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What Do Gaffers and Cinematographers Do?

For this tutorial we’ll clarify what do gaffers and cinematographers do. We’ll take into consideration the connection between the important thing individuals which can be liable for creating the lighting setting on set. We’ll be breaking this down at a newbie stage for these of you who are usually not acquainted with how departmental traces are drawn on a movie set.

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The 2 key departments which can be liable for lighting, (within the sense that it seems within the completed product) are the electrics division and the digicam division. 

The electrics division, (also referred to as the lighting division) is usually composed of the gaffer. The gaffer is the pinnacle of the division and works instantly with the director of images (also referred to as the cinematographer) who’s the pinnacle of the digicam division. This may be defined merely under:

  • Gaffer – Head of the Electrics Division (Lighting Division)
  • Cinematographer (Director of Pictures) – Head of the Digital camera Division
DOP and the GafferDOP and the GafferDOP and the Gaffer

The Electrics Division

Underneath the gaffer you’ve gotten one of the best boy electrical, which is sadly a little bit of an outdated time period as of late. We now are likely to say finest individual.

The perfect individual is just not solely a hands-on second in cost from the division, however can also be liable for organizing the division and every other electrics assistants that work below them (these are sometimes referred to as third, fourth, fifth or sixth electrics).

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The Digital camera Division

The digicam division is ready up in a similar way, with the cinematographer/director of images or ‘DOP’ on the head, who’s the artistic lead, working intently with the director.

camera departmentcamera departmentcamera department

Beneath the DOP, there may be the first assistant digicam, (typically referred to as the primary AC) who is usually liable for not solely being the main target puller on set, however for managing the remainder of the digicam division, together with the gear. 

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The way it All Works on Set

In order that’s the overall structure of the digicam and lighting division. Now there are undoubtedly another nuances as properly, which rely on the specifics of the set and issues might shift a little bit bit relying on the place you reside. Nonetheless, what we described above is the overall structure of the digicam and lighting division.

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As you may see, a movie set is kind of a hierarchical area, and it is vital one set for everybody to know their tasks. It’s crucial to know this structure, in an effort to perceive how these concepts and artistic selections can finally move right down to somebody working in put up manufacturing and the way you may wish to talk with these roles.

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The DOP and the gaffer work in tandem, each as division heads. The gaffer helps the DOP to assist the artistic imaginative and prescient of the director. They do that by creating the lighting setting and shaping the sunshine collectively.

  • The Gaffer – The gaffer is liable for truly bodily manipulating the lighting applied sciences to take action.
  • The Cinematographer/DOP – The DOP is liable for creatively composing that imaginative and prescient inside the body, all stemming from the needs of the director.
working togetherworking togetherworking together

It is actually vital that these two roles work very properly collectively, and you will typically discover that an skilled gaffer and DOP can have a terrific language of shorthand communication between them on set. Particularly when one is working to explain what they want from the opposite, even when they’ve by no means truly labored collectively earlier than. 

Hold Studying



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