Spotlight: HAVEN electrician Tim Jennings
Based on the Stephen King novella The Colorado Kid, Syfy's HAVEN follows policewoman Audrey Parker (Emily Rose) as she uncovers small town secrets and her own dark past. HAVEN is shot in Halifax, Nova Scotia where the hardworking production relies on ARRI M-Series fixtures like the M90 and M40 to illuminate the visuals captured on ALEXA.
The M-Series encompasses ARRI's most innovative, Academy Award-winning daylight products featuring the unique, patented MAX reflector. This technology enables lens-less, focusable lamp heads that unify the advantages of a PAR and a Fresnel to provide maximum light output. Electrician Tim Jennings tells ARRI: "We are always bragging up your fixtures, they really speak for themselves when production notices that we are up and shooting faster - giving the actors more time to do their magic."
Nova Scotia's changing weather patterns can be challenging to shoot in, but for HAVEN's crew, the weather resistant features of the M-Series have become indispensable. Jennings explains, "The ease of shooting in rain, bad weather and not having to run around with rain hats, tar paper and heat shield is another grand efficiency we appreciate." Read on to learn about Jennings' work on HAVEN, which returns this year with thirteen new episodes.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I'm a 23-year-old kid that has been working as an electrician on set for roughly five years in Nova Scotia, Canada. After my completion of film school, I was lucky enough to jump right in to the biz and get steady work on numerous movies, TV shows, and commercials that have come through the Maritimes. My main job on HAVEN is a third electric, so I get to work hand-in-hand with the ARRI M-series lamps every day. I love my job and there is nothing else I'd rather be doing.
How would you describe the quality of light that you get from the M-Series?
The series has a very broad range of beam, from a narrow beam to wide. The best part is being able to change the beam with so much ease. You spot the things right up, blast it through a window of a room that has extras and other crew standing around, and slam it right down the barrel of the gaffer's glass, flood it back out, and feel very confident that the hot spot is directly on the actor's mark. It's also very helpful when the DP asks for a few more stops. There is no more switching for a punchier lens, burning gel and wasting time. It's just the turn of a nob on the back of the fixture and there you go.
Pretty much all the lights on the truck are ARRI name brand. We have everything from 150 peppers to the new M90 and everything in between. We also have a package of the new ARRI redhead and blondes; I could go on about those puppies too if I had the time. ARRI does the majority of the work (lighting wise) on this show, and the way its been going I don't think anyone would have it any other way.
Can you talk about a scene using the M-Series? What was the set up like?
It's hard to pinpoint any one lighting set up because we use them on every set up, but if I had to think really hard about it one day does come to mind more than others. We were on the second floor in this old building, the whole floor was lined with windows, so the grips came in and set up scaffolding along the entire length of this building. We emptied the truck of all our M40s and started hauling them up on the scaffolding. The beauty of this was really the lack of work that it was. I was able to pull up six M40s myself, set them up on 5K wind-ups, connect the head cables, and yell down to the ground to a coworker to spark the lamps from the ballast. Then he walked away leaving me to dance around six M40s all day. With the heads being so light and the fact there were no lenses, I was able to fulfill all the gaffer's needs without any problem all day by myself, leaving the rest of the crew to concentrate on the other jobs on set. To me, this really showed the value of the product.
Any other comments?
One other thing I'd like to comment on is how much cable and distribution these lights are saving us from laying. I end up pre-rigging a lot of locations and it's really making a difference on the cable that goes down. We hardly ever have to run 4/0 because of the incredibly small load these lights draw. The M90 drawing 45 amps a leg is crazy for a light that beats most 12Ks. It's also a real treat when it comes to the M40s being able to run off of 120 V and only pulling 35 amps, yet still giving the punch of a 6K that takes 220 V.