Night Ext on the cheap (1 reply and 1 comment)

5 months ago
ignacio 5 months ago

I am in the process of prepping for a student film, and to say we are on a low budget is a gross understatement. 

We do however have access to some HMIs and grip equipment, a 4k HMI being our biggest light, followed by (2) 2.5kPars, (2) 2K Tungsten Mole Richardsons. For gripping we have (1) 12X12 frame, 8x8, 6x6 with the options of bleached/unbleached muslin, silks, and ultra bounce for each.

We are currently in the process of looking for a location. But the script calls for a winter Night EXT. that'll transition into an INT., no snow, in a suburban neighborhood (since that is what we are most likely have access to). Where a man sneaks into a home and creeps inside what looks like a starter home a young married would typically purchase/rent.

The mood/genre is thriller. I am looking to keep the lighting soft and low key like the scene from A MOST VIOLENT YEAR. I am planning to light the interior with practicals but if possible get some of the exterior ambience through the windows.

For the exterior, I hope to find a neighborhood with sodium vapor street lamps for free lighting. But if I have to work with a black canvas per se, I'll have to fill in the shadows, but don't mind keeping the frame dark. I read that Bradford used 20ks for backlights and a bunch of bounced dimmed 2ks for the edge lights.

Any advise or word of cautions would be appreciated!
Roger Deakins
5 months ago
Roger Deakins 5 months ago

I would think you would be better off getting Tungsten lamps as they are far cheaper to rent than HMIs. the references you show look like they were lit using tungsten balanced lights and not so many of them either. The car headlights are very much brighter than anything else in frame so there is not a lot of light around, which is the way Bradford likes it!

5 months ago

Great! I believe you are right, his article in the American Cinematographer mentioned he used a lot of tungsten fixtures for the moments between these two characters. Would you have a guess of what he might have bounced off or shot through?

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