Ren: Lighting Dagron’s House

This is our big interiors week on Ren. The main set is the inside of Ren’s house, which was assembled in a mere three days by Chris Dane and his team, cannibalising the village exterior set. In this video blog I explain how I lit the set.

This set-up worked pretty much as-is for the first big scene in the house, shot on Monday. It was all handheld, so I needed the flexibility to move around with the camera and not worry about lamps on the floor getting in shot. The way I’d lit the set meant that the cast could stand pretty much anywhere and look good, especially since whoever was wiggling the “firelight” reflector could tweak the angle of it to follow any actor threatening to go a bit dark.

100W bulbs hidden behind the dresser for "candlelight"
100W bulbs hidden behind the dresser for “candlelight”

As the bedroom was visible in the background of many shots, I rigged a rough version of the candelight effect I knew I would be using when we got to the bedroom scenes proper. I clipped four 100W tungsten bulbs behind pieces of furniture and cabled them into two channels of the dimmer board Colin kindly lent us. These were then flickered to suggest flames.

The dimmer station

The dedo over the table proved to be superfluous. When I saw Claire making candles for the set, I asked her to double-wick them. I’d read in American Cinematographer that they’d done that on Pirates of the Caribbean to boost the light output, and sure enough, once those candles were lit, the dedo wasn’t needed.

The following day I played around with the lighting a bit more. When we came in for close-ups – this time on sticks – I turned off the overhead 4ft kino and brought in a 2ft kino on the floor for Window Wrap (Lighting Technique Number #3). That way the light got into the talent’s eye sockets and was generally more flattering.

The kinoflo on the right acts as Window Wrap
The kinoflo on the right acts as Window Wrap

For another scene I decided the fire had gone out, allowing our bad guys to be bathed in cool daylight while the good guys stayed near the candlelight by the bedroom door. It’s nice when you have motivated colour contrast like this in a set and you can play around with which characters are in which colour of light. I look forward to shooting the remaining house scenes and developing some nice candlelight in the bedroom.

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Ren: Lighting Dagron’s House