Photographed by yours truly…

            On the surface, the simplest of scenes: two people sitting across a table inside a police interrogation room.  But complicating matters is the fact that our actress – Yael Grobglas – is playing both roles (Petra Solano and her evil twin sister Anezka).  This necessitated a generous allowance of time for hair and make-up changeovers and the use of a double for the over-the-shoulder angles.  You can see this scene in motion in Season 3, Episode 317, Chapter Sixty One; 0:03:25.

            Having recently stumbled upon this BTS still, I thought these shots might be worthy of deconstruction.

            In terms of lighting, I used a single source for the whole thing – a 650W Tweenie (seen peeking over the top of the set).  It was fired through a 4’x4′ frame of 216 diffusion; the spill was flagged off the wall by the 2’x3′ solid adjacent to it.  A 2’x3′ double net was flown in beneath the diffusion frame in order to slow down the light on the back of the actress closest to camera.  A mirror-image configuration was used when we came around to the other side to shoot the second character.

            For the closer singles I added a second diffusion frame – this time Opal Frost – placed very close to the actress, just out of frame.  This helped soften the light even further and was more pleasing to my eye.

            For the two-shot that holds both women on either side of the frame, the Tweenie was moved along the set wall to a point exactly halfway between them.  The 216 diffusion and flag were then re-adjusted to do their job accordingly.  Then we shot two separate passes from that angle, thus allowing the same person to play both characters (each to an empty chair).

            We used two cameras on this set up, wide and tighter.  It’s a great way to save some time – but only if you point the lenses on the same axis.  The further away you deviate from that, the more compromises you’ll be forced to make with the lighting.  Sometimes even just a few inches shift in one direction or the other can have a catastrophic effect on the look.             Arri Alexa; EI800; 3200˚K; 35mm for the over-the-shoulders, 75mm for the closer singles; T4; Hollywood Black Magic #1.


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