Rick Seigel segues easily from lighting film to television, lighting a wide range of projects from narrative films and documentaries to music shows to corporate projects. His shows include the live episodic program Live By Request that ran on A&E for several years. He has also done lighting for Barbara Walters' and Diane Sawyer's interviews on ABC.
What kind of film lighting have you done recently?
Last year I was DP on a short film titled The Shovel starring David Strathairn that won the Best Short award at the Tribeca Film Festival. This was a dark story of murder and deception. The camera's composition and lighting was designed to emphasize the treachery while not revealing secrets until the exact moment of its surprise ending.
How do you achieve a successful crossover of disciplines, from film to TV, from DP to LD?
I am constantly learning the craft of both film/television and lighting production. It's almost like two different languages, but I can speak in both of them. Many times, my client doesn't know the extent of my background in both worlds, and they don't need to. I focus on their needs and bring both disciplines to bear on the project at hand.
What is the best piece of professional advice you have ever gotten?
Be honest and tell the truth.
What is the worst piece of professional advice you have ever gotten?
Don't worry; no one will notice.
What is the most challenging project you have ever worked on? What was the challenge and the solution?
A TV show entitled Winter Solstice On Ice in Kemi, Finland, 100 miles south of the Artic Circle. We had a cast of the world's best figure skaters, a large dance troupe from New York, and about 150 crew members from all over the world. My camera department were folks from the US, UK, and Finland. The lighting crew was made up of a crew from Sweden, UK, and Finland.
The set was to be a skating rink built in front a beautiful three-story snow castle. We had 10 cameras, five 60'-tall scaffolding towers, hundreds of moving lights, Kino-Flos buried in ice, multiple 16,000W helium balloons to light up the night sky, and all manner of snow/ice specialized grip gear; the list goes on and on.
When I scouted the location earlier in the year, I asked the mayor of Kemi if the weather ever got warm enough to melt an ice rink. He replied, “Never!” When we returned a few months later for the shoot, global warming had impacted the local weather, and the skating rink was completely melted with no chance of freezing in time!
We decided to move the whole show onto an icebreaker and shoot almost entirely on an ice floe in the middle of the Gulf of Bothnia! The best solution was be patient and be alert for answers when they presented themselves.