Frederick Elmes: Firelight

From American Cinematographer, A Less-Than Civil War by Douglas Bankston (November 1999)

"Gaffer Jonathan Lumley and I tested some flicker-box systems to create 'fire-light.' In most of the campfire scenes, we would use 2k lamps with some gel on them, sometimes down on the dimmers a little bit to warm them up even more. With diffusion, it would make a source that was four by eight feet. I could put it 15 or 20 feet away, and it would give me the quality of light I wanted. Also, because the source was big, it would give me the flickering I wanted. It was just a matter of moving it around so that it worked on the actors' faces most effectively-- in addition to having some sort of real flames and smoke in the foreground to make it convincing. It also helped to have six other fires going on in the distance; they could be lighting five people in one spot, a tree in another and two tents nearby. That would give me control over the background."

-Frederick Elmes, ASC

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