Day\Exterior…  Tom Hanks’ character of Walter Fielding has set off a Rube Goldberg-like chain of destruction at the renovation site of what is to be his and his wife’s dream house.  Find it at 01:01:29 on the DVD…

            Notice Willis’ use of the Molefay Par 9-Light (fay light) for fill.  The 9-light fay is a tungsten based source consisting of nine separate globes within a single, easily manageable unit; each can be turned on or off independent of the others.  In this case, dichroic filters were placed over each globe so as to bring the color temperature up to daylight balance.  They’ve fallen out of favor in recent years but are still a viable tool for achieving the goal.

            As Hanks comes careening through the shot the camera dollies in and pans right to left with him.  At that moment an exposure change was enacted at the lens – T5.6 opened up to T4 1\2.  It may seem trivial but was in keeping with Willis’ exacting standards.  Today we’d accomplish this task in one of two ways, both simpler and a lot less stressful.  The cinematographer can bake-in the stop change by using a single channel device or it can be effected even more precisely in post.

            But in the summer of 1985 there were no remote motors attached to the lens and no second chances in the lab.  Exposure shifts had to be executed correctly at the very moment they were called for.  The 1st AC did it manually at the lens – while pulling focus at the same instant.  Sure, this’s a relatively trite example.  When you had intricate camera moves, multiple zooms and skittish actors who tended to ignore their marks though, adding a stop change (or four) to the mix made the job very challenging, very quickly.


3 thoughts on “LIGHTING DIAGRAM #27 – THE MONEY PIT”

  1. Wow, 1985! I was there as an additional AC for that stunt. Who was this Tom Hanks kid?Yes, Gordon was amazingly precise, all who worked with him knew that! Doug Hart, Gordon’s 1st AC, was up to the task on many, many movies with him.

  2. Great diagrams. When I assisted John Flinn III,ASC on Magnum P.I., stop changes were necessary most of the time due to fast moving clouds.
    While on the 5-1 zoom, I learned that I could easily move the iris ring with my index finger while my hand was on the focus knob.
    When I first got to Oahu, John was explaining to me in his inimitable way the process of stop changes, as the cloud cover was entering and passing over the sun. As a young first assistant, not experienced in stop changes, I said “ OK John, when you see it, you’re gonna love it”! John yelled “I better not”!

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