‘True Grit’ – Courtroom – Ceiling rig

Posted on by

Home Forums Lighting ‘True Grit’ – Courtroom – Ceiling rig

  • Creator
  • #212264
    Max A.

      Hello Mr. Deakins and all the people over this fantastic forum.
      I hope you Mr. Deakins and Mrs. James are well. I know you are very busy with the ‘By Ways’ tour, and I’m so happy for you because your photographs are traveling around the world and you totally deserve this acknowledgment for your art and career.

      I would like to ask you, if it is possible and if you have time to answer me, a question about the famous scene of the courtroom in ‘True Grit’.
      I know the scene was often discussed in the past, and I saved a lot of info about your choice of lighting for the scene. Just yesterday searching around Google, I found an article of that scene with a scheme of yours, so I saw that you had also a ceiling rig with some blondes above the court area arranged separately and not in a row, this “detail” had escaped me during these years of forums and I want to ask you the technical function of that rig. Did you use the rig to bounce lamps from the ceiling into bounce cards on the floor, or did you use those lamps “directly” to highlight some parts of the room or some character in particular?
      Knowing the scene, I don’t see any highlight on a specific spot so I would think that you used the rig and the lamps to bounce.
      If so, my (maybe silly) question is, why you didn’t use stands for the lamps to bounce?
      I ask you this question to learn, and maybe improve a sort of my workflow because maybe my initial idea would be to use stands on the floor for the lamps, but maybe I would create a messy set with a lot of stands.

      As always I want to thank you for your time and your availability. I apologize if the question was already discussed but I’ve missed the post, and apologize for my bad English.

      I wish you a peaceful Sunday,


    Viewing 4 replies - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
    • Author
    • #214597
      Max A.

        I found the pic that I’m referred.

        Photo via Historic Blanco

        Of course, If I violated some copyright I can delete the image, mine was only a question asked to learn from Mr. Deakins.

        I wish you a peaceful day.


          This photo has already been circulated around the world, don’t worry about copyright.

          Photo is not from the film production company.

          Roger Deakins


            The photo is interesting! I had forgotten I had this rig on the ceiling. The main lighting was the Par lamps coming through the windows but I did have this rig for any bounce I might need. I used 2K Blondes as I wanted a wide spread of the lamp on the bounce material and, therefore, a very soft source. The lamps were either bouncing off unbleached muslin that was laid on the floor or off 4′ x 4′ sheets. I had this rig, rather than lamps on stands, as there were many so people in the scene and I didn’t want my lighting to get in the way. Besides that, the lamps could aim over the extras and bounce off muslin close to the wall.

            In a case like this I will ask for a rig to be put up knowing it might only be necessary for one or two angles or even not at all. But it is better to have it than struggle during the shooting day with lamps on stands.

            • This reply was modified 11 months, 2 weeks ago by Roger Deakins.
            Max A.

              Thank you very much for your reply Mr. Deakins! I know you are really busy around the world and really appreciate your answer (priceless).

              “In a case like this I will ask for a rig to be put up knowing it might only be necessary for…”

              The big lesson for me here is this concept, too often, also if I do often just small productions I do things during the day by watching on the frame, and often the result is a lot of stands and cables around.
              When I saw the photo of the rig I thought about your possible idea to have a “clean” set and lamps “ready to use”.

              Thank you again for your reply Mr. Deakins, and thank you as usual for your kindness. Reading from you is always fantastic.

              I wish you a peaceful day.

            Viewing 4 replies - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
            • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.