Gurdip Mahal, award winning Lighting Director. I have spent a lot of time with him this summer and learnt a lot about his lighting style. I was privileged to shadow him during his time working on the set of MTV Crashes Coventry.
He was the first person to graduate with a First Class Honours Degree in Photography, from Southampton University. At University he gained a passion in Photography and Lighting. Developing the skills he learnt at Southampton and at a work placement with MTV after graduating, assisting lighting directors, Gurdip Mahal taught himself how to light concerts, TV shows, adverts, stages and other forms of entertainments.
He has worked on a wide range of projects, including:
The Million Pound Drop:
The Voice UK:
BBC Sports Personality of the Year:
As well as designed the lighting for artists such as: Rihanna, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Adele, Robbie Williams, Coldplay, Bon Jovi, Justin Timberlake.
Gurdip Mahal believes that lighting is “about creating a mood, an atmosphere, and giving the image depth and feeling.” He loves his work to be atmospheric. His work is very recognisable as he mainly uses lasers and spot lights. Gurdip Mahal believe it is important to keep updated on technology as it constantly changing however it is equally important to value older technology such as tungsten lights. He says “for me still tungsten is the best form of light,” he believes that can create a very magical effect. Furthermore, Gurdip Mahal does not mix colours much. In an interview with GTC he has stated “I don’t mix many colours when I design. One of my rules is I never use more than two colours, so my work is very monochrome. If I do use colours, they are used very sparingly.”
In addition, he believes that the most important thing is the face therefore begins the process by designing the lighting for the face. He is a massive fan of black ambient space and suddenly turning all the lights off in order to create an impact. He suggests that lighting is not always about what lights you are using, its often about what you are not using. He says that it is important to give the audience the opposite to what they are expecting, for example holding a silhouette for an uncomfortable period of time, as this excites the audience.
Gurdip Mahal is very passionate about his job as a lighting directors, he feels that it is more of his hobby that than a job. From him I have learnt that if you are really passionate about what you are doing then you can succeed and be successful. After talking to him I have learnt that being a successful Lighting Director or being being successful in the Media Industry takes a lot of hard work, dedication and sacrifices; as the hours of work are not fixed and you often have to start work in the early hours of the and finish late at night. Gurdip Mahal said that he sometimes does not get time to see his family and often has to miss family events as he is so busy at work. He also told me that he gets very limited sleep and has to survive on six hours of sleep, so that he can ensure that he finishes all his designs to tight deadlines.