Film Noir and your approach to lighting Blade Runner 2049. (10 replies and 2 comments)
Hi Roger, I'm a big fan. They call you the master of lighting, which is evident in your Blade Runner film. I'm curious as to what your favorite techniques of film noir lighting are, and which of them (if any) you implemented into the Blade Runner film? Also...do you have any favorite scenes from traditional film noir titles? Thank you sir, you are the master.
I love Film Noir but I can honestly say that nothing directly influenced me on 'BR 2049'. Of course, that said, everyone is influenced by what they see and what they remember. The techniques that were used on the classic Noir films of the past were so different to the way we can light today that it is hard to make any comparison, in 'feel' yes but in terms of technique no. I do sometimes use direct light sources but I have that choice, whereas in the 1950s there was little option.
The water reflection background with Jared Leto in the dark remind me of those classic film noir shots with the venetian blinds gobos in which you guess the silhouette of a suspect individual waiting in the dark.
I think BR2049 is all about form following function, so in a way I think the choice to have this particular water effect in Wallace's office is more about the function of the water design in his office that celebrates life the way Wallace himself does, you even get a little fish jumping which I think Wallace put it there to always remind him of life, especially since he doesn't see it he only hears it splashing in the water.
Then it becomes obvious that yeah maybe the water reflects light on to the walls so it becomes an opportunity to add visuals but it can't be just because they wanted a Noir look.
That's of course my personal opinion, it has nothing to do with how Denis and Roger thought of it maybe they just thought it looked nice.
Water reflections on walls was also done in the original Blade Runner, it might seem like a pure visual choice but from what I heard Ridley decided to have this light on the day of the shoot, I guess he felt Tyrell would've used lush light effects just like he has an owl in his office, the way he beautifully designed Rachael would make sense that he wants water light effects in his office, so it has a story function too despite what genre it lends itself to.
My feeling was that Wallace created his own world of moving sunlight, which did not exist in the world outside and, being blind, he couldn't actually see himself. I liked the irony. The water reflections were just an extension of the light in the lobby, archives and in the hallways.
Was Tyrell's office in the first Blade Runner not discussed as a reference point for Wallace's headquarters and the abandoned church in Blade Runner 2049? The shimmering light texture is also present there and I'd always assumed it was the one carry-over between films.
It was never discussed and I wasn't aware of that effect until someone pointed it out to me. It looks as if the effect in the original film was done by slowly wafting a piece of gel on the floor and reflecting a lamp off it. I used to do fire effects like that before there were dimmer boards and flicker generators, using a crushed orange gel or a gold space blanket of the kind you can buy in an outward bound store.
Yes, I believe they used boards with gold leaf for bounce.
It's funny, I know the first film very well and I read so much into that lighting as a visual motif. I thought that even the columns in the church were meant to evoke the columns in Tyrell's office, that a comparison was being directly drawn from Tyrell to Wallace to Freysa.
That's interesting but there was no deliberate connection that I ever knew of. The columns came with the location, which was a factory basement that Denis liked primarily because we could fill it with water. I liked the window configuration and the light patterns I would get on the columns.
"The flickering for the firelight was created by arcs through torn strips of silk and dubotine - torn strips of silk for transmission and torn strips of dubotine for shadows." - Jordan Cronenweth.
I believe Cronenweth is referring to the lighting setup when they redressed that set to be Tyrell's bedroom (there are a lot of candles), not for the initial meeting between Deckard and Rachael.
An interesting point re: the similarity between the Tyrell office and Wallace office lighting, and another part of why I'd assumed it was intentional, is that the two scenes end up cutting together quite nicely in Blade Runner 2049 when Deckard flashes back to his first meeting with Rachael, then meets the Rachael clone. I thought that seeing Sean Young and then the digital double with comparable lighting texture, color temperature, and contrast really went toward selling the effect of the digital Rachael.
Again, pure coincidence other than I timed the clip of Sean Young to when the shot appeared in the original film. The shot as a flashback is warmer, it has more contrast and a vignette which reduces the background surrounding the character.