Film grad Jeff Wallace has spent the past decade as part of the lighting team on big budget movies like The Hunger Games and Iron Man 3, and you can see his latest work in this summer’s new comedy Tammy, starring Melissa McCarthy.
The project shot for six weeks in Wilmington, North Carolina, where Jeff has built his career as a lighting technician in the area’s growing film community since 2003. The road trip comedy is set during the 4th of July, and was a distinct change of pace from the large-scale action projects he has been attached to in recent years.
“It’s more intimate making a movie like this, and there’s just a totally different feeling on set,” he says. “Sometimes with the smaller movies, you get more of an appreciation of what you’ve made, and you can see that work on screen.”
“Comedies are also a lot of fun for us, and people were cracking up during filming. As crew, you’re taught to stay quiet, but there’s those moments where you can’t help but chuckle under your breath. The whole experience on Tammy was really fun and everyone felt really close and connected.”
In addition to the experience that came with the tighter crew, the creative team also made the decision to shoot on film stock, rather than digital cameras that can be typical of a project this size. It was the last film-based project Jeff has worked on, and he explained that the format will make a difference in what you see on screen.
“For a comedy to shoot nowadays on film is almost unheard of because it slows the production down, but they chose to get that look.” he says. “Hopefully more people do that and keep film alive. It’s always nice to hear the film running through the reel on set, and the end result just has that warmth and rich look that you can’t capture on digital. I thought that was really cool, and I know my wife and I are looking forward to going to see it ourselves.”