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American Beauty


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#1 Rupe Whiteman

Rupe Whiteman
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Posted 05 July 2007 - 11:49 AM

I watched this again recently to remind myself of Conrad Hall's work on the film. I'm been getting into the ways different people light/diffuse when they change from wide coverage to close-ups in a scene... Quite often people do the traditional thing of diffusing/refining more on the close up - but still keep the type & style of the key-light the same...

... There's a scene where Kevin Spacey shares a joint with a teenager kid (who lives next door to him) outside a building at night. The key light is a big unit high up from frame left. The teenager (frame right) casts a strong shadow on the background... When we cut to the close up of the teenager, Hall uses a bounced-key from a lower angle than the wide's key. The shadow from the teenager is now very diffuse and falls off softly... It works so well, ... I thought this was interesting and obviously very deliberate on Hall's part yet it was subtle and it didn't jar on the cut. Emotionally Spacey and the teenager have grown closer during the short scene and Hall's lighting change for the c/up reflects this...

(... I also love the way on interior's Hall often uses the light coming from underneath closed-doors to give an ambient fill a room or a hallway... )

Interested to hear other people's views on what it is a really key part of a dop's job on drama productions...

I still can't believe Hall shot Road to Perdition at 73... though I guess it did ultimatley finish him off. A master at work...
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Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

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Rig Wheels Passport