Each season, the cinematographer receives a massive bible of scripts some weeks out from the commencement of production, allowing him and the director to begin planning how to tackle the more elaborate skits. "For every large-scale spot, we compensate by shooting three others very simply, usually just a master and coverage of each of the guys," he explains. "That lets us keep up with the demands of production while also staying economy-minded."
Papert’s gaffer and key grip accompany him on each location scout. "We’ll scout on a Monday for the next block of sketches, so that means looking at about two dozen locations that day," explains Papert. "We’ll go all over the area, from Whittier to Santa Clarita. Peter will have done a creative scout and let us know that his intent is to shoot in a particular direction, letting us know which walls will be visible, so we know what we need to worry about. As I take all this in, it’s a matter of coming up with an idea for lighting pretty much on the fly. I talk it over with my guys in broad strokes. So I’m spending 10 minutes with Pete, another 10 with my guys, and then it’s back in the van and onto the next."
Papert readily acknowledges that some locations aren’t 100% ideal. "We might find our guys on a sofa in front of a white wall and aren’t permitted to paint the wall darker. So, in that situation, I would be subtracting light, taking the wall down, while at the same time building it up on the actors, reshuffling the values as needed creatively."