Lighting

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To shoot at dusk or dawn and get that balance of light means you need to be really prepared. In 'Sicario' we had two evenings to shoot the sequence before the tunnel and we were very lucky to get similar evening light on both days. We rehearsed our shots in the afternoon and shot very quickly when the light was right. On 'No Country...' we shot at dawn as well as at dusk. Again we planned every shot and I even made a list of the shots and the exact times of day I wanted to shoot each one. I did this especially for the shots on the river so that I was always facing the light, whether at dawn or dusk. The sequence always bothers me as the sky is so different from shot to shot but our schedule was what it was and I was lucky to get to shoot the way we did.

Why did we decide to shoot at 'magic' hour on these films? Does it cost more money to shoot this way? That really is a script and production question. On 'No Country...' we shot our dusk and dawn work either side of our night shooting so I guess it wasn't that much more expensive than what was already expensive. On 'Sicario' we staggered our call times to accommodate shooting in the evening and I doubt there was much impact on the cost of a day's shooting by doing this.

I learned to use natural light from shooting stills and documentaries so I have taken that experience into my feature work. But one is always learning and always finding ways of doing things in a more 'natural' way.

 

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