Night\Exterior in a grungy alley…the aftermath at a crime scene.  Steadicam 101 – a medium-shot-easy-pull-back with walking, talking actors.

            This scene plays in a more expansive way than it appeared in reality; the effect of the police lights in the background combined with the sparse additional light imply something more going on just outside the frame.

            By the way, those flashing lights on top of the cruisers are bright.  In order to bring them down to a manageable exposure level, the grip department wrapped the exposed area of those units with white cloth tape.  Several layers later and they were still quite powerful, as is seen in the clip.

            This lighting set up is directly related to a big gunfight that was photographed just prior to this scene (see post #127, Lighting Diagram #63, October 15, 2021).  20K tungsten units were sent up on 100′ Condor cranes at each end of the alley to provide backlight over the entire area, depending upon which direction the lenses were pointing.  In this case, the 20K behind the camera was turned off while the one behind the actors was turned on.  That unit did 90% of the heavy lifting for this clip.  A hand-held Quasar Science fluorescent tube (3200˚K balanced) was used as foreground fill from a position just above and behind the moving Steadicam.

            Quite simple for covering such a piece of real estate…


3 thoughts on “LIGHTING DIAGRAM #70 – SWAT”

  1. I understand the issues with carrying exposure on the actors for a walk-and-talk such as this. They’re walking AWAY from all the sources of light in the scene. The quickest thing obviously is to walk with a portable light beside steadi. Could there have been an option to create either a sequence of top-lights (gagging street lamps) or side light from camera left (gagging windows or bounce off a headlight) to create more shape on the actors? Or am I right in guessing that the pace of TV just required you to move faster and this was the best compromise?

  2. Josh – obviously there are a million ways to skin this cat. But in episodic TV production the amount of time you generally have to do what you do can be summed up in one word: GO! The fun comes in figuring out how to do it quickly and cleverly while still delivering a good look.

  3. Exactly, Richard. I have the same scene tonight in Belfast’s Csepel industrial section tonight. On the condors: S360s, M4 and a few par cans. There will be the headlights and cop car lights to augment a dark and dire night, taking place in Belfast. As I wake up and get ready, it looks to be that this will be a rainy night with nature providing the beautiful wet down. (Brrr temps will be low)
    Network TV execs like to see their cast members saying the words. I use the walking LED Helios or Titan tubes for eye sparkle and low fill when needed.
    The Sony Venice sees in the shadows, it’s become more about taking light levels down and away to tell the story well. FBI International

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