Tiny Film Tip: “For a Look”

Top of the list of the most confusing things about moving from live events to film is the fact that no one tells you when (or what) to record.  Perhaps out there is a gaffer who proves me wrong, but I’ve neither heard of nor met them.  When you combine this with the fact that protecting data is the most important job of being a programmer, this can become stressful.  So here’s a tiny tip from my experience.

The Scenario

You’re halfway or more through your day and doing a new setup.  You have tons of manual data, some tracked data, and your Gaffer says “For a look…”.  No matter what they are about to say, record everything right then.  Why?  Let’s proceed with the scenario.

Your gaffer asks you to move the moving light that you have just finished focussing over to a very different target.  The fixture is outrigged, so pan and tilt seem to switch places as you strive to reach the new location.  They ask you to put it in a sodium color palette.  The DP chimes in with changes they need.  12 steps later, your Gaffer says “Never mind on the mover.  Put it back.”  If you hadn’t saved when they said “For a look” you now have to choose between losing all the last 12 things you changed or slowly remembering exactly what the moving light was doing and restoring it.  Don’t put yourself in that position. 

What little tricks have you all picked up to deal with protecting your data from the (perfectly reasonable) requests gaffers give you?  Share in the comments.

Featured Image Photo by Artyom Korshunov on Unsplash


  1. Zachariah Suto - Reply

    This is why my notebook is constantly covered in notes. I’m constantly writing down what lights are doing in scenes and leaving myself little notes translating what the gaffer said to EOS language. Worst thing in the world is hearing “you did save that look right?”

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