RED Dragon Commercial Part IV / by Matt Mahoney

Time is ticking and we still had to do our kitchen scene. We've got an island in the middle of the room with and space around it to place lights. If we shoot on the right side of the kitchen, we'll lose a lot of the details that make the room look so good. If we go onto the left side, all we'll see is the refrigerator and some cabinets. So the best option is to shoot off to the side of the room, tucking the camera into a small doorway that allows us to see the stove top, cooking utensils, sink, etc. This angle also gives us some depth by seeing the living room in the background. 

So with the angle chosen we placed our actress on the right side of the island and lit her from the left to get the shadow side towards the lens to help create some contrast. The kitchen was completely white so it felt necessary to light it this way to avoid creating a flat looking image. Let's take a look at the reference photos. 

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CHALLENGES

The living room in the background with those blue walls was going to be a difficult because of how much light those dark colors absorb, and we weren't working with much outdoor ambient light. The kitchen also doesn't have any windows to use as motivation.

SHOOT DAY

I went with the book light again for this one. There were some windows just outside of the kitchen in the adjacent room to camera left that I originally wanted to try to use as motivation, but there was a baby grand piano that was unable to be moved to get that. Although we weren't going to see the windows, I placed a 1.2k firing into a 4x4 bounced into a 4x4 1/2 soft frost to emulate that sunny ambient interior light. I also used a 575w through 1/2 soft frost to light up the kitchen utensils in the background on the left. Now that we had our levels up I needed to shape that background. 

Here's a frame grab out of camera.

I placed the M18 outside while we had another break in the rain and fired it in through the windows of the living room to get a sunny pattern on the cabinets on the left half of the frame. When I placed another 575w in the living room and shot it into the ceiling to bring up those levels in that living room we blew a fuse. We tried to get it on another circuit and we blew another fuse. There's cool down time that's necessary with the 575w lights before you can power them back up so I made the decision to let the living room go a little darker, our actress and the iPad being the primary focus anyway. 

So this scene, while I think it's aesthetically pleasing, is one that I wish I had more time to experiment with. We were running really short on time. We had the actors on 10 hour days, our youth actors on half days and I had to get the shots that the director needed in one day of production at this house. 

These are all things that I'm still learning to work with in terms of limitations. Something always happens and you can never plan for everything. 

Next were going to look at how we did a few outdoor pick up shots a few days later to give the director more options in post.