“Gaffer” is a key role in film and video production, responsible for the lighting design and execution on set. The gaffer works closely with the director of photography to determine the lighting needs for each shot and scene, and then oversees the electricians to ensure the lights are set up and working properly.
Gaffers use a combination of technical knowledge and artistic skill to create the desired mood and look for each scene. They must understand the properties of different types of lights, as well as how to control the intensity, color, and direction of light to achieve the desired effect.
Gaffers also play a crucial role in maintaining safety on set, ensuring that all electrical equipment is properly grounded and that cables are securely fastened to prevent tripping hazards. They work closely with the grip department to coordinate the placement of lights, flags, and other lighting tools, and they must be able to quickly and efficiently troubleshoot any issues that arise during filming.
On larger productions, the gaffer may be assisted by a best boy electric, who is responsible for overseeing the electricians and helping to manage the electrical department. Together, the gaffer and best boy electric ensure that the lighting is set up and working properly for each shot and scene.
In post-production, the gaffer may also work with the colorist to ensure that the lighting and color grading of each shot match the overall look and feel of the film.