Incandescent film lights can get hot. So hot in fact that I have heard stories about filmmakers throwing a frying pan on top of one to fry up an egg. And I believe that. Because film lights, they get hot.
While we sometimes use our lights to replace kitchen appliances, we sometimes use kitchen tools to work with our lights. I’m talking about one of the most useful film tools a gaffer or grip (the people on set who do the lighting) has available: aluminum foil. Not just any kind of aluminum foil, however, but blackwrap – aluminum foil painted black. One might be surprised how many mundane tools like this we use every day on set, but after a while, you get used to people asking you for surprising things.
On BU MFA student Alvaro Congosto’s thesis film shoot this past week, we used a crazy amount of black wrap lighting Debby Krim’s art studio in South Boston for a scene. Alvaro wanted the lights in Debby’s studio to form circles around the pieces of art work we brought to hang up. In order to do this, we cut out pieces of light proof black wrap and made long cylinders that we folded over the fixtures. This allowed us to shape the light into the circles Alvaro wanted. The effect was just right, and blackwrap, though an odd tool, was the perfect one to get what we were looking for.
Debby thought it looked so good that she decided to keep the blackwrap on the fixtures to light her own work. That’s pretty cool.