American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 47

black. Everyone is used to a set being
brightly lit, but these were lower levels
than you'd normally walk around in, even
out in the world. The producers were
always mindful of everyone's safety."
Perhaps the most significant
mental adjustment for Adams was
approaching night scenes with small
units rather than the usual 18Ks or 20Ks.
"There's a night scene in Episode 7 that
called for us to do a big drive-in on Pryce
[Mark Proksch] as he pulls into his
driveway, gets out and walks to the door,"
he recalls. "We were going to shoot with
the Red, and Steve had a big condor
ordered, but then the weather forecast
said we were going to have 60-mph
winds. So we traded in the condor, and
the generator and lights we were going to
get, and went back to the drawing board
to redesign the shot using the VariCam.
We asked the set dressers to place some
acorn-shaped diffusers on 8-foot
concrete pedestals along the street; they
were retrofitted by rigging gaffer Mark
Mele to take 150-watt mogul-base highpressure sodium bulbs. Four of those
turned out to be enough to light a whole
block of residential street. That taught us
a lot. We stayed with the VariCam for
most of those big night exteriors from
then on."
The camera proved equally
impressive on night interiors. In one such
scene in Episode 9, several men gather
around a table in an abandoned warehouse to discuss how Gus Fring
(Giancarlo Esposito) and Hector
Salamanca (Mark Margolis) will work
out their disagreements. The only source
is a small lantern on the table. "Typically
we would've had to hang lights all around
that space to get an exposure, but the
lantern, which was basically a 6-inch
fluorescent tube, was enough, and it
looked amazing," says Adams. "Once we
got into the coverage, I just shaped the
light a little with pieces of tape and
moved the lantern around." Providing an
almost undetectable eye light for closer
work was a 1'x1' LED panel Litecky
modified with a cardboard donut scrim.
"When you dial that way down, it just
reflects in the actor's eyes without adding

For a tow-yard confrontation involving Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito, below left) in the season
finale, Adams' crew had to block light from a neighboring lot to create the desired look.

any light," says Adams. "We used that
tool a lot."
He adds that Litecky's contributions to Saul are invaluable. "Steve has
been with the show since day one,
knows it inside and out, and remembers
every lighting setup he's done. He's
actually been working with Vince and
Peter since Season 3 of Breaking Bad."
The VariCam enabled Adams to
light a more intimate night interior - a
scene depicting Jimmy sharing a meal
with his brother, Chuck (Michael
McKean), and Chuck's wife (Ann
Cusack) in the couple's home -
entirely with candles, an approach motivated by Chuck's growing conviction
www.theasc.com

that he is allergic to electricity. Gould
notes wryly, "Chuck's allergy to electricity has caused our entire camera crew a
lot of pain, but it has also created some
wonderful visual opportunities." To
light the scene, Adams used dozens of
practical candles in-shot and another
dozen on apple boxes off-camera. A
1'x1' LED panel was bounced to create
fill on some of the wide shots.
This sequence is also noteworthy
for featuring a single shot captured on
film, a stylistic departure motivated by
Chuck's panicked realization that his
wife's cellphone is on. "When I first met
with [episode director] Dan Sackheim,
I threw out a bunch of ideas for ways we
July 2017

47


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Cinematographer - July 2017

Contents
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - Cover1
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - Cover2
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 1
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 2
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - Contents
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 4
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 5
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 6
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 7
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 8
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 9
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American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 11
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 12
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American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 14
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American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 16
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 17
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 18
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 19
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 20
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 21
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 22
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 23
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 24
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 25
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 26
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 27
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 28
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 29
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 30
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 31
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 32
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 33
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 34
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 35
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 36
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 37
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 38
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 39
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 40
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 41
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 41A
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 41B
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 42
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 43
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 44
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 45
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 46
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 47
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 48
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 49
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 50
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 51
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 52
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 53
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 54
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 55
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 56
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 57
American Cinematographer - July 2017 - 58
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American Cinematographer - July 2017 - Cover3
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