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Show Notes

In this episode of The Wandering DP Podcast we break down a recent commercial I shot on the RED Dragon paired with Arri Zeiss Super Speeds.

This commercial was unique in that we were limited to house power for our lighting set ups which means we had to choose our angles and locations wisely.

Below are images of the lighting set ups discussed in this podcast along with the images that coincide with the diagrams.

House Power – Limitiations

Normally on commercials you have a lighting package that basically allows you to control the envirnoment you are in to a large extent.  If the weather isn’t playing nicely you can simply bring in the big guns and over power it.  IF you need some serious shade you can fly the 20x blacks and make it happen.

Some jobs though don’t have the resources and you have to come up with other strategies for making the idea come to life.

This was one of those jobs.

Without a generator truck you are limited by the number/types of fixtures you can load up on to a circuit without it shutting down.  Smallish fixtures are the name of the game and anything over a 1.2k HMI is generally out.  This means you have to use what is on a location when you show up and move fast to capitalize on any happy accidents.

Not having a genie also means outdoor lighting is completely out of the question unless you have lights running off of V-lock and if the lights run off V-lock chances are high they are going to do much more than fill (if that).

The Lighting Set Ups

1.  The Great Outdoors:

Time of Day: 8:00AM

Keys to Success:  We had planned to knock this shot out first as the sun was going to be at the most favorable angle early in the morning.  The higher the sun was going to rise the larger the contrast difference between the sky and the talent under the shady tree would grow.

The angle the talent was positioned in also made this shot work.  We used the brightest source (the Sun) in the most side on position we could get it in.  For story purposes we couldn’t use it as a backlight as we needed the backdrop at this angle in the wide shots.

House Power - Lighting Set Up #1House Power - Lighting Set Up #1More Episodes

Be sure to check back for the 3 other podcasts in this series.  TWDP Episodes 37, 38, & 39 all breakdown different scenes from this commercial.

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3 Responses

  1. Greg Greenhaw

    Did you run into any problems shooting at 1.3? One eye seems a bit out of focus.

    • Wandering DP

      Hi Greg.

      No we had no problems @ 1.3.

      This shot is a push in and doesn’t close on this frame. I just liked it better than the final frame.

  2. Clark H.

    Such great information! As you said, I rarely get to use big lights and depend a lot on using whats available along with small power lights. Its great to learn more about this. Thank you. Looking forward to the other “House Power” podcast.