Lighting the Way


The BFC allied forces have moved out of our French base camp and crossed German lines for the remainder of the training. A new space (the German-Burundian Friendship Centre) and a new pace for the classes, focused on group work, will help us prepare for shooting on Wednesday. We’ll return to the CCF when they re-open in two weeks, in time for our Gala Premiere on Saturday, August 28th. Meanwhile, we’ll use our new facility to give the students some final technical lessons and allow them to dive deep into pre-production of their films. Teaching outdoors when I can is also a refreshing change that feels oh-so appropriate this close to the equator.


We first put up some sun blockades so we could start with fundamentals in lighting. The resourcefulness required to get the class dark enough to teach was actually a perfect primer for shooting the films. So with everyone crowded around, we continued using our live demonstrations to show and explain basic three-point lighting and colour temperatures. With only one day for each film, we’ll shoot lot of day-for-night scenes to get everything done in a 12-14 day, while trying not to burn ourselves out along the way.


For sound, we gave everyone some hands-on practice with the equipment to help them figure out the physics of capturing good audio by trail and error. Like many filmmakers, I’m guilty of focusing too much on how cinema is a “visual medium” and often treat sound as an after thought. But as anyone with a bad internet connection can tell you, glitchy images are a lot more tolerable than broken sound. And knowing the reality of shooting conditions and production limitations here, I already anticipate audio being a weakness again in the films we’ll shoot this year. But we still want them to learn what’s ideal.


Each of the groups took the last few hours to go over the scripts, make changes, ask questions and start preparing locations, actors and other logistics. The teams shooting the first few days are obviously at a disadvantage, but I was encouraged by how involved most of them were in details that didn’t fall under their personal responsibility. I think they understand that even if they lost the fight for the role they wanted, the constant struggle to make independent films will only get easier with more experience.

Christopher Redmond