American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 35A

Gaffer Dwight Campbell checks the DragonFrame interface on set for
Buddy Thunderstruck at Stoopid Buddy Stoodios.

I

"Stoodio" Lighting
By Kelly Brinker

Buddy Thunderstruck gaffer Dwight
Campbell has worked in set lighting for
more than 30 years. He moved to California to attend the American Film Institute,
after which he made his way into feature
films, commercials and television as a
gaffer and a key grip. His credits include
the features The Abyss, Backdraft and Far
and Away, and the television series Boomtown, Las Vegas and Robot Chicken. AC
spoke with Campbell about his current
work in stop-motion animation.
American Cinematographer:
How did you get started with Stoopid
Buddy Stoodios?
Dwight Campbell: My original
partner after attending AFI was a motioncontrol cinematographer. My first 15 years
in California involved a lot of motioncontrol work with miniature models and
cities. After several years of doing title
sequences, I found myself working odd
days on the television series House doing
motion-control work with an extended
lens for showing [patients'] interior body
parts. This is where I crossed paths with
cameraman Helder Sun. Helder was eventually hired by the 'Buds,' and he brought
me over to work on Robot Chicken and
eventually Super Mansion.
When I first came into the buildDigital Exclusive

April 2017

ing, it was completely empty. They asked
me what I could do to help them set up
18 stages, so I put in all the steel and
arranged for all the power. I then went
off to work on four small features or
films made for television and returned as
a day player on Robot Chicken. When
Super Mansion was coming together,
they asked me to be a full-time gaffer, so
I stayed on as long as I could and that led
to almost four years of work. I would
leave to do commercials and pick up the
union days, and then I'd come back to
the animation world. Stop-motionanimation production feels very natural
to me because of my earlier work in
motion control.
How is it different working on
a stop-motion production as
opposed to a feature film?
Campbell: The job itself is the
same - it's just a question of picking
your units to do the same job on a
smaller scale. For example, having a 1K
on a stop-motion set is like having a 12K
or a brute arc on a live-action set. The
exposure is so much slower for stop
motion, so everything is minimized. It's
always hard to get smaller lights for
smaller sets; we use many tricks to make
it seem realistic.
Do you like having everything
linked to and controlled by the
DragonFrame software system?
Campbell: DragonFrame is an
American Cinematographer

amazing program and an incredibly
useful tool to have. I've met its inventor;
it didn't exist in the old world of motion
control that I remember. It was a huge
leap for the stop-motion-animation
process when DragonFrame became
available. We used to have Video Lunchbox, which was a very different kind of
experience. DragonFrame basically takes
relatively inexpensive cameras - the
Canon cameras or the Nikon cameras -
and gives you the ability to do some
incredible things with stop motion and
even time-lapse photography.
What challenges did you
encounter while working on Buddy
Thunderstruck?
Campbell: The biggest challenge
was trying to achieve a completely different look than the previous shows that
were made at the studio. It was a challenge convincing them to put in night
and day backings to create the new look.
Originally, there were three hard cycs
with blue skies and clouds that needed
to be repainted. We had to convince
them to tear them out and spend the
money to buy the rails and curtains
necessary to create a really smooth-looking background of a day or a night sky
for Buddy Thunderstruck. When they
finally agreed, there was a rush to get
everything ready in time for production.
It was worth the efforts because it
changed the dynamics of that studio
from basically being a really small momand-pop kind of stop-motion studio with
everything being one-off, to having the
ability to create very stylized looks on 25
stages simultaneously. That change was
crucial; otherwise they would have had
no skies, and they needed skies in 20 out
of the 25 stages.
How was it managing the
lighting on all 25 stages?
Campbell: Well, you can't do
them all at the same time. I would
normally touch four to five stages a day
- the major 'flip' stages. Flipping a stage
means we either change a day scene to a
night scene, or change to a completely
new scene, a new episode and a new set.
This process can take several hours and
involves many departments working until
we get a locked angle.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Cinematographer - April 2017

Contents
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - Intro
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - Cover1
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - Cover2
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 1
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 2
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - Contents
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 4
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 5
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 6
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 7
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 8
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 9
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 10
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 11
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 12
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 13
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 14
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 15
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 16
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 17
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 18
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 19
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 20
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 21
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 22
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 23
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 24
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 25
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 26
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 27
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 28
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 29
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 30
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 31
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 32
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 33
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 34
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 35
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 35A
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 35B
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 36
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 37
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 38
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 39
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 40
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 41
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 42
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 43
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 44
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 45
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 46
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 47
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 48
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 49
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 50
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 51
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 52
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 53
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 54
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 55
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 56
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 57
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 58
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 59
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 60
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 61
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 62
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 63
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 64
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 65
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 66
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 67
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 68
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 69
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 70
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 71
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 72
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 73
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 74
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 75
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 76
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 77
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 78
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 79
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 80
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 81
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 82
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 83
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 84
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 85
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 86
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 87
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 88
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 89
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 90
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 91
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 92
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 93
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 94
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 95
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 96
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 97
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 98
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 99
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 100
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 101
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 102
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 103
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 104
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 105
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 106
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 107
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 108
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - Cover3
American Cinematographer - April 2017 - Cover4
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0420
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0320
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0220
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0120
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1219
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1119
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1019
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0919
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0819
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0719
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0619
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0519
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0419
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0319
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0219_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0219
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0119_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0119
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1218
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1118
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1018
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0918
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0818
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0718
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0618
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0518
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0418
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0318
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0218
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0118
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1217
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1117
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1017
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0917
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0817
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0717
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0617
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0517
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0417
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0317
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0217
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0117
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1216
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1116
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1016
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0916
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0816
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0716
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0616
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0516
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0416
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0316
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0216
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0116
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1215
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1115
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1015
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0915
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0815
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0715
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0615
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0515
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0415
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0315
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0215
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0115
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com