For our group project, we produced a short scene in two locations, outside a restaurant in the CBD called Magic Mountain Saloon, as well as the inside of a car on the street. The entire scene was shot at night, as we were really interested in experimenting with the red neon light outside of Magic Mountain. We ended up doing two shoots, the first where the only equipment we brought with us was the camera, and used the available light; and the second where we brought LED light panels and a Dedo to light the shots inside the car. We ended up using different cameras and lenses in each shoot, which also greatly impacted the final results of each shoot. The shots outside the restaurant were fairly similar in both shoots as we didn’t introduce lights on either night. However, there is some difference between the two, as in second shoot we used a steady cam as well as a different lens and camera. We found that while our tracking shot was much smoother with the steady cam, the lens had trouble focusing as the camera moved.
The differences between the car shots however were incredibly different. With our second shoot, we wanted to create the sense that the red neon light from Magic Mountain was close to car by using the LED light panels with red gels to make it appear as though the neon is coming through the car’s side window and spilling onto our actors faces. This creates a dramatic contrast when compared with our first shots, where we only used our camera torches to help light our actors. The LED panels gave us plenty of control over the shot, as we could easily move them, dim them or change gels to create the look we wanted.
Recreating the same scene twice with different equipment has really emphasised for our group what’s possible with both available light and equipment. The more equipment you have, the greater your options are. However, not having lights doesn’t mean you can’t control the light in your shot, and simply adding lights won’t necessarily improve your scene. What was really important for our group in this project was making sure that all of our lighting decision were considered and thoughtful more than anything else.