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Prisoners Lighting (2 replies and 2 comments)

Kavish
1 month ago
Kavish 1 month ago

Hi Roger sir and team,

I had couple of questions regarding the opening scene of Prisoners.

  • I am guessing these scenes are totally naturally lit considering it to be overcast and hence balancing of exposures to be manageable. Loved how you exposed for the wet road exterior and let the interiors go almost silhouette. Worked so well for the film. 
  • Another question from edit/lighting point of view, when the vehicle is just about leave the overhead bridge, we cut to Hugh Jackman's close up from behind, and the light on his face increases in exposure from slightly dark to normal as the car passes the bridge. Now I think the editor has very meticulously cut this sequence to keep light continuity as well. My question is was this planned or a decision taken at the edit?
  • Also if you could talk about wetting the glass windows as to how it was done, seems very natural.
  • Am guessing the focal length for the close ups is 32mm?
  • Almost the entire film is shot in overcast weather, how did you manage to schedule the film and were there hiccups due to the weather and how did you workaround that?

Thanks,

Kavish  

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Roger Deakins
1 month ago
Roger Deakins 1 month ago

This was the last scene we shot on 'Prisoners' and we probably would have had to shoot whatever the weather. But we wanted rain and that is what we got, a slow drizzle until we wrapped. So, there is no additional lighting. We shot on the same section of road and the wide of the bridge was cut with the interior as was natural. The close shots were more likely on the 35mm.

We were shooting in Atlanta and did not expect to be so lucky with the weather. We had 'weather cover' built into the schedule, so we could go inside when the sun came out, but we didn't have to use it very often.

Kavish
1 month ago

Great! Just curious. Were the lights ready on stand-by on the car rig just in case? Or did you just go ahead shooting whatever the weather would be, underexposing the face even if, as it would have worked for the scene anyway. Thanks!

Roger Deakins
4 weeks ago
Roger Deakins 4 weeks ago

I think we had two matching vehicles and were towing for the closer dialogue. The tow vehicle would have had power and I seem to remember I had a couple of 800 Jokers standing by. As it was, I probably used an 8' x 8' soft muslin reflector on the back of the tow vehicle, just to catch a little skylight. But it would have been fairly minimal in that cloud cover. When you use a tow vehicle, even with a long connection, it can take light away from the picture vehicle so I usually use some bounce to compensate.

If I had been confident that the light would cooperate I might have gone without the tow, but that can make things difficult for the director and the sound department.

Kavish
4 weeks ago

Lovely! Thank you so much for the detailed explanation!!

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