“Chanel meets Apple meets Wes Anderson”
Those were the words the director used to describe the look we were going for on our pre-pro call.
It’s takes a lot more than just lighting to achieve an intentional look, but it certainly plays a big role. So how do you go from vague nouns and adjectives to a final image?
My favorite way to get on the same page with the director and DP is to ask them for reference images. It’s helpful in two ways: it gives us a common visual language to understand what the end result should be, and it allows us to start reverse engineering the lighting to see what kind of tools and resources we need to accomplish that task.
For this scene, we used a couple of space lights for ambient exposure and skirted the back side to keep them from spilling on the walls. We knew we wanted a big soft key source to create shape on the subject as well as the set. So we we BajaBlasted™️ three 5K tungsten fresnels into an 8x8 ultrabounce through 1/2 grid cloth diffusion and control grid. Put some solids up on the sides to keep light from spraying all over.
The TV on the set was getting smoked by the book light and giving away the source, so we added a duve bottomer to slow it down and feel more subtle. The key light looked great but it needed to wrap on the talent’s face a bit more. So we added a Gemini 2x1 through a frame of 250 and Snapgrid. This also helped lift shadows on our puppy riding the Roomba (!!)
After we had the ambience and key light dialed, we started to pepper in accents to create more depth in the image. Nanlite Pavotube II to light up the set window. A Source Four 750 for a splash on the wall, and a second overhead as a special on the product. Tossed an incandescent practical in the lamp on a dimmer and we were cooking (literally because of all the heat from the tungsten units, but also figuratively because it was looking quite nice 🤌)
Prod design @crush_studio
Tyler Kaschke is a freelance gaffer with G&E and grip truck and sprinter van rentals based in Boulder, Colorado and serving Denver, Golden, Fort Collins and Colorado Springs.
For more information about lighting tips and shooting commercials in Colorado, follow me on Instagram @colorado_gaffer