On set life can be a bit chaotic sometimes. Most days, we wake up before the sun even bothers to peek out and head off to a mix of workers shuffling around to make sure the shoot runs smoothly. After about 12 hours of work, we pack up, head home and the next morning, we do it all over again for weeks, maybe months, with some breaks. In the electric department, we spend our days and nights scrambling to make the Director of Photography’s vision work, waiting for the scene to unfold, picking it down and scrambling again to make the next scene happen. It sounds crazy, but it’s what we love to do. We know that when we get the DP’s nod approval, that we killed it. It was lit, we might say.
Days like this were no different on the set of Outer Banks season 3. For 18 days, they used Barbados once again as the backdrop for the Netflix hit American action-adventure mystery teen drama, created by Josh Pate, Jonas Pate, and Shannon Burke. Our team worked hand-in-hand with the lighting and grip department and made their job that much easier, by providing the equipment and crew they needed on home soil, so they didn’t have to worry about it.
It’s not often that I find myself on a professional set in Barbados, but when they are here, I’m in creative heaven, because they understand what I do and why it’s so important. The electric department provides light and power on set, which can be anything from batteries, lights and generators to electrical safety. At night we create the look and feel of the scene so that the DP’s vision becomes a reality. On screen, lighting is just as important as any other element of film, because it helps to create visual moods, emotions, atmosphere, and a sense of meaning for the audience. It’s what made me fall in love with lighting in the first place.
There aren’t many of us gaffers in the Caribbean, so working under the direction of gaffer Jamie Baglio was the perfect chance for us to learn something new. The added bonus was getting to work with the new Vortex series of lights. Fresh off the market, using these waterproof, wireless lights, was any gaffer’s dream come true. My favourite lighting experience to date with them was on the final day, where shot at Bottom Bay in St. Philip (you’ll have to watch the next season of OBX to see it). Each time OBX comes here, for me and my team it’s a new chance to learn new skills that can be shared with others like us in the region. It was also a great chance to build deeper bonds with Netflix and professionals worldwide.
The biggest success coming out of this two year process of networking and working with OBX, was that 13 Degrees North and Dark2Darker, a lighting company from Charleston, South Carolina, have built a solid working relationship. We’ve become one big lighting family.
With Dark2Darker as our newest affiliate it gives us a chance to learn more about the fast changing film arena, to make production here faster and get access to state of the art equipment here. It lets the Film and TV world know that Barbados has the people and equipment here needed to make what they want happen, pushing us that much closer to being a hub for shooting.
It’s a dream come true knowing that we were able to create that level of trust between us and build up their confidence in Barbados.
This is a major win for our country, another step in the journey to seeing the local film and television industry standing on its own, punching above its weight.