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Film Lights
The Gaffer

The gaffer is the movie crew's chief electrician, reporting to the director of photography. A lot of the concern expressed by the producer for keeping a movie on schedule and on budget falls upon the broad shoulders of the gaffer, as his crew of electricians and grips move lights and cables, secures them on the set, and maintains or operates electrical equipment. It sounds like a pretty straightforward job, but in practice a resourceful gaffer can be critical to the overall visual artistry of a film, because moviemaking is, as much as anything, the art of the possible: What can we do with the materials at our disposal in the time available? A gaffer who can work fast while still exercising a subtle sense of the atmospheric possibilities of lighting can make a crucial contribution to the impact of a finished film.


Edwin Schiernecker is a fine arts graduate of the Pratt Institute. He has used his talent with lighting on "American Revolution," a six-part series on the Learning Channel, which was a 1996 Cable Ace Award winner. Mr. Schiernecker's work as staff editor for Ancient Mysteries and Biography shows on A&E garnered a Cable Ace Award nomination.

Mr. Schiernecker's feature credits include A Job at Ford about the life of industrialist Henry Ford, part of the award-winning series "The Great Depression"; Sing Faster -- The Stagehands' Ring Cycle, winner of the Filmmaker's Trophy at Sundance in 1999; and Conscience and the Constitution, winner of the Audience Award for a feature-length film at the L.A. Asian Pacific Film Festival 2000.

Mr. Schiernecker also worked on New Worlds, New Forms, a film shot in North and South America to trace the roots of African rhythm in dances such as swing, hip-hop, samba and candomble for the PBS "Dancing" series.


Edwin Schiernecker
Edwin Schiernecker


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