Skyscraper: Behind the Scenes with Key Rigging Gaffer Sean Oxenbury

Tick-Tock. Tick-Tock.

The building is on fire, and Will Sawyer (Dwayne Johnson) is almost out of time. In Johnson’s new action thriller, he portrays a U.S. war veteran who now assesses security for skyscrapers. He’s on assignment in Hong Kong when he finds the tallest building in the world suddenly ablaze, and he’s been framed for it. Will must find those responsible, clear his name, and rescue his trapped family before time runs out.

Creating/building a large-scale film like Skyscraper is complex, hard work. Sean Oxenbury, veteran of the films War for the Planet of the Apes, Maze Runner, Godzilla, and The Revenant to name a few, knew going in that he would be up against the clock. “Features nowadays are an extremely fast paced beast that puts a great demand on a lighting department to deliver results a few minutes before the camera rolls on each shot,” says Oxenbury. For Skyscraper, the lighting crew would need swift versatile solutions for setting up each scene.

Oxenbury and his team relied on LiteMats, LiteTiles, LiteBoxes, and LiteRibbon for the film. “The lightweight and quick setup of these products saved so much time— creating great production value.” Each of these lights were used for various applications. You can pretty much throw a LiteMat anywhere, and that’s exactly what Oxenbury did.

The Skyscraper lighting team took advantage of the LiteMat’s slender profile when shooting in small spaces. Oxenbury says, “We were able to put LiteMats into tight spots for a side light and also used them in low height situations, where we could mount them to the ceiling for a little top fill.” LiteTiles also made life a little easier for the crew. “The LiteTiles, when combined with the LiteBoxes are an amazing complete unit that can be added to any setup,” says Oxenbury. He adds, “Once you pop the Snapgrid on, the grips are in heaven— as it saves them from shaping.” When the grips are on board, you know things are going well.

As Oxenbury’s Skyscraper venture came to an end, he was already preparing for his next feature. It was time for a new production schedule, and a fresh set of challenges. Following Skyscraper, he began working on The Predator and Bad Times at the El Royale, both of which come out later this year. Currently, he has his hands full with Simon Curtis’ new feature The Art of Racing in the Rain. You can check out his work in Skyscraper July 13th. The clock is ticking away, so make sure to check it out— before it’s too late!