Edward Lachman: Found Light

From American Cinematographer, Mad-Dog Englishman by David E. Williams (November 1999)

"In that scene, there's this particular two-shot in which you can see the entire downtown city scape of Los Angeles lit up in the background. When you work off of whatever light exists-- and we were shooting wide open at T1.4-- you can get an interesting sense of depth, because sources far in the distance aren't being overpowered. If you start shooting at T2.8 or a 4, you lose those backgrounds, so I always tried to light off of what I found on the location, so our perceived set would be much greater than what I could actually light. I know that cameramen like John Seale [ASC, ACS] and Chris Menges [BSC] sometimes do that as well. You can get a very different look when you light that way, and it's not just in terms of depth of field. You pick up ambient light, color temperatures and subtleties in the shadows that you wouldn't get if you tried to light the entire scene yourself."

- Edward Lachman, ASC

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