Sidney Baucheron takes illumination to its apex-01

Sidney Baucheron takes illumination to its apex with ARRI Lighting

Chief electrician, Sidney Baucheron, talks to ARRI about his different projects and experiences, sometimes in extreme conditions.

Young gaffer with brilliant references, Sidney Baucheron followed in the footsteps of his father, Thierry Baucheron, from early on. After working in the film industry, at the age of 31, he produced the lighting installations for hundreds of the most complex commercials. He tells us about his job and his daily use of ARRI Lighting projectors on set.

In the motion picture business “family”, there are many of these sons and daughters trained on the job who have brought the profession to the apex. The Baucherons, father and son, are part of this “family” with a very high level of cinematographic achievement: “Midnight in Paris” and “Magic in the Moonlight” by Woody Allen, “Amour” by Michael Haneke, were all shot by Darius Khondji, who is known for his high lighting standards. “My father has been a gaffer for 40 years; I grew up with him on the sets and at the rental companies,” explains Sidney Baucheron, the son now in his thirties. “After graduating from high school, I worked for several years with my father on feature films. I was able to quickly learn about the equipment and the basics of the business. He gave me responsibilities very quickly. At 22, I was already doing the pre-light on “Magic in the Moonlight”. Since then, I have been working mainly on advertising. The short format suits me better because I get bored quickly. I like projects that are real creative challenges, pushing the limits in terms of lighting. I love the pressure; the feeling of risk that advertising offers me. I also have other activities on the side. It leaves me a little time for myself.”

Sidney Baucheron takes illumination to its apex-02

Sidney Baucheron and his father, Thierry Baucheron

In terms of artistic challenge, the Saint Laurent fashion show on the Eiffel Tower was a high point for Sidney Baucheron. “We had to create a light installation with 70 lampheads and suspend them above the second floor of the tower, at a height of 80 m, where a catwalk had been created. The technical constraints were very strong since we did not have permission to attach the truss to the structure of the Eiffel Tower and we only had a few hours at nightfall to set it up. With several specialized teams, we built this almost 7-ton, 30-meter-long installation over two days. At the last moment, around 11 p.m., we assembled it on the second floor of the Eiffel Tower with the largest crane in Europe that we were able to have on this site. All this with maximum safety. We shot the show all night with DP Nicolas Loir, before bringing the installation down in the early morning. It was maximum pressure.”

Sidney Baucheron takes illumination to its apex-03

Installation of the Saint Laurent fashion show on the Eiffel Tower

On these projects, the young gaffer worked closely with director Nathalie Canguilhem, who created the most creative fashion shows conceived by Anthony Vaccarello, Saint Laurent’s artistic director: from the island of La Certosa in Venice to the Villa Majorelle in Marrakech, from the feet of an Icelandic glacier to the dunes of Maspalomas in the Canary Islands. “They are superb projects, with a great creative dimension,” says Sidney Baucheron. “In Maspalomas, with my teams, we lit 600 m of dunes at night and created different types of effects. I proposed four light configurations to select the one that would work best on site. On this show, we used 50 ARRI SkyPanel, 4 ARRI Skypanel 360s and 100 LED PARs, to reinforce the light strip. I also tested light drones and lasers. In Iceland, with DP Khalid Mohtaseb, we had to book all the HMIs available on the island. We had installed three cherry pickers equipped with ARRIMAX 18Ks in order to give a direction of light in this black lava and gray sky setting. Usually, on this kind of shoot, I go out to scout three weeks beforehand, and I often have to take options on the lighting plan. The director of photography and I then work to adjust the set as needed.” 

Sidney Baucheron takes illumination to its apex-04

“We had installed three cherry pickers equipped with ARRIMAX 18Ks in order to give a direction of light in this black lava and gray sky setting.” - Sidney Baucheron

Sidney Baucheron takes illumination to its apex-05

“In Maspalomas, with my teams, we lit 600 m of dunes at night and created different types of effects” - Sidney Baucheron

Recently, Sidney Baucheron worked on a L'Oréal ad, with DP Adrien Bertolle. A beautiful project shot at the Palais d'Iéna for which the brand brought in about twenty muses from several continents. “With my team, we installed four ARRIMAX 18KW on the roof and eight ARRI M90 on gondolas, which gave directions for light from outside. In the hemicycle, we used 20 SkyPanel to light the space.”

In his projects, the young gaffer uses ARRI Lighting products a lot. “For HMIs, no manufacturer has a range as simple and effective as ARRI,” says Sidney Baucheron. “On shoots, I use a lot of the M-Series, which is very well thought out. The weight/power ratio is perfect. I still remember when this series came out, it was incredible. It offered the same performance as the old fixtures while consuming 30% less power. The arrival of the M90 has changed a lot of things in my job as a gaffer. It makes things so much easier for us in terms of electrical management.”

Sidney Baucheron takes illumination to its apex-06

Lighting installation for the Chanel fashion show with 200 SkyPanel S60 and 40 SkyPanel S360

ARRI SkyPanel are also one of the young gaffer’s favorite tools. For a Chanel fashion show at the Grand Palais, he designed a lighting installation with 200 SkyPanel S60s and 40 SkyPanel S360s with lighting designer Arf & Yes and DP Benoît Delhomme. On a Dolce & Gabbana commercial, again with Benoît Delhomme, he used up to 90 SkyPanel S120 and S360, in top light and to light a large U-shaped cyclo. “The SkyPanel is an incredible fixture in the studio. I use it in multiple configurations, both as a top light and for backgrounds or to create backlighting on large widths. There is nothing better as a LED light at the moment. I am regularly offered new products but each time none match the SkyPanel.”

Sidney Baucheron takes illumination to its apex-07

Rendering of the Chanel fashion show 

“Recently, during a beautiful installation for a Korean fashion show, with Benoît Delhomme, I used 16 SkyPanel S360s on top to create a perfectly lit 11m x 11m softbox. Previously, with the Spacelight, it would have required a huge wiring and three times more power. With the SkyPanel, you save a lot of installation time and electrical power. In addition, they offer this incredible possibility to choose with precision the color and intensity of the light. This is very important in advertising where many different colors are used. Here, you can select the color that exactly matches the brand’s universe. It’s a huge advantage in terms of creation. I can walk around with the iPad in my hand and quickly adjust the color and intensity of the SkyPanel. It has revolutionized the way we work.”

Sidney Baucheron takes illumination to its apex-08

16 SkyPanel S360s to light up a Korean fashion show

Sidney Baucheron is used to large-scale lighting installations and is also regularly involved in packshots, notably with the DP Jean Poisson, and recently with Darius Khondji on a Tag Heuer versus Porsche ad. “I take great pleasure in working on the very small, I appreciate this miniaturized work. Recently, I worked with Darius Khondji on a project where we made permanent transitions between a Tag Heuer watch and a Porsche. There, we reached a very high level of precision on the lighting of the watch’s curves, which we then had to find on the car, despite the change in scale. It was a real challenge. I know Darius Khondji well, as he has worked with my father for a long time. With him, we talk very little about equipment, he gives me references, exposure levels on the forefront or on the backgrounds ... but he trusts me completely on the choice of lighting fixtures. It's a real pleasure to work alongside him.”

Sidney Baucheron takes illumination to its apex-09

Behind the scenes of Tag Heuer versus Porsche advertising