Baffa Chooses Schneider Filters for Glee

Christopher Baffa ASC has chosen Schneider’s Classic Soft diffusion filters for the award-winning television series, “Glee.” This is the first time Baffa, who also shot the pilot, has used Schneider filters.

“ ‘Glee’ basically revolves around the central concept of social underdogs,” Baffa said. “In this case, members of a high school glee club, escape the confines of a social hierarchy through their talents as performers. Their simple, mundane, and even harrowing lives are temporarily elevated through the excitement and romantic lure of the stage, where they are allowed to shine.”

Visually, Baffa has created two contrasting worlds by presenting their normal reality through a fairly straight-forward, naturalistic realism with soft source-driven lighting that is found in a normal high school. In contrast, the musical performances allow for the opportunity to use expressive color and much more stylized theatrical lighting.

“We use either 1/4 or 1/8 Classic Softs on our Panavision Millennium XLs with 11:1 Primo Zoom lenses, depending on the shot and desired effect,” he said. “To me, Schneider filters are effective as an all-around diffusion because they perform wonderfully while not calling attention to themselves. They are a truly beautiful filter, but quite subtle, and perfect for smoothing out variations in skin tone and texture, while not allowing highlights and white reference to weaken or ‘milk out’ the blacks.

“In our musical performances, we photograph a tremendous range of contrast in our lighting situations that demand a degree of not only quality, but also flexibility with respect to any filter riding on our lenses,” he explains. “We are often shooting directly into very bright rock-and-roll par can lighting rigs, and trying to get flares and chromatic aberrations to occur. A well placed or timed lens flare can be amazing, and often enhance the emotional element of a given song or number. However, the last thing we want is to simultaneously weaken or de-saturate our rich blacks. Schneider allows us to achieve both goals.”