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Location scouts are priceless!

Lighting Diagram by Tyler Kaschke, Colorado Gaffer

Discussing each shot with all department keys present is one of the best things you can do to prepare. Without a scout you just show up and wing it. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

As the gaffer there are a few things I’looking for when I see a location for the first time.

🚐 Parking / load in / staging for G&E

Ask yourself: where do I park? Any reserved spaces for vehicles with gear? Can I push my carts right on set or am I working off the truck? Is there a space to stash gear that’s out of the way but still close enough to set?

⚡️ Electrical / power requirements

Are we using house power? Generators? I try to locate every outlet in the rooms we’ll be shooting in. Find the breaker box, see how many circuits there are and if they’re 15 or 20A. If you plan to use three 1200Ds on house power you’d better bring enough stingers to run a line from the circuit in the bathroom, kitchen, or living room to wherever the lights need to go! I also always bring my outlet tester to confirm the plugs are hot.

🎥 A majority of your time will be spent listening to the director and DP discuss each shot. I let them do most of the talking and take notes on my iPad so when it comes time to devise a lighting plan with the DP, I already have a rough diagram sketched out and we can make changes as they see fit. Procreate is one of the most helpful apps I use on a location scout. I will forget everything we said if it’s not written down!

Another thing to be aware of is the direction your windows are facing. Knowing this will help you make informed decisions about scheduling. I use the Sun Seeker app for estimates on sun placement.

This shot was lit with a 1200D blastin through the window for background, a 60c to carry that blast into the back room, a couple B7Cs in the pendants, a Vortex 8 with medium Chimera light bank as the key, and ultra flop for some fill. It ain’t much but it’s honest work.

Dir Dan Cummings

Pro Maureen McCauley

Wardrobe Heather Gragg

Tyler Kaschke is a freelance gaffer with grip truck based in Boulder, Colorado and serving Denver, Golden, Fort Collins and Colorado Springs.

For more information about lighting tips, follow me on Instagram @colorado_gaffer


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