Today, we are going to talk about lights!
To start off, I’ll explain a little bit about the lighting kit we used in Keep The Change:
The Aputure HR672C, this is the main light we used throughout the film. You can dim it, change the colour temperature, and it is also battery powered which was essential as most of the film was shot outside, away from any power sources.
We used a bunch of these 160 LEDs to fit into small spaces.
When we needed considerably more light, we used a set of 800 watt lights. They’re super bright and versatile, but they do get really hot so gloves are a must!
Other bits of equipment we used were things like diffusion paper to diffuse the light, coloured gels to change the colour of lights, various DIY flags we made out of cardboard to block any unwanted light, an umbrella to diffuse light, reflectors, and lots of clips and duct tape.
Right, so now that is out of the way, let’s talk about how we used them.
The 2 main lighting setups are the car driving scene and the pizza box scene.
For the car driving scene, if you hadn’t noticed, he is not actually driving – we have a video talking about that here.
This scene all starts in my garage. We blocked out all of the natural light coming in from outside.
Then we switched on all of the lights you’d expect to see when someone is driving at night – the dashboard lights, and in this case, the driver’s phone screen.
We used a 160 LED panel with orange gel and diffusion paper to enhance the glow of the dashboard lights in order to brighten up the driver’s face.
We did the same thing to enhance the light from the phone screen but swapped out the orange gel for a blue gel.
Lastly, we put a light on the floor in the back of the car to light up the back seats a touch.
We used this exact set up when we shot the scene outside in the car, but we added 2 extra lights on the outside of the car.
A 160 LED with a blue gel to simulate moon light, and the Aputure panel to enhance the street light on the right hand side.
The pizza box scene.
The main source of light in this scene is the light above the table. So we started here.
The idea was to create a beam of light which only casts on the middle of the table, giving a focus point for the character to place the pizza box down.
We originally tried to do this with the 800 watt light, using the barn doors to flag the light and create that focused beam.
The problem with using this light is the light that spills out of the back, through the gaps to let out excess heat.
We could have covered the gaps in black wrap, but fixing an incredibly hot light right above the actor covering the ventilation points was a disaster waiting to happen.
The next best option was the Aputure LED panel. It doesn’t really get hot, but unfortunately we don’t have a set of barn doors for it.
So, what we did, was build a platform for the light to sit on, then made a hole in it so we could use the barn doors from the 800w light.
With a little bit of trial and error we had something that produced this.
The setup does not look pretty, but it worked exactly how we wanted it to.
The next light we set up was a back light.
For this we used one of the 800w lights, added an orange gel, and dimmed the light just enough so it would add a harsh edge light.
The light coming from the pizza box was achieved by placing a 160 LED panel in the pizza box covered in an orange gel, then we pumped smoke into the box and lifted the lid using fishing wire as a pulley.
In order to create a harsh light rising up and hitting our actor’s face, the 160 LED we used in the pizza box just wasn’t bright enough.
So we placed the 800 watt light under the table, and using a bunch of cardboard, we were able to block out all of the light hitting the walls and have it only land on our actor.
Then we used another piece of cardboard and lifted it up near our actor’s face to replicate the light coming from the pizza box.
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