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Wall Spreaders: The Ultimate Space Savers

Wall spreaders lighting diagram by Tyler Kaschke, Colorado Gaffer
Lighting breakdown by Colorado Gaffer

I love lighting a scene so the DP has some flexibility to frame the shot.

One of the best tools to achieve that end is a telescoping wall spreader. For those who may not know, it’s basically a piece of speed rail that spans the width of a room and uses opposing force to create enough stability to rig equipment so you don’t need stands on the floor.

🚨 a few notes about wall spreaders since it’s imperative they’re rigged safely 🚨

First, screw the ends of your spreader into pancakes or 3/4” plywood to distribute the pressure across a larger area on the wall. Next, use a stud finder to make sure you’re pressing against something solid behind the drywall. Finally, make sure to wrap the wood in duve to protect the surface of the wall (beware, the soft side will rub off on white walls!) Use safety cables for your gear once it’s up. It’s best practice to rig with speed rail hardware like baby bens. Cardellini clamps will work in a pinch, but they have a tendency to spin and come loose - would not recommend. Consult a qualified key grip before attempting this the first time on set!

Once the LiteMat 2L was on the spreader we knew we would need to control the ratio with negative fill. An effective way to do this is to put scrap duve on the low ceilings and walls.

A LM Spectrum 4 bounced into a 4x4 bead board gave us some indirect fill for the space. We used a Nanlite Pavotube II 6c in a Chicago Style Hot Dog™️ (tube between quacker clamp and bead board🌭) to bring up the value of the supporting actor’s face.

For the moonlight look we put fixtures outside the windows set to 6000K with +4 green dialed in. Just barely there.

A Nanlite 60C with the Leko attachment skipped off the floor for a bit of hard light from the other room.

The back wall felt a little dead ☠️ so we put an Aputure MC on a micro clamp attached to the curtain rod for a little extra somethin’.

Practicals on dimmers added some nice layers of light and thicc haze did it’s thing to make it look special 🤌

Production @circuitmedia

Director @mrcodymay

Producer Eliana Yatsko

Tyler Kaschke is a freelance gaffer with a grip truck based in Lafayette, Colorado serving Boulder, Denver, Golden, Fort Collins, Colorado Springs and the Rocky Mountain region at large.

For more about wall spreaders and other grip and lighting tips, follow me on Instagram @colorado_gaffer


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