Why Your Film Needs a Good Gaffer: Watch How Lighting Changes a Face
Here’s a hypnotic video showing the importance of film lighting. Watch as this woman — yes, this is just one woman — finds her features altered as the lighting shifts around her. The plans of her face move, the vibe she projects alters, and the genre of film she’s in morphs from drama to horror to comedy. (Hat tip: Sploid at Gizmodo.)
The video, “Sparkles and Wine,” features music from the band Opale and was directed and produced by Nacho Guzman. According to Petapixel, the video was shot “using a Canon 5D Mark II DSLR and two lenses (a Canon 24-105mm f/4 and a Samyang 35mm f/1.4). The lighting consisted of two 10×10 centimeter LED lights that were fixed to a ring and rotated around the woman’s face, as well as a string of Christmas light-style LEDs.”
On the Vimeo page, Guzman thanks “Clouzot and his amazing team for inspiring me.” He’s undoubtedly referring to this similar and amazing 1964 test footage of Romy Schneider from Clouzot’s L’Enfer. Check it out.
P.S.: The headline is not to slight DPs, who are responsible for the looks created by a film’s lighting design. But since DPs also oversee so many other cinematographic elements as well, I went with the crew position solely devoted to lighting. Also, frankly, a great DP with an ambitious lighting plan does need a great gaffer to execute that plan. DPs traditionally bring on or approve their gaffers, and as a producer I’ve offered independent film gigs to DPs who won’t take them unless we’re able to afford their key crew as well.
NOTE: This post was updated January 31, 2014 with additional attributions.