This is a continuation of my last post, a report from the set of Jordan Morris’s sci-fi short Forever Alone.
Day two saw us shooting a big scene in the dining room. Since the location was only available to us during daylight hours, the windows had to be blacked out with bin bags. Ideally for night interiors, I would put an HMI outside to shine “moonlight” in through the windows, and perhaps use halogen floodlights to create depth and interest in the deep background. This can bother some directors, however, because it means leaving the curtains open – hardly realistic. I figured that if I could create an interesting night interior look on Forever Alone without the crux of open curtains and deep background, it would give me a lot of confidence in the future when working with those restrictions.
I began by turning on the ceiling light, something I almost never do. I’m not a big fan of toplight, but it seemed appropriate given the interrogative nature of the scene, and I knew I could add bounced light off the table-top if the look was too harsh. Also, the shadow of the lightshade added some interest to the room’s blank white walls. I used the 60W tungsten bulb, and placed black-wrap across the top of the shade to prevent bounce off the ceiling from raising the ambient light level.
I clamped the Dedo to the top of a mirror directly behind Faith, which allowed me to give her a dedicated backlight. I gelled this pink, foreshadowing her eyes glowing this colour at the end of the script.
Other Faith, a visual representation of the heroine’s darker side, was keyed by another dedicated source, this time gelled with Medium Blue/Green again. Ideally this source would have been a Dedo, to achieve fine control, but only an LED panel remained available. So to reduce the panel’s spill onto other characters, I fashioned makeshift barn doors out of a cardboard box.
To light the living room – visible in the background on reverses – I employed the Divalight. This was gelled blue to suggest moonlight and create some depth and separation – a proxy, I suppose, for those deep backgrounds I couldn’t have outside the windows.
Much has been made in recent years of the low-light sensitivity of modern digital cameras, and the attendant reduction in required lighting power. When competing with natural light, larger instruments are still necessary, but Forever Alone really helped me to see what can be achieved with minimal gear. This weekend I get to see how much I can push this in a night exterior scene, as we complete principal photography. Stay tuned.