What Happens When A Movie Has No Gaffer?

What Happens When A Movie Has No Gaffer? 4

What Happens When A Movie Has No Gaffer?




  1. Awesome. It’s the little details (that aren’t little at all) that completely change our perception of a scene.

    I need a gaffer following me around…

  2. Also, this video is the 2nd in a series. If you haven’t seen the first episode (about script supervisors,) it gives more context to the fake movie scene:

    What Happens When A Movie Has No Script Supervisor

  3. The dialogue made me want to stop watching this 3 minutes in, but sure am glad i sat through the whole thing. Super informative.

  4. This is a bit misleading. While the gaffer is responsible for *setting up* the lights, they do not design the lighting itself, they just carry out the orders of the cinematographer or lighting designer, the artist in charge of designing the lighting. Gaffer is a technical craft, not an artistic job.

  5. Man as someone who just finished school for television broadcasting and film production I had no idea just how difficult lighting a scene is. Not only is there a lot that goes into planning what type of lights to use, their position, settings, how it matches the natural light, ect. but you have to change your lighting set up for many shots in the same scene because they always have to be out of view from the camera (including all the cords), which can be almost impossible when filming in a smaller space and on a smaller budget.

    It’s something I feel like I really wasn’t taught sufficiently enough in my program, which is a shame because while the lighting of a film isn’t usually talked about as much as the acting, writing, directing, ect. bad lighting immediately broadcasts to your viewers how much of an amateur you are.

  6. A lot of people don’t understand that filmmaking is a highly collaborative process, it isn’t one guy in a room telling everyone exactly what to do, there’s debate on how scenes should look and feel and function, people express their own ideas, there are compromises, agreements, debates, and arguments over how a films story can and should be told using the tools of filmmaking. The director is the conductor and has final say unless they go too far, but they are not meant to be some kind of dictator/Kubrick-esque figure that is all powerful and auteurs everything. Unless you have a literal genius like Kubrick in front of you, but that’s not the case 99% of the time.

  7. “Let’s turn some of these off”

    *Film student DPs start sweating*

    In all seriousness, glad to see my gaffer buddies getting some time in the… *ahem* spotlight? 😉 People should understand their job is as vital as the camera operator, they’re basically the two primary lieutenants for a cinematographer, one in charge of camera with the 1st AC and camera dept and one in charge of lighting with the best boy and electricians.

  8. Lighting is becoming something of a lost art. And it’s an art, not a craft. Perfect example of how a gaffer’s absence flatlines the integrity of the image in a film: Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s “Happy Hour” (2015).

    Trailer: https://youtu.be/v6p5p3Etlgc

    Every other artistic component in this picture is spot-on. No exaggerated action to manufacture drama. Characters with utter authenticity to them. The script is reminiscent of the best of Maupassant, and the direction is in the mode of late Ozu. So why does it not linger much in the memory? In part because the cinematography is comprised of standard “soap opera” setups, but more so that it was shot with available light.

    See how bland the shot compositions are with no key light to separate out the performers within the frame? “After Last Season” (2009) had more dynamic shadows, and that monstrosity was a money laundering scheme.

    Lighting matters. And as computer generated effects are called upon to render digital shadows not cast by proper light sources on set, this problem will worsen. Gaffers will become glorified electricians, flipping switches, unable to provide their expertise because lighting “takes too long.” A sorry state for film production nowadays.

  9. Great video overall, to show how to think technically to create a more cinematic/light efficient way to get your ideas on screen. Regardless if it’s a gaffer or DP.

  10. The video seems to describe the work of the lighting director / director rather than gaffer.

    It is my understanding that the gaffer is the chief electrician that carries out the orders of the director.

    I’m reminded if a TIL on Reddit where the director of GoldenEye was having trouble lighting the submarine hanger scene so called his mentor, Stanley Kubrick for ideas. Kubrick showed up and then spent all night setting up the lighting himself.

  11. “Make it short, then you won’t have to cut it short before you can use it.” Wrong type of gaffer?

  12. I don’t think it’s practical to put a blanket on the lights I bet they have a dimmer built-in so this is not necessary anymore

  13. As somebody who’s done both of these jobs (gaffing and “DPing”), the difference shown in this video is literally accounted for by how the DP directs the lighting, it has nothing to do with gaffing in the sense that they are coming up with this look. If a Gaffer is actually affecting the scene to this degree, then THAT person is likely the DP and not the Gaffer lol. A Gaffer is an absolute expert in their craft and could possibly be just as skilled as the DP themselves but the DP tells them how much fill / shadow / light and in what ratio they want it… it’s like… the VERY essence / basics of what a DP does. This video confuses the 2 job titles with what they actually do on a real set.

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