Home of Professional Cinematography since 1996

Shooting The Old Pain In The Neck Doorway Conversation

 

Published : 23rd July 2013

I'm curious as to how others handle this common pain in the ass situation.

A conversation between two people at a door. One person outside facing into the darkness, the other inside facing out into the light. There's never enough room inside to light comfortably and the interior lights up so much it looks very artificial.

It's one of those situations that always annoys me and one which I figure will always be with us.

I'm just curious as to how others handle it.

Ruairi O'Brien,
DP
Ireland
www.ruairiobrien.com


The key (punishment deserved) to this riddle for me is the porch light.

Tim Sassoon
SFD
Santa Monica, CA


Ummm...

>> The key (punishment deserved) to this riddle for me is the porch light.

Ruairi O'Brien,
DP
Ireland
www.ruairiobrien.com


>>I can just see myself trying to justify a 4K porch light to the art dept. for those day scenes..

That would be kinda funny. Day scenes - what a concept! Why was I thinking night only?

I've usually just used local fill, reflector boards mostly, on the interior side, and in most cases silked then brightly lit the doorway, just to nail the light down in one place. But that's just me.

Tim Sassoon
SFD
Santa Monica, CA


>> ... There's never enough room inside to light comfortably ...

Now *that's* an understatement!!! <g> But somehow we always work something out....

The tricky part is choosing the right values for the amount of light on each person's face with regards to the background. Looking in: easy. Looking out : tricky.

Looking out things get tricky and stressful because it's so crowded usually - access issues, impasses and frustrated crew. It's really crazy when you have this sort of set-up in rapidly changing light - or a long scene where the sun comes into play in uncontrollable circumstances.

The most elegant solutions usually require help from both the cast and the director...

David Perrault, CSC


I'm a big fan of Robert Richardson ASC's handling of the Zoller/Shosanna projection-booth doorway conversation scene in Inglorious Basterds...

Eric Schmiedl
Student / DP / Stills
Boston
http://ericschmiedl.com