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Christopher Nolan's 'Following' - lighting a movie w no budget


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#1 David Walden

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 04:51 AM

I posted this in the Lighting forum earlier, but figured I'd repost here as it offers insight for people starting out.

 

Since a lot of people are interested in shooting indie movies with little or no budget, I would definitely recommend checking out the DVD of Chris Nolan's first movie "Following". First off, the film itself is absolutely amazing.  Second, there's a fantastic commentary track on the DVD where Nolan explains exactly how he shot the thing, with absolutely zero budget. He wrote and directed it, did all the camera work himself, and used ONLY natural lighting with no bounce or assistance (it helps that he shot it in London which is mainly overcast).  The actors were his friends, and he shot it only on weekends over the course of a year.  It's a remarkable movie, and the commentary track is definite MUST!

 

cheers-

david

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#2 Mathew Rudenberg

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 01:06 PM

I attended a Q&A with him at the Egyptian theatre several years ago where he said that he shot it in black and white so they could save money on lighting - ie use tungsten lights and not have to worry about color balance. Also mentioned the weekends.

 

Maybe the no lighting referred to exteriors?


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#3 David Walden

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 07:55 PM

There are some interior sequences where he does say they used a couple hard lights to give a "noir" look.  But much of the interior stuff was shot by placing actors close to windows, or by using practical light fixtures in the rooms.  For the most part, the film has a very natural/documentary look to it from the available light, similar to a French New Wave look.  Shooting in black in white obviously removes any need for correcting any shifts in lighting temperature, and shooting in an overcast city helps overall to get a natural look without harsh highlights or shadows. It's a remarkable achievement imo.

 

-d


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#4 joshua gallegos

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 11:50 AM

The brilliance of that film wasn't in the lighting, I wasn't taken by the look it had, but his ability to tell a pretty intricate story with images was quite excellent. I thought the camerawork was what made the film a complete success, the way it was assembled in the cutting room. The film has its plot holes, but he managed to make a great film with virtually no resources, which is an impossible endeavor. If you look at modern filmmakers like Mike Cahill, Zal Batmanglij (who are currently my absolute favorite), they've embraced a kind of cinema, where they can go out there and make a movie without raising a million dollars, or even getting location permits. Sound of My Voice was made with two Canon 7Ds with a PL attachments for Cine lenses, but he did have Rachel Morrison as DoP, but either way, it's a pretty remarkable achievement, considering it was made with very little money. I like the whole Cassavetes approach, it's truly the only way to make a film. The most important thing is writing a good script, which is what all these no budget films have in common. 


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