American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 20

20

July 2018

Deep Focus
Eye Lights
"The eyes are the windows to
the soul."
The eyes are also where we most
often look when we watch an actor's
performance, and where we find the truth
in their portrayal. Having the right kind of
look to the actors' eyes is therefore
extremely important - and central to crafting that "right look" is an eye light, sometimes referred to as a "catch light" because
its reflection will be caught in the curvature
of the eye.
A quick aside: An eye light should
not be confused with a "slash" of light
across an actor's eyes, a dated technique
that once upon a time was a popular means
of accentuating a character's heightened
emotions. This was wonderfully parodied by
Owen Roizman, ASC in Barry Sonnenfeld's
1991 feature The
Addams Family. At
several moments in
the film, Anjelica
Huston, portraying
Morticia
Addams,
steps into a perfectly
shaped and obvious
slash of light that
lands right across her
eyes.
The eye light
we're talking about is
the specular, mirrorlike
reflection of light in
the eye. A character
without this light
could be said to
appear dull, lifeless,
intimidating, scary -
or even dead. A
sparkle or glimmer in
the eyes, however
gives a character a
touch of added life
and helps draw the
audience into the
performance.
Achieving the
right eye light can be
an art form unto itself.
Many cinematographers simply place a
American Cinematographer

low-wattage lamp on the camera, just over
the lens; this is the perfect axis for the
camera to see the reflection in the eye. This
could be a 150-watt Fresnel, or a 6" fluorescent tube, or even a small LED that's
been diffused and dimmed-down. The
purpose is rarely to add light into the face,
but rather to catch a reflection of the light
in the eye of the performer.
As cinema legend has it, the eye
light dates back to the 1944 film The
Lodger, shot by Lucien Ballard, ASC and
starring his soon-to-be wife, Merle Oberon.
Oberon had been in a car accident that left
small scars on her face; Ballard hid these
Quick Tip
Eyes are so reflective, a good technique for breaking down a movie's lighting
can be to look at the reflections in the
actors' eyes to see where the light sources
were placed.

Eye-light photos courtesy of Jay Holben.

and the brightness of the flames during a
take, Crothers has to work with extremely
high light levels. "If I'm lighting up a
daylight city backing on the stage, I'm typically doing it with multiple 18K HMIs, and
we're usually lighting the backing to an f64
or f90 to punch through the smoke and
compete with the fire," he explains. "The
backing might read at f64 with no smoke
on set, but once moderate smoke is added,
a spot reading might reveal the backing is
only reading as f8. The farther away from
the backing the camera is, the more smoke
there is between the lens and the backing
- and the dimmer the backing might read.
Once all of the elements are in play, that
same f64 might read as f2.8.
"On a recent episode, we used the
most light we have ever used on the Burn
Stage," Crothers adds. "The set featured a
lot of windows, so I was using more than a
dozen 5K Skypans, four 18Ks, six Arri
M90s, six M40s, and an assortment of
smaller units wedged into places around
the set just to get the basic level on the
backings. When we walked out of the burn
area, we all had to wear sunglasses - it
was like an Arizona summer day. But on the
set, with the fire and smoke, you barely saw
anything out the windows!"
Crothers works with Arri's Alexa
Classic and rates the camera at 800 ISO. For
fire sequences, he typically shoots between
T8 and T11 to maintain good color rendition and texture in the flames. "If you open
up to a T4 or 5.6, you end up losing detail
and color in the fire," he notes, "so a T8 is
usually the widest I'll shoot on the Burn
Stage, and sometimes I'll stop down as far
as T16 depending on the size and scope of
the fire. At those stops, a Maxi-Brute is
really necessary to put out the amount of
light I need to supplement the real fire. We
feed [the Maxi-Brutes] back to the dimmer
board and use a preprogrammed chase
sequence to mimic the fire flicker. I usually
use Full and ½ CTS combined on each Maxi
to match the color of the flames.
"It's always incredibly demanding
and challenging to work on the Burn
Stage," Crothers concludes, "but it's fulfilling to get the dynamic and powerful shots
that we do with real fire. It amplifies the
drama of the show exponentially."



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Cinematographer - July 2018

Contents
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - Cover1
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - Cover2
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 1
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 2
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - Contents
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 4
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 5
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 6
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 7
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 8
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 9
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 10
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 11
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 12
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 13
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 14
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 15
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 16
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 17
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 18
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 19
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 20
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 21
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 22
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 23
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 24
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 25
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 26
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 27
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 28
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 29
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 30
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 31
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 32
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 33
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 34
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 35
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 36
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 37
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 38
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 39
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 40
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 41
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 42
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 43
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 44
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 45
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 46
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 47
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 48
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 49
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 50
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 51
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 52
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 53
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 54
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 55
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 56
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 57
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 58
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 59
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 60
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 61
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 62
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 63
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 64
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 65
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 66
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 67
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 68
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 69
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 70
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 71
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 72
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 73
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 74
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 75
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 76
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 77
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 78
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 79
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 80
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 81
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 82
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 83
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 84
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 85
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 86
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 87
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 88
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - Cover3
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - Cover4
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1219
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1119
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1019
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0919
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0819
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0719
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0619
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0519
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0419
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0319
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0219_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0219
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0119_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0119
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1218
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1118
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1018
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0918
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0818
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0718
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0618
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0518
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0418
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0318
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0218
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0118
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1217
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1117
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1017
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0917
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0817
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0717
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0617
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0517
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0417
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0317
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0217
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0117
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1216
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1116
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1016
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0916
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0816
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0716
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0616
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0516
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0416
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0316
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0216
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0116
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1215
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1115
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1015
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0915
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0815
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0715
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0615
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0515
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0415
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0315
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0215
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0115
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com