American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 70

Crime Family
Lighting by intuition and putting
a premium on in-camera accuracy,
career gaffer Gene Engels takes the
reins as cinematographer on the
CBS crime drama Blue Bloods.
By Jim Hemphill
*|*

70

July 2018

O

ver the past eight years, the Reagans - a clan of cops
and attorneys who take varied political and moral
stances on issues of law and order - have become one
of the most beloved families on network television. A
visit to the Brooklyn stages that Blue Bloods calls home reveals
that the warmth and professionalism of the characters on
screen extends to the crew working under director of photography Gene Engels, whose status as a firm yet esteemed
authority figure on set mirrors that of Tom Selleck's Police
Commissioner Frank Reagan, the patriarch on the series.
Like Frank, Engels ponders all possibilities, considers
his options, and ultimately lets his instincts rule the day.
"Lighting isn't based on knowledge - it's based on emotion,"
he asserts. "What does the scene feel like? How should the
audience feel? I think about how I would light the scene if I
was there on the set all by myself, with no distractions. How
should it look? And at this point a scene 'tells' me how it

American Cinematographer



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Cinematographer - July 2018

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