I am talking about the forest outside Jasper's (Michael Caine's) home. We see this piece about three to four times in the movie, and it always seems as if the trees further off in the background are brighter than those in the foreground. This motif is something that Lubezki uses a lot in this film (just look at the plants in the background in the first scene where Caine and Owen are having a conversation in Jasper's home).
I always wondered how he managed to pull this off, in an exterior no less. At first glance, he would have to either use a lot (a ton) of silk/diffusion to cut down the light from the sun and diffuse it consistently like overcast in the foreground trees or put a hell of a lot of light on the trees in the background, something which given the size of the wide shots is quite impractical. He'd have to blanket the whole forest with it.
But then I came across these pictures from the set:
Clearly the forest is all a set. This would make it possible to have all the 'trees' in the background (or rather the light behind the backdrop) about 1.5 to 2 stops over exposure, while keeping everything in the foreground at an even diffusion (Picture 1 and 3).
I could buy that it is just a really good set. But look at the parallax when the car pulls into Jasper's home. It doesn't look like a set to me. This part looks like location.
My other problem is that, in one instance, at about 1:06:00, when Owen is walking in the forest (a few moments before picture 1) the camera pans up and we can see the top of the trees and the sky. Also when The Fishes arrive at Jasper's (Caine) home it is clearly early morning and the sun, well looks like a real sun, and not something that you can create on a set (Picture 2).
So if those scenes are done in a real exterior then why create the set!?? If it is all a set, then what about the sun and the top of the trees and the sky (OK, I could buy the top of the trees being CG)? If some parts are location and some set, then how did he achieve that light and dark effect for the location part?
I also noticed that the one other forest scene that is undoubtedly a real exterior and must have been shot on location doesn't follow this dark foreground, bright background motif. I am talking about the scene where Julian is buried (Picture 4).
This makes me believe that they had to create the forest set just to give Lubezki exact control over foreground and background lighting -- why else would you need that set?! Nothing else happens there!
I'd appreciate any input.
Edited by Arvin Farahmand, 22 May 2007 - 12:20 AM.