Conrad Hall & Randy Woodside: Pointillistic Reflections

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

"If there's, say, a group of pictures on a wall in the shot, Connie will often say, 'Give me dot-dot-dot.' In order to provide separation between the picture frames and the wall, rather than lighting the wall up, we'll take a small unit like a pepper and come around to the most radical rake on the wall so that the light is only hitting the picture frames. That way, you provide vertical highlights on the frames in the background in order to get more separation. Basically, we're playing with reflective angles. We will also do that same technique from the front. If you're in church on a wide angle lens that reveals the whole church and all the pews, you want something on the reflective angle to bring out highlights. Everybody's first instinct is usually to use a backlight to find that reflective angle. However, people seem to forget that 180* degrees to that, there is also the same reflective angle which is coming from the camera. The courtroom in A Civil Action, had seats that were very much like church pews, so we took a light on the pin and raised it up so that it would just nick the edges. We came in from the front to define those areas against the darker background."

-Randy Woodside

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