Sometimes budgets, logistics, and just plain life on the road will mean that you can’t bring along lots of gear. Many of my on-location travel shoots are shot with whatever I can fit in my camera backpack (often a Dakine Reload) and Manfrotto tripod bag. For me, part of the challenge and fun of filmmaking is fashioning makeshift solutions to bring an idea to life. Lighting kits are often an item left behind, because, lets face it they are a pain in the butt to transport safely!
We recently sat the Subaru Rally Team drivers down for some interviews, and finding suitable light in a small-town hotel was a challenge to say the least. At first I considered the option of the dark, poorly lit lounge – there was a pretty sweet stuffed elk head hanging over the couch to provide some atmosphere after all! Then, I spotted a 10′x10′ spot at the top of the stairs with a bright coloured wall and enough space to set up some chairs. The overhead fluorescent lighting still wasn’t ideal, so I grabbed a lamp from the hotel room, popped the lamp shade off, and set the bare lightbulb on a table to the side. This created even more colour temperature chaos – a nasty mix of flouro and tungsten! But, disregarding colour, the actual light & shadows on the subjects didn’t look too bad – and the bare lightbulb acted as a nice highlight in their eyes. So, what was the solution? Some creative license in post-production, of course.
The results are below from a fairly quick Final Cut Pro 3-way colour correction and ‘gradient colorize’ filter. It was the first time I’d used gradient colorize and I was pretty pleased with the tones and effect it produced. With color correction I was able to “blow out” the background a bit and make it look a bit more like a studio backdrop. Who says you need all the fancy tools…just use your creativity and problem solving skills!