed? What film stocks are used? Will the lighting be at a low level or a high level? Each of these questions affects the equipment the gaffer needs. Scouting Locations The director, assistant director, and department heads scout each location in a group; the director and first AD present an overview of how the scenes are played out.
The DP and gaffer formulate a rough idea of how they light each space. If the lighting is complex, they may also draw light plots and make notes on the placement of windows and doors in each room as well as wall sconces or chandeliers that may be seen on camera. These notes are invaluable during future discussions. The gaffer, best boy, and rigging gaffer consider the special rigging required, special equipment required, cable routing, generator placement, location of the staging area, and placement of the production van.
During the scout, the DP, gaffer, and key grip constantly work out plans to adapt the space for lighting. Aerial lifts or parallels may need to be employed outside the windows to support large lights. Wall spreaders or other lighting support may need to be rigged near the ceiling.
Windows may need to be gelled or tinted. In addition to absorbing this information, the best boy and rigging gaffer need to determine routes of access to each set for cabling.
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They must coordinate with the transportation and locations departments to ascertain where the generator can be placed so as to be as close to the set as possible without causing sound problems.
They must learn from the DP, AD, and director how the feeder cables can be run to the set without entering into the shots. If a tie-in may be necessary, the best boy inspects the power boxes to determine their suitability. If house circuits may be used, he locates and examines the breaker box to determine its capacity and the layout of circuits. He locates the light switches for sconces and house lights. He works with the locations manager and the contact at the location to gain access to locked rooms or arrange for lights to be placed on a neighboring property or the roof.
He must find the service entrance through which to bring in carts and equipment without encountering stairs. He must locate the elevators. If large numbers of fluorescent lights are needed, he must get a count of the number of tubes to be ordered. In short, he must fully think through the lighting needs at each location.
Preproduction Planning: Lighting Package, Expendables, and Personal Tools 17 Once the locations have been scouted, the gaffer and best boy look over the production schedule; evaluate personnel, equipment, and time requirements; and apprise the production department of their needs.
It is helpful to create a calendar that outlines when extra workers and equipment are required. Production Meetings At least one major production meeting is held before production begins. This is scheduled after all the tech scouts have been completed and is attended by at least all the department heads. The meeting is led by the first assistant director. Typically either the shooting script or the production schedule is used as an itinerary. Taking the shoot scene by scene, the AD lists all the major elements of each scene.
Questions and concerns from any department are raised and discussed. Issues that involve a great deal of interdepartmental cooperation are the most important to flush out in detail. Decisions involving only two parties can be identified and deferred to separate meetings. The gaffer and key grip are required to attend, listen, and contribute when it is helpful.
This is usually a long and painful meeting, but it may often be the only opportunity for everyone to learn about the plans and needs of other departments that might affect them.
Equipment Package The load-in is the first day of work for an electrician on a feature film. It is the first day the electrician puts his or her hands on the lights. The best boy supervises the checkout and load-in, making sure the lighting order is correctly filled and all the equipment is in full working order. The checkout must be extremely thorough.
Even at the best rental houses, you cannot assume that all the equipment is in perfect working order or leave the counting to someone else. Almost always, a few items require maintenance or are miscounted by the rental house, so count and check the equipment carefully. To prep and load the equipment package for a medium-size feature film into a ft. Lights In film, we call them lights, lamps, fixtures, or heads.At full spot. Plugs into an Edison outlet and tells you whether the line is hot.
A fully equipped production van like the one shown in Figure 2. He or she works for the DP in tandem with the gaffer. I had the privilege of working a shoot with the gaffer who lit the TV show Northern Exposure for four years, so I asked him how I should go about learning the electrical side. The producer and director select the department heads: the DP, production designer, sound mixer, editor, and so on.
Certain lighting directions are inherently problematic for the boom operator. The new book is twice the size of the old one. A Fresnel lights use a spherical reflector coupled with the Fresnel lens. Another great example is the beautiful naturalistic work of Conrad Hall.