Posted by: novemberfilm | April 7, 2009

Stills and Setups

In the past three weeks we’ve knocked out 13 of 17 pages in the script. I just Elsa and Aislynn in Carwanted to show off some stills of what we’ve been shooting and talk briefly about the lighting setups.

The lights we used:

Scoop: – Just a bright bulb in a metal housing.

150 fresnel: 150 is the wattage of the light (its a small light), fresnel is the type of light (it has a lens which helps focus or defocus the light).

China ball: A 150 or 200 watt bulb on a stick, very portable and soft.

Elsa and Aislynn in CarMoving Car Interior. We shot this in a garage. Scoop with 60 watt bulb on dimmer with frost diffusion gels for key on the two actors in the back. We chose green because all of the street lights in Zach’s scenes (which are in a completely different location) are orange. This green is Aislynn’s color (the girl on the right) because it is energetic, enthusiastic and a bit too vivid and pushy. Red bulb behind back headrest for brake light. The green light is a 150 fresnel with a green gel on a C-stand that we rotated in circles over the car to achieve a street light effect. We also used a 150 for headlights that we swept across occasionally. I’ll post a clip of this, but I want to matte the background into the window behind them first.


In this scene the girlfriend (Elsa) confronts her roommate Aislynn. China ball to the left of the screen for key and a 150 with an orange gel for back light.

"You sure you're going to be okay?"

"You sure you're going to be okay?"

A heavy fog rolled in right before we shot giving us a beautiful background to light. 150 with a red gel (actually a red transparent page cover) for back light. China ball for key.

"Where are you headed?"

"Where are you headed?"

China ball for key, red gel on a 150 for back light. We’ve really found the china ball invaluable because of its portability and soft light. Here’s a picture of it: The ball was about $9 at Pier One. We had a photoflood bulb until our producer dropped it so we ran out and bought a 200 watt reveal bulb which still works great. The light socket and cord were $9 as well and just took a bit of soldering to put together. The pvc boom was $2. I taped a clothes hanger hook to the end to hang the ball from. The next shot is what we got using this set up.

"What's the matter shy boy?"

"What's the matter shy boy?"

Cynthia on Back Porch
China ball again for key, this time on a dimmer; blue gelled 150 for back light. I really would have liked to see the background more here and we probably should have put our 650 down on the ground, but we didn’t want to bother anyone by hitting their house with the light at 1 a.m.



  1. Paul, this is pretty strong. Very detailed. I’m pretty pumped about the level of work you’re doing. I noticed when I googled the site, that you’re being picked up by others, so you’re finding audience for this. The content reminds me of the books that filmmakers write. I haven’t read many of them. My favorite is “Thinking in Pictures, The Making of Matewan” by John Sayles. In essence, you’re putting many of your notes of the making of this film online. That’s pretty great.


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