We waste a lot of money and resources because of the fear of being caught short and costing even more trying to economize. A little extra effort in planning will save some waste. Often an order for materials is "padded" by each person who handles the order and much more arrives than needed on the set and then has to be disposed of after the shoot.

Make arrangement if possible for a supplier to pick up what's left over even if for nothing. It saves disposal and labor. Or ask locals if they want the leftovers. Make sure they take all of it away.

Before a final order is made, make sure the amount asked is still enough or too much. Second thoughts about needs can evoke other needs or better solutions for a problem. Do a little math before hand to estimate needs. A cubic yard of material will cover 3' x 3' x 3' x 12 square feet of ground 1 inch deep.

Suppliers some times have a better solution if they know what you are trying to do.

Names for equipment and supplies change with time and differ in different industries, especially in other parts of the country and world.

Anything that has a smell, such as tape or rubber, emit solvents that make them usable. Keep them in plastic bags or film cans, especially double face tape and they will last a very long time. I know it is not as convenient as a tape roll. But special and extra tape can be preserved. New tape is covered with wax paper that inhibits solvent evaporation.

There is a tendency for us all to use more supplies, such as solvents, if there appears to be a lot. A full can of solvent will drop to almost 1/4 full and stay there for some time because when there is just a little left and we use less. Keeping solvent cans no more cans 1/3 full will reduce waste.


No set lighting technician wants to re-hang a larger light when a smaller one turns out to be too small. But, within reason a gaffer or best boy should know the how big a unit will be necessary. Studying the lighting unit specs will help reduce over-kill.

Bounce light and light through diffusion should be from a very efficient unit; a PAR or open face polished reflector unit, not a freznel.

Diffusion should be the lightest that will achieve the desired softness. Some testing will help establish parameters of how much diffusion is needed. Often lighter diffusion that lets part of the light straight through is helpful to give more "throw".

Inefficiency in lighting will effect comfort, air conditioning, power source, and budget.

© Copyright 1999-2004 Ron Dexter. All Rights Reserved.