‘Bolt’ of lighting

Let’s take a ride in the wayback machine for a moment, because this is a
story I always wanted to tell, and today I’ve got the time to tell it.
Journey with me back to the fall of 2008  …

Earlier in that year, Comics on the Brain was chuckling at the trailers for “Bolt”,
so with refreshments in one hand and the little one in the other, we
hit the theater on Friday, November 21, 2008, the day the film had it’s
general release.

The road-trip movie, about a TV superdog who gets loosed on the real
world, was great fun. Sure, as many critics had pointed out, the fish
out of water story is old hat, but gosh darn it, it was still a good old

When the movie finished, the little one and I got up and as we shuffled
toward the door, I spotted something odd: Two older folks still sitting
in the audience were wearing “Bolt” T-shirts.

Kind of odd, I thought, as we continued out the door and into the
bathroom (hey, I’m sorry, but I had just finished an aquarium-sized Diet
After that side trip, we continued out to the mall, only to see those
same T-shirted people catching up to us.

My curiosity aroused, I had to ask: Where’d you get the “Bolt” shirts?

“From him!” one of the women said excitedly and pointed ahead to a young
man. She explained that it was her son (or maybe it was grandson), and
he had actually worked on “Bolt” as one of the lighting artists.

By coincidence, she said, he was in town the same day the movie
premiered, so the whole family decided to take in an early afternoon
“Awesome!” I said, and told her how much I enjoyed the flick. Even the
little one chimed in to say she adored it.

As we caught up to the man of the moment, I congratulated him as well, and got a sheepish smile and nod in response.
I walked out, thrilled with my brush with an honest-to-goodness moviemaker.

Sure, some people might think a lighting artist isn’t anything special, but in an animated movie, it’s actually quite important.

Wait, I know what you’re thinking: What does a computer-animated movie
need a lighting artist for? After all, there isn’t any real light to
worry about!

Well, that’s true, and that’s also what makes a lighting artist even
more important in a cartoon. You see, scene by scene, a lighting artist
determines the intensity, color and positions of the light and adjusts
it to intensify each image.

In all, it’s the lighting artists that bring out the depth of the
animated feature, because otherwise, characters will look flat and two

In some theaters, “Bolt” was actually being shown in 3-D, so that makes
the lighting artists even more important because they help exaggerate
the 3-D effects.

And for that Mr. Lighting Artist from York County, CotB! salutes you.
“Bolt” is a darn fine film, and your contributions made it even better.
(And can you get me one of those shirts? I’m an XXL.)


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