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Mindhunter Bar scene - lighting breakdown


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#1 Haroun Al-Shaater

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 10:09 AM

God I love the cinematography in this show! And after having come out with pretty poor results once before when shooting in a bar I thought I'd get a bit of guidance.

 

Any tips on the recreating the light in this scene? 

 

Am I right in thinking they likely blocked the windows that we see in both shots when facing away from them? Is that edge-light even from those windows or just motivated by them? 

 

I'm also not sure where the light on the white door supposed to be coming from in this first shot

Screen-Shot-2017-10-31-at-09.23.20.jpg

Screen-Shot-2017-10-31-at-09.24.16.jpg

 

Thanks, any thoughts at all welcome! 


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#2 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 01:39 PM

Aside from the window light and the practicals, it could be nothing more than a soft, low level key from behind the bar. They probably had it positioned slightly downstage from the actors to create some modeling on the camera side of their faces. It's hard to say where the edge light is coming from. Could be the windows, although they are pretty underlit, so maybe it is an additional source. The light on the door in the first picture is probably nothing more than their key light spilling between them.


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#3 Reggie A Brown

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Posted 21 November 2017 - 04:45 PM

Read this article. The DP gives a lot of valuable information about lighting and composition; not that scene in particular, but you can get an idea on his thought process and techniques with lighting the show.

http://filmmakermaga...h/#.WhSd_8tMHqB
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#4 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 21 November 2017 - 09:59 PM

Good article.. thanks for posting.. also love this style.. can be big lights used but still very simple plan.. or just a couple of florrie tubes.. I guess the tech specs now of digital cameras has changed the way people light and also  the "style" that is now in fashion.. I guess one allowed the other.. matched with great set design of course.. 

 

Reading the article I would say Stuart is spot on..re the bottom frame.. or even its just the fall off from something big outside the window that lighting the person down the back frame left..


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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 22 November 2017 - 01:05 AM

It's not too difficult to light a bar counter scene with soft light when it's all done in medium and close shots, you usually put some large soft units behind the bar counter -- Kinos, Litemats, paper lanterns, etc.  Looks great on faces. The main problem is usually just leaving room for the bartender to move back and forth to pour the drinks if you end up with c-stands behind the bar counter.

 

The challenging part is when you start with a wide shot that sees the whole bar counter and wall behind it and the ceiling above it -- and the camera dollies across the room into a close-up and you want that sort of soft key light.  Then you pretty much have to install practicals that give you that soft light, and sometimes it looks odd design-wise to have fluorescent top lights over a bar, for example.  

 

A lot of bars don't have any practical lights over the counter area, people are dimly lit by units over the back wall of bottles.  And then it's a problem when the ceiling is smooth or has some historical tin cover with nothing to rig off of.  I've scratched my head many times trying to figure out a way to light people at the bar counter for the wide master in a way that will allow me to then cheat some nice soft light on the close-ups without a major change in look.


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#6 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 22 November 2017 - 01:21 AM

I guess if you didn't have the dolly but had a cut.. you could then of course add some soft light.. that if it was low enough intensity an audience wouldn't be jarred by the lighting ..or not so simple..?


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#7 Haroun Al-Shaater

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Posted 22 November 2017 - 06:14 AM

Great! Thanks for the responses. I had the feeling I was overcomplicating this setup.

 

Read this article. The DP gives a lot of valuable information about lighting and composition; not that scene in particular, but you can get an idea on his thought process and techniques with lighting the show.

http://filmmakermaga...h/#.WhSd_8tMHqB

Cool, will give this a read. Everything I've seen written before just focuses on the xenomorph rather than his techniques, this looks more interesting!


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