DP Andrew Dunn harnessed Kodak film to bring an inviting look and…
For the sequence, production designer Dan Dorrance created a set inside a wooden shack, adjacent to where the lynching was staged. Dunn says the shack itself was like a maze containing each of the different vignettes.
“It took quite a long time to find the right location, and then to work out and build the different sections within it, as each had its own particular set dressing and lighting requirements,” Dunn recalls. “Although it looks quite a big and deep area in the final film, it wasn’t a large space at all. Eames, my gaffer, and his team built lighting rigs on four ceilings, with alternating hard film lights and softer practicals. Dan and the set designers constructed the stage entrance at Carnegie Hall in the shack. A 2K Par provided the sharp spotlight that Billie encounters, and, with a quick edit to a separate shot of her dressed ready to perform, she steps out in front of the audience to sing her protest song.”
After lighting the location, Daniels and Dunn choreographed the scene with Day and Steadicam operator Yoann Malnati. “It was a very complex shot, but after two or three takes, Yoann and Andra got themselves in complete sync, and I am very pleased with the result.”
As for lighting, Dunn says, “The quality of the light was very important, and for the look of this particular film there was nothing better than the Fresnel, which we used focused or open-eyed for the different musical stage performances, together with period fixtures that you see in shot, all sourced by Eames.
“That quality of Tungsten light, passing through the lens and recorded on to the film emulsion, was fundamental in the human connection we wanted to achieve. However, I kept the level of our energy consumption very much in mind, and used LEDs where I could, such as Litepanels’ Geminis and Astera tubes for fill lights. LEDs get better by the week, but issues with discontinuous spectrum can affect the look. You cannot spot this when shooting on film, of course, until you see the rushes. So you do still have to be mindful.”
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