JUL I AN WH I TE | GAFFER ' S CORNER
NAME: Julian White KNOWN FOR:
The Martian, Murder on the Orient Express, Cinderella, Crazy Rich Asians HERO GEAR: For me, Astera really revolutionised the lighting industry of late. When I did Murder on the Orient Express , I built a would-be version with Panalux – a two-bank LED strip with bicolour, wireless control and magnets on the back. It was a great solution, so when the Astera came out, I thought, ‘finally!’. I can pick it up to move, it’s got great colour quality, it’ll last hours and you can hang it on a wall or put it in a stand. It’s really just very versatile.
White explains the reasons for creating such a huge set. “You see, one of the problems with green screen is you’ve got to spend a lot of time and money lighting it, then you have to work in VFX to remove green spill on the actors, but that still doesn’t achieve what I call a ‘sky dome’ – the light that falls everywhere in real life. “So, hearing about this rig, you’d think ‘that it cost a fortune’, but if you don’t spend the money there, it would have to be spent on more VFX anyway and there’s still a certain something you can’t capture that way,” he concludes. Despite what one may imagine, a lighting set-up of this colossal scale wasn’t all that difficult to deal with. In fact, it made much of the shoot very simple. “If you turn on 20 Skypanels overhead, of course you’ve got a nice big softlight,” says White. “And because we’ve got that level of control, you can turn off a few or add in a few as the actors move around and the camera follows. There wasn’t much rigging or de-rigging at all once it was all in place. When we needed additional sources – for close-ups, for example – I relied on more LED softlights like the Gemini 2x1 from RIGHT The vast wall of LED panels offered a high level of control and was used for a wide variety of lighting conditions, from hard sun to evenings and even night scenes
Litepanels, Kino Flo Freestyles often with a 90° honeycomb, and the Astera Titan and Helios – all offering lots of control and all battery-powered, so we could move quickly without worrying about cables. “When it comes to situations like this, my advice would be there is no other way, you just need to be brave and go big. On a technical level, every lighting set-up has its challenges, but I wouldn’t say the scale makes a huge amount of difference, it just requires more manpower.”
White concludes: “It does allow you to take a step back and get away from the nitty gritty, and you really do have to trust your crew. I had a great team working close to me: my best boy Kieran Waites, my rigging gaffer Tommy Royal, my HOV rigger Francis King and my HOV practical electrician Mike Forster were all absolutely integral to the success of the shoot.” THE MIDNIGHT SKY IS CURRENTLY STREAMING ON NETFLIX WORLDWIDE
FEBRUARY 202 1 | DEF I N I T ION 09
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