Men with Lights
Every year at the Oscars, the film industry celebrates the artistry of its cinematographers and directors of photography. They should. A good cinematographer can take a decent story and make it breathtaking.
Thanks to director Elias Acosta, the Refuge from the Storm production had an outstanding cinematographer—Bruce Logan ASC.
We talked about Bruce in an earlier article.
What people outside the actual filmmaking industry might not know is that no cinematographer is an island. He or she needs his gaffer and an no nonsense team light their visual confections.
We’ll never look at an inside daylight scene the same again.
Enter Mr. Kevin Funaki, Mr. Trevor Elliot, and Mr. Tommy Gallagher (and company).
They are to lighting, what Heimdall is to Thor–keeping out the forces of darkness.
They have the ability to make the lighting effects happen. And we mean that in a very super hero, man-of-steel sort of way, despite the fact that Kevin is a Raiders fan. 🙂
As a reminder, Vista Films International is based in San Diego.
On Location Butt Saving
Case in point, Linda is at a yogurt shop one night when she runs into Steve. If you look behind her to the left, you see a shop with sit-by-the-fire warmth beaming through its window. It undeniably adds to the gorgeousness of the shot. Thanks to Bruce, Kevin and the guys.
Here’s what happened. The locations manager was supposed to arrange to have that shop stay open long enough to keep their windows lit. Never happened.
Bruce Logan: I need that window lit.
Locations Manager: Ugh!? OMG. What now? How am I going to light this effin shop window?
Yogurt Shop Owner: Here’s their number.
Owner of Shop with Dark Window: Ain’t no way I’m coming back to light you up, babe.
Locations Manager: S#?@!! Now what?
Nothing necessary. Kevin and the guys already lit the place by shooting a few angled spots from under the awning. Here’s what the screen looked like:
In the end, it worked out better than the shop’s cold, in-house flourescents.
That’s what we mean by superheros. Front light, side light, backlight—and uncooperative store light—all lit to perfection.
San Diego Film Equipment
Trevor Elliot has been shooting films since middle school. He’s currently a partner and director of photography for San Diego Film Equipment. He recently finished a gig as director of photography for a film short called Homestead. It’s in coloration with Bruce Logan at the moment, and will be part of a festival release.
Logan communicated light setups to Kevin Funaki, the gaffer. The grips helped set lights as well as facilitate camera movements.
Elliott shared what it was like to work with Logan. Bruce Logan is highly respected. He was the director of photography for TRON. It was amazing to with so closely with the cinematographer. That doesn’t happen on a big picture. Refuge was a small film, so there was time to really pick his brain. It was a tremendous learning experience.
A Gaffer is the chief electrician. He coordinates how the lights will be placed | powered.
The Grips support camera crew with positioning: dolly, crane, or ladder shots achieve optimal storytelling angles.
See the visuals in the DVD.