RED Dragon Commercial Part III / by Matt Mahoney

In the last installment of this series we looked at how we turned a house bar into a coffee bar. This time we're going to deconstruct a living room scene with a teenager using the app on a couch. 


One challenge I had when shooting this was the walls of the living room. They were painted a very dark blue so getting the level up in the room was going to be interesting. The kino was too weak to get the job done so we had to come up with another solution. Let's take a look at the reference photos. 


We've got a window in the background that we can use as motivation. To camera right we have a kitchen that'll give us plenty of space to put lights and we've got a little bit of room in the living room to place the camera. 


First thing we did was kill the kitchen lights that were giving that spill of tungsten light on cabinet and refrigerator to camera right. Next up was our key light. I decided to go with a book light to camera right. I set a 1.2k and fired it on a angle into a 4x4 bounce board. To finish I placed a 4x4 1/2 soft frost and angled that toward our actor and actress that will be sitting on the couch. 

In the kitchen I placed a 575w hidden behind the wall on the right, set it to 50% power and used it to light the refrigerator and cabinet. Next we had to get some light coming into that window in the background. There was a break in the rain so I placed the M18 outside and fired it bare through the window. I wanted to get the sense that the sunlight was coming in through the window and bouncing around the room and illuminating everything. Here's some frame grabs out of the camera to show what we ended up with: 

The wide shot shows the M18 burning through the window.

For the CU I pulled in the 1/2 soft frost closer to get the light to wrap softly around her face.

For the reverse the interior lighting setup didn't change.

For the reverse shot we swung the camera and the M18 so that our camera was in a reverse angle for the OTS and now our M18 was firing through some windows on the other side of the room so that our fake sun direction stayed relatively consistent. 

Although the original lighting plan I made had a 4k firing into a bounce board and back through the windows to light the room more naturally and save us space inside to move quickly, the end result was one that the client and the director were happy with. I probably could have flagged off the light on her face a little bit in the reverse, but we were running short on time, and both the director and the client were happy with the shot as-is.

In part IV we'll take a look at the kitchen scene