This is a big budget Hollywood film, mostly shot on sound stages with great sets. It was shot by Darius Khondji released in 1995. From my experiences working on big features and TV shows as an electric, this would be how I would guess it was lit.
First there appears to be a chicken coop over both the actors providing a soft down light. Probably built by the grips, I would guess that it had six 650 w mushroom lamps down through heavy diffusion such as 216. It was probably rigged through a dimmer to allow adjusting of intensity. The sides were skirted to keep spill off the set walls. There could have been two coops, one for each actor, or perhaps one large one that covered them of both. It appears to have ¼ CTB on it to cool it off and make it better match the set dressing fluorescents in the background. A real fluorescent unit, such as a kinoflo, would be too uncontrollable and spill on the back wall and the door frames behind them. Also it would be too high to provide the intensity on Morgan’s back. Chicken Coops provide more flexibilty and directionality - and are rather standard on most studio shot films and TV shows.
Each actor has his own key, tungsten from off camera right, approx 90 degrees from camera. Morgan’s light is higher than his head level, while the other actor’s key is at his eye height. Different units, with Morgan’s being brighter and un diffused while the other actors light has lite diffusion on it. I would guess they were both Fresnels. If it had been lit with one large light through diffusion the entire room would be lit with warm, soft wrap. It isn’t. It’s a detective’s office, a work place not a beautiful country home. So shadows were approximate to the storytelling which a bright big source through diffusion wouldn’t necessarily render.
There is a light off left hitting just the wall with the dart board which has been top chopped – flagged off the top of the wall. It’s aimed at a steep angle into the wall to elongate the shadow of the dart board. It could have also been snooted, or perhaps black wrapped to keep light off the books below.
Next there was probably a soft light unit, either a baby soft or 2k zip light just off right of camera, which is illuminating the edge of the typewriter, but also filling Morgan’s face – notice the soft shadow behind his ear. This is probably on a 2k variac and taken down a bit. It was probably flagged off the rest of the set, certainly flagged to cut any spill onto the door
Last there is ambient fill that was added to bring up the spines of the binders and the paperwork on the desk against the wall – and to provide some additional fill to the other actor. This could have been a 2k zip with a top chop at just above camera lens height or a 2k open-faced bounced into foamcore. It would have been taken way down on a dimmer – which would explain the warm color temperature on the papers in the background.
Edited by David Landau, 12 July 2014 - 03:18 PM.