It had to happen sooner or later. On an ambitious series like Ren, with a tight schedule, it was inevitable that we would at some point have to shoot a daylight shot after dark. So I’d given it some thought beforehand. It seemed to me like soft toplight, simulating sky, was what was needed. I figured that a 2.5K HMI fired into an overhead 6×6 silk would do the job, and that’s one of the reasons I pushed production to hire a 2.5 despite the very limited budget.
The moment came yesterday when we got into a time crunch with one of our lead actors (Duran Fulton Brown) and had to complete a scene despite the natural light running out. Fortunately the scene was scripted as evening and we had shot coverage at magic hour and in twilight with an HMI “sunset”. So we weren’t trying to match full-on daytime.
We used a redhead for the direct “setting sun” light. We had a silk but no sturdy stands to rig it on, so we built a quick roof out of poly and Celotex (matte silver bounce), holding it up with lightweight stands and crew members! We put the 2.5K on the floor in the corner and fired it into this ceiling. The final touch was to fire an LED panel at the back wall to fill in the black shadows that the redhead was casting.
Check out the final shot below. It looks a lot less convincing to me now than it did at the time, but I believe the concept was sound. We just needed more stands to rig the poly at a better angle to get the maximum bounce, including some behind Duran to give a general “sky” backlight. Lessons learnt for the next time!