Since this is my first post in here, I'll quickly introduce myself:
My name is Benedikt Dresen, and I'm a Filmstudent / aspiring Cinematographer from Germany. I started out doing music videos, but now I'm getting more and more into narrative work.
Right now I'm in Pre-Production for a 14-minute Shortfilm I'm DoP'ing. The film is set at night, only in one apartment, which will be built on stage.
It's about a woman entering her home, where she find a complete stranger waiting for her, who's intentions remain unknown. The whole story unfolds through dialogue, but the blocking will still be very vivid, so there isn't really any corner of the apartment, that's not in the frame at some point. So directions of the action/camera shift throughout the different scenes.
Also the Lighting will change quite a bit. In the story, the Stranger is in total control of it.
The base-setup I want to do, is basicly like the one in the attached Mood Picture:
A soft, cold, kinda "toppy" ambient light coming from one side of the room + really dim sodium streetlights from afar, only illuminating the windows a bit.
There will be 3 main setups happening in the living room:
1. Like the mood picture, but also with a tiny practical illuminating a small coffee table in the middle of the room
2. The stranger will light some candles and maybe more practicals (warm and cozy feeling, as it seems like he's not a bad guy for a moment)
3. Absolute "darkness" as the Stranger turns out all the lights, while she left the room for a second. So the lighting should basicly mimic total absence of light.
One more thing that's important: As she is our protagonist, she's supposed to be keyed in a not too unflattering way. While the stranger, should only get a back/rimlight most of the time, so we can't see his eyes or facial expressions most of the time, leaving him and is intentions mysterious.
Gear-whise I basicly have a full set of Arri Tungsten Fresnels and some open face units to work with. + CTB of course, and some color gels to match Sodium Vapor Streetlights.
2x 2kW T2 Fresnel (including 1 chimera I believe)
2x 2kW Open Face
2x 1kW Fresnel
My approach till now would be:
- Creating this soft, ambient light from the top left corner in the room. Maybe shooting the 2kW through a lot of Diffusion, or creating a large bounce. (from above the walls, as we won't have a ceiling built)
- Aiming the 650W, or maybe only 300W through Sodium Gels to each window that's in frame, trying to keep it a few stops under in order to not make it light up the room to much, as the ambient light should dominate the room.
- Trying my best to flag the ambient light off the top of the walls, to create some kind of gradient/contrast, as seen in the mood picture.
My main concerns about all of this:
- The ambient light should direction-whise always function as a backlight in order to keep that moody, night feel. For the main actress I will need a fill, max. a rembrandt style shape. Should I try to rely on a close soft bounce for this kind of fill (that's basicly her key), or should I introduce an LED through Diffusion? Also would you have this light at the same stop as the backlight, or over/under?
- As the direction in which we're shooting in the room is shifting throughout the scenes, I would basicly need to shift the direction of the ambient light aswell, in order to keep it backlighting the characters. Is this an okay thing to do, Lighting-Continuity whise? I'm thinking of the ambient light not as a "light" that has a source in the story, but as a light, which represents "absence of light" and has no believable source in the story. Does that make any sense at all? Or should I keep the direction of the ambient light locked, and introduce more lights to backlight whenever needed and flag the ambient off the faces, whenever they would be frontlit by it?
Additional info: I'll be shooting on the Sony FS7, paired with the XD-CA unit, recording 4K Cinema DNG RAW through the Atomos Shogun.
This is my biggest project up to now, and there's quite a budget flowing into the stage built, so I'm really trying to do my best in my department and not **(obscenity removed)** up.
I would endlessly appreciate to get some feedback of you more experienced Cinematographers about my general idea and if it does make any sense, and if my approach to lighting it will work, the way I imagine it to do.
Regards and Thank You all,
Edited by Benedikt Dresen, 04 March 2018 - 08:06 AM.