Dennis Weiler


As the senior member of Darkfire Lighting Design, Dennis Weiler brings an enviable depth of experience to the design team. Born in Detroit, Michigan “a long time ago”, he came to California in 1968, a year before entering high school. Later at California State Northridge, he developed the passion for photography that would shape his career. Ever the pragmatist, he realized that the crowded field of fashion photography might not pay the bills and came upon the film department at CSUN, graduating in Television and Communications. In 1982 he became a cameraman at the Valley Production Center. “The camera experience was invaluable but I soon became more interested in lighting – there were no lighting guys on staff,” says Weiler who would become the studio’s resident Lighting Director and later its owner. There he lit Casey Kasem’s America’s Top 10 and hundreds of commercials and TV pilots. “In the 80’s and 90’s I became known as the king of kid’s shows,” he jokes. In his ten years of studio ownership he met his mentor Ken Palius and Darkfire Lighting Design founder Oscar Dominguez. After a couple of years in the camera rental business, Oscar persuaded him to “put down his pencil and pick up his light meter,” beginning a 20-year collaboration. After four years on the Tyra Banks show he is now in his fifteenth year as Lighting Director for The Bachelor and its spinoffs. “I love the challenges – especially the locations – we are on the road for two months with a new set-up every four days.” A keen follower of lighting and camera technology, Dennis marvels at the changes he has seen in his long career. “When I started lighting for television we needed at least 150 foot candles for tube cameras – now we get down to 9 foot candles on The Bachelor sofas. Dennis is keen to share his encyclopedic knowledge of TV lighting with younger team members. In his limited spare time, he shares Oscar’s interest in cars, photography and “fixing problems.”

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