Just before Christmas I had the pleasure of being the director of photography on SuperFreak Media’s Final short of 2015, Season’s Greetings. It was directed by Liam Banks, Kieran Simpson was my camera/lighting assistant and it starred Charlie Clarke and John Kinroy.
As you can probably tell by the title it has a Christmas theme, ‘tis the season after all.
In this blog I am going to go through a couple of the lighting setups as the different locations required totally different looks.
Setup 1, The Workshop:
A warm orange glow was the aim here. The window in the scene was letting in some light but not enough for what we needed – It was a very dull day after all. I placed two LED panels outside to the right of the window to mimic sunlight. Inside, I hid a small LED light on a shelving unit to catch the side of John’s face and finished it off with another LED to provide a bit of fill and to bring up the darker areas slightly. This also allowed me to keep the detail in the window and not white it out completely.
The lighting setup was tweaked a little for the other shots but nothing too drastic. Kieran was great at squeezing into tiny spaces to position lights when needed for the cutaways too.
Setup 2, The Bedroom (Lights on):
The bedroom location needed two different lighting setups to mimic two different types of light. The first was to create the look of a desk lamp that the actress (Charlie Clarke) uses in the scene. By using an LED Light panel (with CTO Gel) as well as the practical light I was able to give the impression of the lamp lighting Charlie’s face whilst not whiting out the light source.
The second light in the scene was a small LED panel from behind Charlie that mimicked the glow of the moon. This was left gel-less to provide a more cold, blue light. The final lights in the scene were some fairy lights that simply made the background a little more interesting.
Setup 3, The Bedroom (Lights off):
To achieve the look of moonlight I had to change the lighting setup slightly from the one above. Kieran kept the ‘moonlight’ LED in position throughout and the Orange Gelled LED was turned off in sync with Charlie switching off the practical lamp. At the same time I widened the aperture on my lens to allow in more light. This took a few tries to get it looking right but we got the shot in the end. Then, typically it wasn’t used in the final cut, but them’s the breaks I guess…
Incidentally the moonlight LED did a great job of catching Santa’s leather gloves, giving the shot a very eerie feel!
You can watch Season’s Greetings on the SuperFreak Media YouTube Channel or down below. Hope you all had a lovely Christmas and have an awesome New Year!