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Denver Colorado Gaffer's Pro Tips For Working Around Reflections

Denver Colorado Gaffer's pro tip on working around reflections
Lighting Diagram by Tyler Kaschke, Denver Colorado Gaffer

Denver Colorado Gaffer's pro tip on working around reflections
Frames from Ekster shoot with Lumenati Productions in Denver, Colorado

Reflections or highlights in your shot bumming you out? Try these solutions.

The first idea to remember when you see a highlight you don’t like is that the angle of incidence (where the light is coming from) is equal to the angle of reflection. For example, if you’re catching the reflection of your light in a picture frame, ball up some tape and put it behind the frame to adjust the angle that light is reflecting back into the lens. My first instinct when I see a reflection is usually to slightly adjust placement of the light or object to change the angle of incidence.

Use grip gear: light control grids and flags can be helpful to shape or block prominent reflections. Another option is to make the lights in the reflection look architectural or intentional in some way so they don’t just scream “production set”

Another consideration is the finish of the reflective surface. If it’s glossy, you may see more specular highlights that jump out in the image. Try using dulling spray on shiny props.

Here’s my favorite: put something in front of the reflection to quickly solve your problem. Worst case, ask the director and DP and about blocking talent in a way that can cover it and still work for the scene.Why spend 15 minutes fighting a stubborn reflection when you could just… move a prop in front of it?This scene utilized a bit of every one of the techniques mentioned above. Lights placed up high so they didn’t read on camera, mirrors slightly askew to avoid seeing our steadicam op, and hey look at that plant on the counter for some reason.

LiteMat 4 Spectrum on a Matthew’s MiniMax for the key light on the ground, Astera Titan tubes zip tied to conduit on the ceiling for room tone, an Aputure 1200D with 1/2 CTS for a warm push through the window, a touch of haze, and some ND gel on the banks of practical lights in the background.


Director @swiney

AD Tom Farnsworth

1AC Tod Boyle

2AC Travis Hubbard

Prop Stylist @eatsleepstyle

Wardrobe Jenny Milne-Wright

Tyler Kaschke is a gaffer / chief lighting technician with 2 ton G&E grip truck and sprinter van rentals serving Denver, Boulder, Golden, Fort Collins, Colorado Springs, and the Rocky Mountain Region at large.

For more information about grip and lighting tips and shooting video production commercials in Colorado, follow me on Instagram @colorado_gaffer 


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