Movie Scene Recreation- Filth- Part 2
For this second round of scene recreations, I revisited the 2013 Scottish dark comedy crime film, Filth, shot by American cinematographer, Matthew Jensen.
I found this scene of the main character in an office like location. What immediately stuck out to me was the do-ability for this scene. When I look for scenes to recreate, I look to see if the location, props, and action being performed are things I have access to. Since this is in a plain location (no time period specific architecture), simple props (a table with lamp) and a simple action (sitting in a chair), it’s do-ability ranked very high so I set off to recreate this scene.
I looked around my home and decided that my living room would be the best spot for the location as it matched the scene grab’s depth pf space and what appeared to be other door openings. As my living room, dining room and kitchen are all open concept, it would be hard to shut out all the light during the day so this would be best as a night time shoot.
Anyhoo, nighttime rolled around and it was time to get to work. The first thing was to stage the table. In my DIY home light kit, I keep a small table lamp that has a clamp support which is great when you need a light in hard to get to spots that won’t fit a light stand. I set up the table far away from the camera and staged it with some books which the clamp light attached to it to get more height and add some dimension to an otherwise flat table. I could have added more papers to the desk to really match the scene but for me the goal is not to make an exact replica, it’s to recreate the mood of the scene through similar lighting and composition. Plus, I was getting a little tired and wanted to get the shot instead of spending more time on props.
Once the table was set up, it was time to get the talent light taken care of. This was the trickiest as the space I’m working is more long than it is wide. This meant that the talent (shout out to my ever patient hubs) had to be somewhat close to the wall behind him. Which isn’t ideal. It looks like James is a good distance from the wall behind him. A benefit of having your talent be away from the background is that when you light them, you can minimize the spill light going onto the background behind them. The closer your talent is to the background, the more the light is going to spill on the background when you light your talent. I was also working with my 17-55mm lens which I’m confident is not the focal length Matthew Jensen used in this scene which is why I wasn’t able to cleanly get both door openings + have a similar composition to the original scene grab. But it's all good. Just gotta work with what you have.
I should also mention that after the table was set up, I set up my talent in his chair. Framing your talent or subject first will help to guide your lighting. I started out using the dining room chandelier on a low-mid dimmer setting. This set an overall light but not enough for my talent. The lighting on James is overall soft but there are some shadows under his eyes which tells me that the light source is overhead and back a little. The LED panel does not provide a soft even lighting and would hit the wall behind him, something I did not want to do as it is not in the scene, so I used 1 paper lantern. The light illuminated my talent but also got more of the wall than I wanted so I reached for my trusty bath towel skirt which I placed on the back -side of the paper lantern. This controlled the spill of the light and was a much closer match to the original scene grab.
Now that the set staging was complete, the talent’s location in the scene established and the lighting set up, it was onto the acting…. but my talent is not much of an actor :p My husband is a patient soul during these exercises but he’s not keen on actually acting in them so I ok’d him to watch a show on his phone. So I didn’t fully recreate the mood, but I am pleased with the overall scene recreation.