Sunday, January 13, 2008

C-47 Legend

You probably have heard about C-47 by now and know that around GPB it is our Georgia Short Film Showcase, but you probably have wondered what exactly a C-47 is and why we chose to call our stellar showcase a C-47. To get this answer, we will need to take a little glimpse into the world of filmmaking.

Filmmakers rely on many factors to create a desired effect and mood to a scene, but one in particular is very important: lighting. Since Shakespearean times, lighting has been one of the single most important elements to a set or scene. As you can probably imagine, lighting a scene in those times were quit different than today. The difference between the times is wine glasses and color correction gel or diffusion that is used in today’s filmmaking.

These color correction gels or diffusions used in modern times are simply transparent colored materials placed over a light on a film set. There’s one small catch – the lights on a set tend to get extremely hot and something durable that can withstand the heat of the light is needed to hold the color correction gel in place. What would this durable, outstanding material be? It would have to be the one and only, ever so heat-resistant wooden clothespins that are known by filmmakers and the film industry as C-47s.

These handy, non-heat transferring C-47s make changing a color correction gel much safer than touching the light directly. They are used so often on the set that some in the industry refer to them as “bullets” because crew members have them pinned everywhere including their belts for use at any given moment.

For why the filmmakers decided to call wooden clothespins a C-47 is really up to debate. Some believe it was for budgeting purposes to make the tool sound more exclusive than it really is, and some believe it came from a box label. Either way, the clothespin with a humble beginning as just a device used for hanging clothes on a clothesline is now as famous as some of the filmmakers themselves – stage name and all.

Without C-47s, lighting just wouldn’t be the same on a set. We decided this tool represented exactly what we think short films represent – something filmmakers can’t live without.

To learn more about C-47: Georgia Short Film Showcase, visit The next deadline for submissions is December 31.