Skyfall High Rise Fight Scene (3 replies)

6 months ago
Scottster202 6 months ago


I am an independent filmmaker currently in pre-production on a sci-fi thriller and am planning on implementing a fight scene inspired by the high rise fight scene in Skyfall. My questions goes out to Roger of course and also to any and all cinematographers that can help. What advice would you give a youngster such as myself about to graduate high school with a small-budget on lighting the scene similarly to the high rise fight scene given the silhouetted figures and the intense background light (building-billboard) similar to that of Skyfall. With a low-budget the strong back light being the graphic display would have to be VFX and the actors might potentially have to be rotoscoped out for the scene. However if anybody knows of any way to create a bright billboard or graphic display practically I would love to hear any ideas. I absolutely adore this scene and Skyfall as a whole as I'm sure everyone on this forum does as well. I know a shot such as this is a lot to ask in terms of replicating such complex and intricate cinematography, however I really feel that the homage would help my film and of course show some appreciation for Roger's work. The hardest part as I stated would be replicating the large graphical display that moves behind the actors as they fight, but for my film it could be a static image that lights the actors as they fight in front of it. I know this is a massive scene that has a lot of moving parts, but I would love to try to pay some homage to the brilliant work in my short film. 

Thanks, Scott L. 

6 months ago
Mike 6 months ago

 Not Roger.

You are trying to replicate a scene from a big budget movie and may not achieve the effect you wanted and will have to accept perhaps a diluted version of what you saw in Skyfall. The fight scenes were choreographed by professionals and you really have to get the timing right for it to be convincing, the other elements complemented the action but it was the speed and energy that went into that scene that made it worked so well. The audience was not expecting it. 

I suggest you beg, steal or borrow a large TV for some of the action. Otherwise, get hold of some discarded ‘Translight’s’ from a large store somewhere and use those as a backdrop. Large shops/ stores throw out old ‘Translights’ in the bin as they are time sensitive and superseded by new ones. You can get building and street scenes not just fashion photography or you can hire these from the printers. If you are brave then photograph your desired scene and get it printed on large sheets and use it the same way as Translights. Perhaps you can project slides onto a large screen or even use back projection.

All these things takes time to set up and perfect and test which may put you off. At the end of the day it’s going to boil down to your fight scene, how much time are you going to give it to make it convincing and how much of your budget are you prepared to give up for this scene. Is this scene important in your short film and are you prepared for ridicule if your scene does not exactly match Rogers Skyfall.

Would be interesting to see how you achieved it, so let us know.

6 months ago
shenzo 6 months ago

Just an idea. What about a strong projector at an angle so the 'fighters' are only backlit? You could work out the scene to be projected as background before hand.

6 months ago
Mike 6 months ago

May I suggest for cheapness, find yourself an alleyway in the back streets somewhere and project your spot down the length of it from the far end. Obviously, this is a night shot and you want the shadows of the fighters projected on the brick walls. Shoot the two fighters first with your lamps and then shoot the shadows duck and diving on the walls and then perhaps finish the fight scene with one of the shadows falling down.

Get a C/U of the winners bloodied face looking exhausted then proceed from there to the next scene. Smoke the area to dif the light but make sure the shadows are strong on the wall so play around with your light to get the best effect. Wet the area first so you get maximum reflections. Make sure the “fighters” move in and out towards the light as this will expand and retract the shadows on the wall. Brick walls are best as they capture the light and create more shadows. Being a night shoot, the actors only convey hitting each other as their job is to dramatise the shadows.

Obviously, rehearse this in a room practising moving back and forth towards a light as this is the magic on this scene. To enlarge the shadows they may have move quite fast against the light source to create a lot of movement. This will need to be worked on. It all depends where you put your light source, about 4 feet from the ground is about right so as to elongate the shadows up the wall.

This is a cheaper solution than the one in Skyfall!.

Good luck.

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