‘Empire of Light’ questions

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  • #188903
    Max A.

      Hello Mr. Deakins and all the forum members! I hope you Mr. Deakins and Mrs. James are well. Yesterday I saw ‘Empire of Light’ in the theatre and as I could imagine it was superb. Just thinking that behind each frame of the movie there is you made me emotionally involved.

      As I expected I have something like a hundred questions, but If I could ask you some (for now 😁) it will be fantastic.

      One question is about the light package that you chose for the movie, in some previous topics I saw that you chose some great led fixtures, both “point sources” and panels.
      Have you used also HMI’s for day interiors for instance for Hilary’s house (that has both big windows in some rooms and small in the bathroom), or for the upper floor of the ‘Empire’ before they went in the room with the windows that has the view of the promenade outside?
      I saw a light scheme from you for the roof scenes (night fireworks and day ballroom) on BSC and I saw that you used a lot of the led panels 2×1 so my curiosity is if in some instances that kind of lighting has replaced HMI’s.

      Another question that I would like to ask you is how did you manage the big door glasses of the entry of the ‘Empire’. Was the entry of the ‘Empire’ facing to the north or you have constantly fight with the direct sun? When you don’t shoot directly facing the entrance, did you diffuse the glass doors to bring more light inside the lobby?
      In the same interview that I read from BSC, I saw a scheme with a big overhang over the box office for 20X20 frames of diffusion/black.

      I apologize for all of these questions, I am enormously excited and curious to read and learn from you. I hope I haven’t bothered you with my curiosity and I thank you in advance for your patience and above all for the art you give us.

      I wish you a peaceful day.

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    • #189185
      Roger Deakins

        I used and HMI rig for the Doctor’s office and also for bounce light into the Lobby set. Otherwise, for Hilary’s flat and for the upstairs corridor of the cinema I used an array of 1′ x 2′ Gemini panels.

        The lobby set was facing north west so I only had direct sunlight on the doors for the very start of the day. However, I tried as much as possible within our schedule, to shoot the lobby on cloudy days. I would control the daylight coming into the lobby with nets, when I wasn’t looking at the windows, and also, but less often, with diffusion frames.

        For my floor package I chose to use five Fiilex lamp, which could be used as a Freanel or an open face with a front diffusion box attached.

        Otherwise, I used a lot of LED tube lights, Astera as well as Double Rainbow, and Astera bulbs.


          Hi Roger,

          I would like to ask you, how did it differ from working in ‘Empire of Light,’ with grand-scale films like ‘1917’ and ‘Blade Runner 2049?’

          Was it comparatively easier working on ‘Empire of Light,’ or were there different but still as difficult obstacles?

          Thanks for your time!

          Max A.

            Thank you very much for your answer Mr.Deakins! It’s always fantastic to read from you.

            I can’t wait to see some BTS photos to watch you at work and I hope for a chapter in the ‘Looking at Lighting’ section! Maybe in the near future, If I can find some frame and if I can post here on the forum, I’d like to ask you questions about some specific situation that you faced.

            I would to ask you maybe a silly question, but if the lobby set was facing north-west shouldn’t the direct sunlight be present in the afternoon for a short amount of time? I assume that your start of the day would be in the morning.
            Maybe (probably) my consideration it’s wrong and so I will learn another thing from you.

            Ps. I loved very much the opening sequence.

            Thank you very much again for your answer Mr. Deakins.

            I wish you a peaceful day.

            Roger Deakins

              Whoops! I did mean to write north east.

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