Overcome the technical and creative challenges of location shoots by using a variety of lighting setups.

Mark DawsonFilmmakers often shoot in practical locations which can offer great production value, especially for independent productions that may not have the resources for building large studio sets. But location shoots also pose unique technical and creative challenges. This hands-on workshop is for gaffers, cinematographers, and videographers with previous experience who wish to learn techniques for a variety of lighting setups.

Students work with HMI, tungsten, and fluorescent fixtures for day and night interiors; use lighting and grip equipment to supplement and shape available light for day exteriors; and light night exterior scenes. Students use light meters to help determine exposure, learn about color temperature and the use of gels to correct and balance color, and learn the characteristics of different lighting fixtures and the use of diffusion gels.

The class works in the Sound Stage and travels to residential and commercial locations for tech scouts, determines power requirements and light placement per a director of photography’s shot design and executes the lighting plan. Students work with generators and standard residential power to determine power distribution and metering for proper amperages and voltage. Safe handling of electrical distribution is emphasized.

Throughout the week, students work collaboratively, alternating in the roles of DP, gaffer, key grip, best boy grip and electric, and company grip and electric crew.




Daniel Stephens

Daniel Stephens studied filmmaking in the early 1990’s at Loyola University (New Orleans) and the University of South Florida. Subsequently he decided that the best place to apply his storytelling skills was the booming new Internet security industry that blossomed in the mid 1990’s. Eight years later Daniel realized his mistake: filmmakers should make films, not firewalls. In 2000, Daniel left the company he co-founded to return to filmmaking.

He has served as the Chief Lighting Technician and Director of Photography for numerous music videos, commercials, and short and feature films. He is particularly inspired by the verisimilitude of the unpredictable and feels these moments are the foundation of exceptional storytelling.

Daniel is deeply passionate about the planet's resources, both environmental and human. He is particularly engaged in the field of social justice and often works with non-profits specializing in this area to document their work and inform the general public about it through film and multi- media. His work with both the Red Cross Red Crescent and PopTech has taken him across the globe, from Nairobi to Haiti and from Iceland to the streets of Chicago to document and create stories of social change and social justice.

In 2008, Daniel founded the production company Goodfocus specifically to work with non-profits and sustainability-focused companies. Goodfocus' bottom line is focused on social and environmental impact instead of financial return. This model, along with Daniel's freelance work, enables Goodfocus to produce films that shine a light on organizations that might otherwise lose the opportunity to document their work through film.

Most recently, Daniel shot the feature film, ‘After a Long Day, Alexis Comes to a Decision’ directed by the incredibly talented Elizabeth Spear in the delightful metrop of Austin, Texas. His documentary ‘There We Were,’ which tells the story of the recording of James Taylor’s latest album, ‘Before This World,’ was recently released worldwide.

Daniel is currently preparing to shoot the feature film ‘I Am John’, helmed by the incomparable Elizabeth Spear and the feature documentary, ‘Safe at Home,’ produced by Cross River Productions. He continues his work with both Goodfocus and PopTech.

When not somewhere else, Daniel resides on the beautifully lit coast of Maine where he is a partner in the film production companies Goodfocus, LLC and General Films, LLC and a member of the workshops faculty at Maine Media Workshops.


Course Dates

Aug 27 to Sep 2



Class Size


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