Jarhead Dawn Burning Oil Fields - Solids on the bottom of space lights (3 replies and 1 comment)
In the Jarhead Lighting Rig (photo attached) used to shoot the dawn burning oil field scenes (as per attached Jarhead Dawn Framegrab), there are solids on the bottom of the space lights.
1) I've been eternally fascinated by the placement of the solids in this way, and I was hoping I could trouble you to describe what effect this creates, in terms of the ability to control the direction of what seems to be multiple soft sources?
I'd imagined that at the height of the rig relative to the actors, that the light from the individual sources would blend, and as such, I am intrigued how this set up gives a different quality of light in comparison to space lights that aren't blacked on the bottom?
It seems to be like a gigantic "ring light" - how does this ring shape also impact the quality of light?
I was also curious as to how you came to devise this type of set up? Is this an approach that you'd experimented with previously on another shoot, or something you devised through testing specifically for Jarhead?
I appreciate that you've likely been asked about this set up many times before, but unfortunately I've been unable to locate previous discussion about this specific set up in the forum pages, so apologies if it has been discussed at length.
2) In the attached Jarhead Dawn Framegrab, there are also some shafts of artificial "sunlight" from the top right of frame - I presume that these shafts are from lights that are additional to the space light rig? If possible, can you please describe what lighting set up was used to create these artificial "sunlight" shafts?
3) In Jarhead Lighting Diagram (attached), there are references at the bottom of the diagram to "1/2 BWE" and "1/4 BWE" - does the "BWE" refer to the strength of diffusion/grid cloth on the space lights?
Thank you very much and kind regards
You have confused some images here. The rig was used for some dawn scenes on stage at Universal. The image at left was from a shoot we did on location in the desert near El Centro. For that exterior we created a large plume of black smoke to block out the sky and we also created some of the oil fires using burners. There were large cranes over the area we were shooting in, from which there was a constant spray of black vegetable oil that mimicked falling droplets of oil. The shot is enhanced using VFX in post as there was no way we could completely block out the landscape beyond our set, so the 'shafts' that you see on the top right of frame are a combination of what was there and CG.
The dawn sequence that we shot on stage was reduced in the cut to a minimal number of shots. The purpose of the solids on the bottom of the Spacelites was to spread the light and reduce that from directly above. You can see the effect of doing this from the image that you post, the lights directly above are not doing as much as those beyond and this is true for anywhere you stand on the stage.The whole rig is surrounded with a cut to keep light off the stage wall. No, I had never done this before and I just worked it out on a piece of paper before we set the rig. The BWE, I suspect, refers to the blue gel we used on the lamps. This plan was made from my initial drawing by my gaffer, Chris Napolitano, so it must be his shorthand for Blue Gel.
Thank you Roger for all of this detail and for clarifying when the Spacelite rig was used - was it for the scenes as per attached screengrabs (Jarhead Oil Fires 1,2 and Horse)?
Thank you also for explaining how the Spacelite rig works in terms of controlling the direction of the light. Studying the photo of the rig again, further to your explanation, I can now see how it operates.
These images are from the night scene and were shot on stage at Universal studios. We created sand dunes and painted distant dunes on a backing that surrounded the whole stage. The scene was lit using 12' towers of 300 watt mushroom bulbs, which were replaced in post by images of 'oil fires'. These oil fires were the same as for the day scenes, created using jet burners, which we shot at night on our El Centro location. The bulbs surrounding the towers were rigged to surround a central wooden pole and so lit their surroundings in 360º. As they were just bare household bulbs on a light wooden pole they were quite easy to move as necessary for a change of camera angle. The bulbs were dimmed down to create the warmth that you see in the final images and there was movement on the dimmer as well to vary their intensity. The stage, actually two stages with the central door dividing them open, was filled with smoke, so that the light 'bloomed' to give the silhouettes.
Thank you Roger, for imparting all of this highly detailed information, it is much appreciated.