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Doubt - Consistency along a 'long scene' (4 replies and 1 comment)

Max A.
4 weeks ago
Max A. 4 weeks ago

Hello Mr. Deakins, I hope you enjoyed your days in Italy! Unfortunately, I live a bit far from Bologna (around 700km) and I couldn't be there (so sad..) but I think it was fantastic for all the people that were there.

Yesterday I saw Doubt for the first time, and for me, it was brilliant.. The story captured me and the way you and the director shot and blocked long dialogue in the rooms is Stunning (one over all the "fight" with Maryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman, such fantastic performance), tension, and beautiful framing compositions.

In terms of light, the movie is fantastic for me, the "world" where the characters live is so "natural" and "true" all along with the movie (I think this is the hardest part).

As usual, every time I saw your movie I would like to ask you tons and tons of questions (lol) but I try to limit myself and my curiosity (just two questions).

I know that this movie was shot a time ago and my questions are more about the way you shot rather than the lighting diagram this time.
In a such long and complex dialogue scene with multiple movements in the blocking, what is the key to maintaining consistent exposure without fall into overdoing when a close-up needs to be accommodated with "cheating" and repositioning of things (like a chair, character positions etc.)

Into the first dialogue scene with the 3 characters, is the room lit only from the windows (and practicals in the frames) also when there were close up, or did you need to 'argument' daylight with bounce light/material?
I'm in love with the evenness and natural feel toward each cut and I'm always thinking and try to learn about how to light and expose correctly toward a long scene like that.

Did you meter your base stop in that room? Maybe in the center of the room and then you balance each frame to maintain that consistency?
Last question: The harsh "sunlight" was something around 2-Stops over of your base Stop?

As usual, I would thank you for your availability and for your patience, learning from you is a privilege for me.

I wish you a peaceful day.
Max.

 

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Roger Deakins
4 weeks ago
Roger Deakins 4 weeks ago

Firstly, although the room was a location the 'daylight' was create using artificial light. Our problem was shooting a north facing interior for a 12 hour day in upstate New York during the winter months. So, the 'daylight' was a given and, although I did add some bounce inside the room for the odd close shot, all the sequences set within this room were lit from outside with little adjustment between angles. The 'sunlight' was created using a mirror set against the main bounce reflector which was angled at 45º to the building and covered both the height and length of the window with a large overlap. The sunlight was at about 1 2/3 stops over the soft bounce source, the maximum of which was at key.

Max A.
4 weeks ago
Max A. 4 weeks ago

Thank you very much for your reply Mr.Deakins!
In older posts, I've read that that room was on location with some problems to lit cause it was facing north on winter (lack of daylight) and on the second floor (if I remember correctly) with little space to place lamps.
One last thing that I would like to ask you is, if you had to shoot the same scene but into a summer season (but looking for the same "look") what would you hope for? In another north-facing windows room, to avoid the direct sun? Or what else to "avoid" a lot of rigging outside?

Thank you always for your patience Mr. Deakins.

I wish you a peaceful day.
Max.

Roger Deakins
4 weeks ago
Roger Deakins 4 weeks ago

If it had been summer we might have been able to shoot with natural light altogether or with a limited amount of extra light. North facing is easier to control when you are shooting long days and long scenes.

Max A.
4 weeks ago

Thank you very much for your explanation Mr. Deakins! You are always so patient.

I'm so scared about the natural daylight changing during a long scene, but when (always for me) there is no budget to entirely cut it and create consistent daylight with artificial light, I would learn some method to "embrace" the situation and go with that, trying to limit issues and both have an "appropriate" look for the scene.

Thank you again for your explanation and for your time Mr. Deakins.
It's a joy to learn from you.

Max.

Roger Deakins
4 weeks ago
Roger Deakins 4 weeks ago

Yes, working with the natural light can always be difficult when the scene is long. It's so important to work closely with the director in such circumstances. Not too much cover and rehears before the day begins!

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