Richard P. Ulivella

Gaffer — Chief Lighting Technician — Lighting Designer

Latest Blog


Latest Tweets

About Me

Full Gaffer Mode

Richard at Work

I am a gaffer (aka chief lighting technician) located in New York City with a deep passion for lighting and storytelling. I have practiced this passion for over 15 years in various media including film, television, theater, photography, installations, events, and computer graphic environments. I started a technology company (established late 2010, we are just getting going) and have been writing code even longer than I have been working with lighting. I have been known to combine these two deep pools of knowledge to build unique tools and interesting effects.

My Approach

Given my passions it should be no surprise I like to combine traditional techniques with high-tech tools. This means maximizing efficiency and flexibility while keeping focused on the story. I try to choose projects that combine technical challenges and great scripts and/or concepts. Overcoming difficulty when playing a team sport such as filmmaking is one of the most rewarding aspects of my job. I run a very tight department, hire a no-compromises talented crew every time, and focus on an equally intense collaboration with the director of photography, production manager, line producer, production designer, key grip, my own crew, and other department heads.

  • Normal professionalism applies: on time, ready to work, etc. No need to explain this one further but if I were to put something in the first spot on this kind of list then this would be it.
  • We are here for this project: 100% of our time should be spent contributing.
  • More than a job: I do this work because it does not feel like work. The day it does or the day I get jaded is the day I will have to leave the business. If anyone on my crew feels stressed, frustrated, or grumpy I will do everything I can to alleviate that stress.
  • I really like a quiet department: This goes a long way to keeping us all sane along with maintaining effective and efficient communications.
  • Set the standard for respect: My department sets the standard for respect towards each other and to other departments, including talent. Watching out for eyelines, noise during rehearsals, conflicts, etc. is all very important to me.
  • Speak up and contribute: Suggestions, ideas, options, etc. — I love to hear what my crew, coworkers, other departments, and superiors are thinking. Nothing is better for me than communicating openly like this — especially if it saves time or delivers superior results.


  • Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Film Production from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in 2003.
  • Honors Scholar Graduate & Founders’ Day Award Recepient

Accolades & Affiliations

  • Member IATSE Local 52 — New York City Studio Mechanics, Electric Department


  • Margot Carmichael Lester (September 2011). “Paper Trails.” International Cinematographers Guild Magazine (ICG)
  • Roberto Quezada (Spring 2008). “Tapeless.” FilmMaker Magazine
  • Stephanie Argy (November 2005). “Short Takes: An Artful Use of Fluorescents.” American Cinematographer

Selected Filmography & Projects

Feature Films

  • Pitch Perfect (2012)
  • Robot and Frank (2011)
  • Syrup (2011)
  • The Art of Love (2010)
  • Dare (2008)
  • Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Undead (2007)
  • Against The Current (2007)
  • Order of Redemption (2007)
  • Goodbye Baby (2006)
  • The Big Bad Swim (2005)
  • Madness and Genius (2002)

Music Videos

  • Jazmine Sullivan
  • Fantasia
  • Joshua Radin
  • Hawthorne Heights
  • Senses Fail
  • Of a Revolution — O.A.R.
  • 50 Cent
  • The Bravery
  • Fatboy Slim
  • Pharoahe Monch


  • The Americans (Pilot, 2012)
  • Guilty (Pilot, 2012)


  • Verizon
  • Nokia
  • Coca–Cola
  • Walmart
  • Foxwoods Casino & Resort
  • The Ad Council (several different campaigns)
  • Vodafone
  • General Mills
  • Marshalls & TJ Max
  • Merck
  • Pfizer
  • Panasonic
  • Toyota
  • Mattel
  • Intimissimi


  • Nickelodeon
  • The Learning Channel (TLC)
  • Food Networks (FoodTV)

Extended Filmography & Work Experience

Download my resume for more comprehensive information.

If you know what it is you are salivating right now. From chef Ken at Sakura Bana in Ridgewood, NJ, my favorit sushi bar.Live uni from chef Ken at Sakura Bana in Ridgewood, NJ — my favorite sushi bar. If you know what this is you are salivating right now.

Richard Outside of Work

When not working I enjoy food (cooking and eating), interesting wine, design, typography, cosmology, astrophysics (almost became my career long ago), mathematics, music, interesting novels, art exhibitions, snowmobiles, skiing, mountain biking, sports (especially the NYY and NYJ), and as many other things I can find time for that exercise my mind and soul.

The Site

For more information about this site’s creation, tools, and techniques, please visit the Colophon for details.