For my Short Film production I was down for lighting and one of the camera operators. I felt confident as a camera op I feel comfortable using a JVC camera, however lighting is a territory where I am not particularity strong at. Of course I understand the importance of light in a film but I did not feel like I knew how to use it effectively in the shots I (as well as Gergana) would be shooting. When the group was doing the test shoot in CostCutters I was unfortunately unable to make it, this was a bit of a problem for me as I could not get first hand experience of what the shop looked like, how wide the aisles were and how noticeable the shop and natural lights were. The group were very helpful however in providing me with some pictures.
I thought that the photos looked good under the natural light but didn’t know if it would translate as well into video, I decided to research into how the professionals had used similar locations in the past and my research ended up focusing primarily on the ‘deli scene’ of the Oscar nominated film ‘The Wrestler’
I noticed the natural lighting setup but wondered if they had made it appear natural of if they just went with how the lighting was, I caught a couple of interviews with cinematographer of the film ‘Maryse Alberti’ who confirmed that the film for the most part used natural lighting particularly in the supermarket/deli scenes. This made me feel alot better about using a more natural approach to the lighting of the supermarket as I didn’t want the scenes to appear fake or not of this world.
So that was all well and good for two/thirds of the scenes in the supermarket but how would I do for the bedroom scenes and the ‘picnic’ scenes of our shoots? this one was a bit more tricky and I knew full well they would be. I continually rewatched and took notes on the lighting techniques shown in these very well made and informative videos.
These two videos (as well as further reading and advice from my fellow students) helped me to come up with methods of how to light those two scenes, I still did not feel fully confident on the candlelit picnic scene having not been able to get first hand test footage, but I felt a lot better than i did prior to the research. Below is a quick sketch on how I felt the scene could be written (note: this changed when I seen the size of the aisles first hand)
The first film also helped me to come up with methods for lighting the introduction scene, when we came into practice this did not work out as well as I hoped and is one reason why I will attempt to get a test shoot for ANY location in the future. but at the point of writing I am unsure if the footage will even be used in the final piece.
In conclusion I felt that this research prepared me for the shoot well, I was nowhere near an expert, but I felt a lot more confident and able to light up the set we had to a resonable standard, My next post will detail how it worked in practice.