Back to the roots

At the end of September, after a long, long time, I unpacked my good old yellow lighting gloves, which were last in use about 15 years ago. My friend, the cameraman Jan Fehse called me and told me that he was preparing a little movie with Veronica Ferres: “Short Term Memory Loss” by Andreas Arnstedt. Finally Jan said he would ask me something totally crazy, I could also say “no”. There are no more lighting technicians in the whole of Berlin. Could I step in for four days? I didn’t think long and spontaneously agreed. After all the script-work last year, I was happy for a little change. Finally away from my desk, back up on the light truck, rock again.

Three days later, after a long time, I found myself in CineMobil’s light warehouse in Berlin and packed lamps into a truck that I no longer knew of. The first realization: progress is unstoppable, the lamps are actually getting lighter and more powerful, LED battery lights were not even dreamed of in the 90s. The second realization: the good old Manfrotto crank stand seems to have completely missed the technical progress. That piece of shit still weighs 25 kg. And the gaffer is expected to carry the thing with the lamp head loosely flaked through the area and ideally looks good too.

The next day I was back on the set wearing my gloves. It was like throwing a fish back into the water. I immediately felt good again and quickly had the third insight: I can still do it. Lighting still works just like 15 years ago: Set up tripods, put the lamp head on top, connect the converter, put the power, frame in front of it, sometimes make it harder, sometimes softer, lift it up a bit, put a cutter from above and inside another Kinoflo on a Polecat under the ceiling. Turning, Shot died, rebuilding, Jan, how long do you need? 10 minutes, now the lamps all have to go in front, because we look through the shop window, are the two and a half in the back already in the yard? And in the evening you eat something, fall into bed, get up at half past five the next day and continue. Great.

The four days finally turned into four weeks, as it quickly became clear that without me there was actually one man too few in the lighting team. And I really enjoyed it. After two weeks the crank tripods have already become considerably lighter and in the end they were as light as a feather…

The applications for next year are already running…