Lighting Department

A video production company is nothing without its lighting department. After all, our whole business is in converting light into digital information via our handy dandy cameras. Light is the absolute basic of filmmaking and we take it very seriously here at ECG Productions. We even have hundreds of square footage dedicated to our lighting and grip equipment in ECG’s state of the art facility here in North Atlanta. So when a shoot calls, we’re ready to come running with the perfect key and fill.

Types of lighting

An example of a three point lighting setup from an ECG video for the University of Georgia.

Basic three point lighting is the first lighting setup all of us learned in film school. That involves throwing three main lights on your subject: the key, fill and back light. It’s a technique that’s been around for a long time, and for good reason. It lights any given subject in an especially eye-pleasing way while also separating it from the background. But of course, sometimes shoots call for lighting that is brighter and more even, or much, much more dramatic. Regardless, lots of lighting set ups will begin with these three sources and build from there. 

When you’ve been around for as long as we have, you accumulate a lot of equipment. Especially within a technology that’s been evolving as steadily as film lighting, our grip and gear department has grown each year we’ve been in business. Today, we work with a lot of ARRI and Kino lights with interchangeable bulbs for our more traditional set lighting. We all agree, there’s something so natural about the classic tungsten or fluorescent burning bulbs that we like to keep around. But the LED technology can’t be ignored, with its incredible energy efficiency and low heat emissions so we’re constantly investing in new LED lighting equipment. 

In talking about set lighting, we cannot forget to mention the all important support. That would be flags, gels, diffusers and bounces. Very rarely do we just stick a light on a stand and point it at something. A light source can generally always benefit from some soft diffusion, or color tweaks. Or, it may need some reigning in with a flag. Either way, those are items that are always with our lighting crews on sets. 

Speaking of lighting crews

On set, the lighting department can be pretty substantial. When you’re talking about lighting a large space, the amount of lights that need to be set and tweaked throughout a shoot can be pretty enormous. It can take a lot of people to handle. Lighting departments are headed up by the Gaffer, then the Best Boy or Girl in second. Those are the folks the Director or DP can come to with a certain look in mind and they’ll know what configuration of lights will work best. Oftentimes sets will also require a genny operator for location shoots where power isn’t readily available. Genny ops make sure the generators are running smoothly and safely. 

Electric teams are also incredibly important for crew safety. An electric and rigging electric both make sure all lights are securely rigged, running safely and plugged into sources with the right capacity.

IRL: the Earthgang Mansion shoot

Earthgang and their crew chilling while we get some beautifully lit footage.

ECG’s in-house, all things grip and electric superhero is Collin Ingram. He’s the guy with all the equipment answers around here. So, when we needed to light a mansion location for an Alice in Wonderland inspired shoot with Earthgang, rap duo signed to Dreamville Records, we turned to none other than Col. It turned out to be one of his favorite shoots to date. 

You can peek the large source lights on the second floor from this angle.

“The shoot was definitely an artistic challenge, but it was fun from a lighting perspective to really crank out something special,” Collin said. One look at the footage from the shoot and you’ll understand exactly how special it was. It’s not everyday we get to create a lighting setup to mimic something as imaginative as Alice in Wonderland. The mansion’s interior was challenging to navigate with large lights and stands so the crew utilized lots of skinny quasar LED tubes set to different color temps to add visual interest. Most of them are left in the final shots to add to the quirky feel. All the bigger source lighting was placed in the upper levels of the home to flood the set from above. Definitely not the easiest setup, but we think the results were pretty darn great. 

The ECG lighting department

So, you need a video made and you understand how important lighting is to your project. Well, you’ve come to the right place! With our decade plus of production experience, we’ve seen it all. Our in-house lighting department is fully equipped to make your production experience an absolute breeze. From a state-of-the-art facility to access to the best and latest equipment, you can trust us to bring your vision to life. Contact us today!

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