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1917 Interior Fireplace Lighting (7 replies and 5 comments)

MattMillerDP
6 days ago
MattMillerDP 6 days ago

Hey Roger,

I, like many on here, just saw 1917 and was blown away by it.  One scene that jumped out to me was when Schofield hides in the room where he meets the French woman and her baby.

It appears to be lit entirely by the gas lamp and fireplace, but when the camera does a full 360 around him there's no operator/camera shadow on him where there should surely be one.  I can't wrap my mind around how that's possible, so hoping you could shed some light on how it was done.

Cheers,

-Matthew Miller

Roger Deakins
6 days ago
Roger Deakins 6 days ago

I will let you think about that for a little while longer!

MattMillerDP
6 days ago

Challenge accepted

benenke
6 days ago
benenke 6 days ago

Seemed like the gas lamp was definitely on a “dimmer” that could increase/decrease the intensity of the flame or whatever was inside it. I’m guessing there’s some similar trickery going on with the fire as well. 

MattMillerDP
6 days ago
MattMillerDP 6 days ago

After a second viewing, some polling and discussion with peers, and a couple tests, I'm going to take my best guess/approach I would use here.

The operator would stay as close to the source as possible, which would be soft enough to not cast a shot destroying shadow on the scene. It would dim the light on the actor, but a combination of iris pull on set and power windows on the post side could smooth out the lighting change.

Maybe to assist I would have a matching portable source that someone could hold in front of the operator for that moment as well to minimize the light loss, however given the size of the space and way the shot moves I'm not sure that would have been possible in that room.

-Matthew Miller

The Byre
6 days ago
The Byre 6 days ago

For those playing the Home Game -

MattMillerDP
5 days ago

Correct scene but to clarify for anyone else I'm talking about the moment before this where the camera does a full 360 around Schofield, shortly after he first enters the room. It passes directly between him and the fireplace.

hrvoje_bazina
5 days ago
hrvoje_bazina 5 days ago

I believe Mr. Deakins mentioned in an interview that he was dimming the lights up and down during the shot, depending on where the camera was looking.

MattMillerDP
3 days ago

I have seen that interview referring to the bunker scene in the beginning, I imagine a similar method was used here but the moment when the camera goes between him and the fireplace is what’s got me puzzled.

RyanPriestnall
5 days ago
RyanPriestnall 5 days ago

Knowing Roger, I'd imagine they were replaced with bulbs on dimmers. Then dimmed accordingly, probably quite technical in terms of timing but lets face it, that's the least of their worries on this one!

 

Ryan Priestnall

Roger Deakins
4 days ago
Roger Deakins 4 days ago

Yes, the flame of the fire was really a series of 500 watt bulbs and this was replaced by the element of a real fire in CG. The oil lamp was a single 500 watt bulb. All were dimmed down to around 25% and set to gently flicker.

More later!

ADJL
4 days ago

That is a very elegant solution to this specific problem- but I'm pleased it passed me by when watching first time round, as it shows that I was completely absorbed in the story!

MattMillerDP
3 days ago

Aha so I’m at least somewhat on the right track then. I shall await with baited breath.

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