T.Stops Blog

A Verse Before Dying Lighting Setup 2 – Town

We last examined the first interior setup of “A Verse Before Dying”, this time lets take a closer look at the exterior scenes.

The low noise, high dynamic range signal of the AF100 allows you a lot of room to internally prepare your footage for the post process.  Much like the “superflat” settings of the 5DmkII and 7D, or the sLOG of the Alexa, or FilmREC of the Varicam, the AF100 has a sort of super flat built in.  I know I said NEVER use it… But DRS1 is the first step towards retaining the maximum dynamic range in a high contrast setting.  In testing with Barry Green, he informed me that the DRS1 setting, pulls down your high lights by about a stop, and adds approximatly 3dB gain to the shadows  The ONLY time you can use this is outdoors, in broad daylight, at ISO 200.  The 200ISO setting is so clean that adding the 3dB gain to the shadows is insignificant as far as perceptible grain goes, and the highlight protection is far more valuable in a sunlit setting.

This is why we have barely any over exposure in this film. I opened up till we hit 105 IRE on the brightest parts of the image, and if i could net it i did.   The rest of the image just fell into a nice place, where with some simple fill, i was able to create a soft tone to the look of the film.

Here are the stills:

So for now we will focus on the basic coverage for the scene.

One man, back lit, one man front lit, and a wide.  Essentially i allowed the front lit man, the “bad guy with the scar” to fall where he did in the sun and just gave him a slight edge light with a mirror board from about 45 degrees off angle from behind.  I took careful measure to ensure he was perfectly exposed, to ensure he had a proper skin tone.

The wide again was practically untouched, except for a fill light on the man in the white shirt with a mirror board to camera right, reflecting the sun in his face.

The trickery begins with the back lit protagonist.  Here is the lighting diagram for him:

I used a triple net, ie a single and a double net, to cut the sun off his shoulder, to help bring his white shirt back form the brink of going too far in to over exposure.  I then took two mirror boards, with the hard side reflecting direct sunlight into a 6×6 silk to his right positioned low to the ground, to simulate the naturally occurring scatter of light from the white sandstone sand on the ground , and the white adobe buildings to his left.  The mirror board is the unsung hero of out door light control.   When pushed through a silk, its as powerful as a 6k HMI, perhaps even more, when its catching direct sunlight.  When you start multiplying them up, 2,3,4 mirror boards, you can almost over power the sun in a close up.  As you can see the light is soft and simulates what was naturally occurring in the location.  Just a little boost to help the camera resolve the image more faithfully.

Photos courtesy of Nadia Caffesse, www.fulltiltphotography.com

Next up…. the cabin…….

Feel free to ask any questions….
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