About WackGaffery


  • Working in tight, constrained spaces like residences, apartments or offices’
  • Naturalistic, complex lighting effects for any budget
  • A deeper understanding of lighting instruments and how they work
  • Innovative grip tools and approaches
  • Unorthodox modifiers and effects
  • Turning limitations into advantages
This blog started as casual experimentation with the problem of controlling and creatively manipulating shadows on a small scale, doing film noir in a 15X15 foot room, for example. At first glance this might seem like a simple problem but it’s surprisingly complicated.

The problems have to do with

  • the basic designs of most commonly used lighting instruments
  • the factor of scale and enlargement
  • the awkwardness of standard grip gear in small spaces

When I expanded my investigations to naturalistic light effects

  • reflected light from exteriors
  • multi-layered late afternoon or early morning shadow effects
  • movement effects

things got even more complicated.

Many other issues follow from the above:

  • unorthodox modifiers
  • mirrors
  • sound and baffling
  • modifying  standard tools and creating new ones

Unsurprisingly in hindsight, all of the above turns out to be right around the corner from some other long standing interests of mine

  • shadow  puppetry
  • toy  theater

If the connection isn’t immediately obvious, it will become so as you dig into this blog.

Some of the water here is quite deep. Sometimes there’s actual physics involved. That may be more than you care about, and that’s fine. I will try to keep the recipes separated from the science. If you want to get into the ‘why the hell does that work?’, you can, and we would appreciate comments or critiques. But if you just want to know how to get the job done, you can skip it.

Who is ‘we’? We are a loose confederation of film people, artists, tinkerers, scientists, engineers and people who make stuff. All of us believe passionately in the superiority of generalists and bringing multiple differing perspectives to bear on challenges. I frequently find myself explaining a problem I am trying to solve or an effect I am attempting to achieve and getting suggestions I would never have thought of on my own. That’s how we do it.