Conrad Hall: Over Cast Weather on "A Civil Action"

Randy Woodside was Conrad Hall's gaffer on A Civil Action.

When we did have the good fortune to get some overcast weather, we'd often underexpose the faces and expose more toward the sky, which created some modeling on the faces. I love that technique, because it really provides a more downcast feel. The brow-line shadows the actors' eyes and there's a shadow under their chins. You get more definition in the faces that way. We also used some negative fill to take light away from one side to provide some shape. We were trying to provide a bit of contrast to every shot in a situation that didn't really lend itself to it. On wide shots, we obviously did what we could with the lens aperture, but when we got into coverage, we began shaping the faces by taking light away. When we did add light, we added it in very subtle, naturalistic way to help get rid of some of the toplight. If you don't do it subtly, things start to get out of balance with everything else in the background."

-Randy Woodside

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