Empire of Light – Tight Tricky Location to light

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    Max A.

      Hello Mr. Deakins and all the Dp’s over the forum! I hope you Mr. Deakins and Mrs. James are well.
      I read that you maybe will prepare something for the “Looking at lighting” section about ‘EoL’, I’m so curious about your light rig in the cinema hall (I saw that you used big rings of Astera bulbs).

      I would like to ask you, if it is possible, what did you use in the projection cabin for this scene (I attach a youtube part of the scene and frames). I think it was a tricky location cause it is so small, with tall visual elements that can cover light, with also light walls, and there are quite enough cuts and angles in the scene.

      I suppose that the “main” motivation comes from above, from the florescent fixtures, which seem around 4000k (as seen in the first image), but depending on the angles seems to me that you adjust things to have the “right” shape.
      In the first frame, the fixtures appear not so high from the floor (I suppose around 2.50 mt.) so the falloff should be quite drastic.
      When you moved inside the room did you adjust the fixtures to have a soft “pool” behind the two projectors? It seems to me that light “washes” a bit more walls in that cut/angle and gives shape to the subject in the shadowed foreground; furthermore seems to me that you raised up the fixtures a bit.

      Did you used also some Astera tubes on the floor to wrap faces and mimic the shape of the ceiling fixtures in some situations, like when they talk through the projector or when they do the ending part of the dialogue? Or maybe some bounce surface to catch existing light and shape the faces?

      Whatever you’ve done, it’s all invisible in a very small location full of surfaces where as soon as you turn something on it starts bouncing everywhere and being visible. And all with superb continuity.
      Small locations are my nightmare 😅.

      I want to thank you first of all for your availability and for your time. I’m sorry if sometimes I’m so specific but I like to impersonate myself as dp when I look at a scene, and that location with all those cuts would have confused me a bit. I have the big privilege of being able to ask you how you managed the scene and learn from your words.
      Last summer, I had a scene with a similar location (smaller still actually) but it had dark walls and fewer cuts to “accommodate” and to maintain continuity.
      I apologize for my bad English. Thank you again, Mr. Deakins.

      I wish you a peaceful day.


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