On Set with Cinematographer Nate Hurtsellers and Gaffer Theo Bott
For an upcoming episode of the go90 hit show Snatchers, Cinematographer Nate Hurtsellers, Gaffer Theo Bott and crew were tasked with coming up with a way to make a 9 ft Alien monster’s belly exude a pink glow. The glow is a product of a pink spore gas in the creature’s system. For those who haven’t seen the show, Snatchers is a horror-comedy series that follows high schooler Sara Steinberg, who one day wakes up 9 months pregnant with an alien, and must team up with her best friend Hayley to fight the extraterrestrial threat and save the world.
Fabricating the pink radiating belly would be no easy task for the crew. “The puppeteer on set was wearing an animatronic monster head along with the LiteGear rigged vest. Theo and Bobby Lofstrom (Fixtures Foreman) designed the vest with the ability to pulse in order to create an organic ‘heartbeat’ type effect,” says Hurtsellers. He adds, “Once all of our VFX is complete, the puppeteer and vest will be covered with a cg animated monster torso and legs. The pink light effect will play on the walls of the set and our actor as she battles the alien. During this battle sequence with the alien and our protagonist Sara, we are keying with either ‘moonlight’ through windows or the glow from the pink belly, so the design and flexibility of the rig was crucial to us pulling off the lighting in a realistic way”.
The team was able to formulate the glow with LiteDimmer EFX Fire effect dimmers, 4×4 DMX Controllers and VHO Pro 120 X2 Hybrid LiteRibbon. “Initially the effect pulse was driven by four of the LiteDimmer EFX Fire units, says Bott. He adds, “Once we moved into tighter coverage, stunts and shots where more control was needed the puppeteer’s vest rig was fit with a 4×4 DMX Controller. The dimmer was fed DMX through an innovative dimming Cintenna/AKS link and the effect programmed by Bobby (Lofstrom) on Luminair V3.0. 120 X2 Hybrid LiteRibbon was built into the micro pads and sheathed in Rosco CalColor pink or magenta. Our goal in the design and implementation was to maximize the flexibility of the effect while keeping the rig as simple and safe as possible. Every part of the rig was built to rip away and the battery powered lighting harness was protected by an enclosed, fused DC bussing system mounted to the puppeteer’s back support. The total max current draw of the rig was just over 10 amps at 12v DC, or just slightly more than two LiteMat 1 Series 2 fixtures. When needed, a LiteMat 3, Series 2 with the CalColor Pink would work as a ‘Stand-In’ for the puppeteer during lighting setups.”
Be sure to check out season 1 of Snatchers currently streaming on go90! Season 2 is currently still undergoing principle photography. If you enjoy movies like Evil Dead or Cabin in the Woods, you’ll be sure to love this comical thriller.