The Reel Deal and Other Bad Jokes
Monday, April 19, 2004
Helmet Head is Back in Nicotown
This morning I had Camera and Lighting II, in which we explore the way film, cameras, and video work. Lighting theory was in Camera and Lighting I, last semester. The class often has some boring lecturing, but even that is lightened up by the amusing exchanges between our small group of students and our teacher, an extremely cool individual named Jonathan Quade.

Quade had told me last week that we'd be doing a music video, and I should wear appropriate clothing. I chose my regular ensemble with a few modifications. Blue jeans, shitkicking boots, and a bomber jacket. To this I added a Rolling Stones shirt with the tongue logo splashed across the chest in red, white and blue and a spiked haircut red on top and blue on the sides with dots of white. I tried to do white stripes as well, but since all the gel was wet that goal was thwarted and the white was overcome by the red. Read all the racial symbolism into it you like.

I walked into class looking cool like James Dean. Nice big reaction--"HOLY SHIT!" said Derek. As the gel dried, I acquired a nice stiff helmet of hair. Helmet-Head is back in Nicotown, and he's ready for his showdown with Dr. Organic Shampoo. I swear, I'd cock an eyebrow and all my hair would move. To explain the Nicotown joke, R.J. Reynolds owns most of Winston-Salem.

We constructed a nice little lighting set-up using the grid in the Black Box room. A grid is a structure used to hang lights and grip rigs from. The Black Box room is a term applied to certain classrooms in a building on the NCSA campus that can be utilized for lighting easier than you might use a conventional room, due to the pipes hanging from the ceiling, i.e. the grid which I mentioned earlier. Clear?

The set-up consisted of a plastic sheet clipped in the middle to one bar and clipped at the ends to another pipe, forming a sort of vertical "V" shape. Behind the sheet we had three bounce cards (well, one was the dry erase board but it worked just fine). We punched a 650 Arri with a Congo Blue gel onto the dry-erase board. A gel is plastic clipped over a light with C-47s (clothespins) to compensate for the camera settings or just for effect.. We flanked the dry erase board with the two smaller bounce cards and punched 350 Arris outfitted with red gel into those. The effect was of a sort of obscured background with blue and red rectangles floating in the background.

To give the scene some excitement, we affixed mirror frames (squares of mirror) to the grid directly above the actor's mark. When two Baby-Babys (lights) were played over them, interesting things happened with the light in the room. My keylight (main light fixed directly on me) was another 650 Arri.

After we fixed all that up, I picked up the guitar Quade had brought and sat down on his amplifier. I fingered the frets, I strummed the strings, I made beautiful music, 'cause I'm a rocker and I rock out. Actually, I was surprised at how good it sounded despite how I was bullshitting the musicianship.

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