Author: Brandon Butrick |


Summer’s here! And San Francisco video production companies know that this means blazing sunshine one day and a giant fog bank the next.

Since lighting is one of my favorite topics, I’ll mention that these represent opposite, but equally challenging shooting conditions. In full sun, you have specular light that is not always friendly to surfaces, and a huge contrast ratio. Not to mention that the sun is constantly moving across the sky, so if you use it, you need to adjust constantly for its position. Video novices are always surprised to find that it takes more work to make a shot look good in the sun than it does indoors.

And the marine-layer cloud blanket that we experience here in the summer can be even worse. Known to local DP’s as “the curse”, it’s an omnidirectional light source that makes subjects look like they’re inside a silver mylar ballon. Somehow over-lit from every direction, yet still kind of dingy… but wait, that sounds like complaining!

One of my personal policies is “no whining”, so let me put this a different way. Summer exterior shoots in San Francisco are an excellent opportunity for talented lighting folks to show their value. In fact, I’d call this “appreciate your gaffer month”. If it looks great, and totally natural… you can bet someone worked real hard to make it that way.

Today happens to be one of those sunny days, and I, for one, and looking forward to a great weekend. John Scofield is playing at the Jazz Center tomorrow night, so I plan to enjoy the famously cool San Francisco evening from under a mild sunburn.