What do you do when the sun just isn’t good enough. You bring your own.
I gaffed a recent interview shoot and nature was doing its amazing thing… blazing sun into the corner of the frame adding life to the neutral grey background. It was awesome. Except, we had 45 minutes until the interview started and by then, that beautiful light would be long gone.
So, you do what a gaffer needs to go. You fix it. We dug into the truck and got out the biggest light on board. Then we lit around that light’s capabilities so that one light outside was actually replacing sun. It took a lot of flags to block all that light. But after we had that done, we had control. And then we could shape it and bring out the best in camera.
Beating nature is hard to do. This was a fun one. My worst/favorite/happiest nightmare was on a movie set a few years back. With an hour before the sun was down, the DP turned to me and said, “turn the sun off.” Excuse me? “I need that color off their skin.” In other words, block the sunset so I can make it look more like night. And not just on them. On everything within 10 feet of them. I’m here to tell you controlling the sun is not easy. Inside a garden level room is one thing. On the front steps of a farm yard, its completely different. I’m not sure how we got it all blocked out, but it worked. And that’s the draw. The challenge to work with and sometimes beat the things we just can’t control. Even if it is the intensity and position of the sun.