This project was shot at Essanay Studios in Chicago. Essanay was founded in 1907 and played a vital role in the early film production scene. The studio probably best known for a series of comedies starring Charlie Chaplin in 1915. Chaplin left Essanay after only one year because he didn't like the weather in Chicago. Can't say I blame him!
Our objective for this project was to match the high-key look from a previous shoot in the UK and we were working off a diagram sent by their team. It's not often I get to work with large tungsten fixtures, so this project was especially fun and presented its own unique challenges. (The power draw from all these lights was over 43,000 watts!) For the final look (featured above) we had some cardboard tubes casting moving shadows on the background. This was achieved by putting a 2K on a doorway dolly and pushing the light past the cardboard tubes.
There's something kind of romantic about shooting in a historic studio using Mole Richardson tungsten lights that are almost as old as the space itself. The approach to lighting this set was different than most I encounter in the 21st century and I'm thankful I was able to share this experience with a great team.
Tyler Kaschke is a freelance gaffer based in Lafayette, Colorado serving Boulder, Denver, Golden, Fort Collins, Colorado Springs and the Rocky Mountain region at large.