While cameras continue to play a pivotal role in the capture of some of the most iconic moments in cinema and TV, the value of the supporting cast — including lighting and tripod systems — cannot be understated.
While HBO’s Barry is essentially a dark comedy about a Midwestern hitman (played by Bill Hader) who travels to Los Angeles to kill someone, there was nothing unilluminating in the way ARRI lit up the production of the TV series.
While the ARRI Alexa and Alexa Mini cameras, used in conjunction with the Angenieux Optimo Zooms, provided director of photography Paula Huidobro with the visuals she was looking for, lighting also played an important role in conveying the visual look the creative team was after.
“I wanted the light to be as soft was possible, which allowed us to work relatively quickly and consistently,” she explains. “My gaffer Paul McIlvine and I decided to go with a more old-school approach, using Fresnels, booklights and Chinese lanterns instead of LED technology, which has become the norm.”
For day exteriors, they used the ARRI M18, ARRIMAXes and SkyPanels. “I like the versatility of the SkyPanels and I like the colour of the ARRI HMIs and how consistent they are. There were great tools to have,” says Huidobro, who also highlights how they wanted the lighting to be “real”. This, she says, led to the obsession with not having shadows that would take the viewer away from the faces or the comedy while still retaining some contrast. “We wanted to keep the light shaped in an interesting way. I didn’t ever want to drift into flat comedic lighting, but I also avoided hard lighting for the most part.”
They also used a lot of practical lights, both on location and fixtures built into the sets. “I always diffused and controlled them when they were off camera,” says Huidobro. “A key to success in making our days was that we were able to build in a lot of lighting solutions into our sets.” That included rigging “a beautiful soft box” into one of the main shooting areas — the actor’s theatre — which she describes as “invaluable”.
Also set to offer valuable support to professional lighting control is Stellar, a new intelligent app offered by ARRI. According to ARRI, Stellar re-imagines lighting control by automatically managing complex DMX settings, and by featuring control interfaces with “stunning graphic design”.
To read the full story, grab a copy of the November 2018 issue of APB.