Peter Menzies Jr: Night Exteriors Approach

From American Cinematographer, A Few Bad Men by Jay Holben (July 1999)

Due to the film's considerable number of night scenes, a major consideration was how to define the night look. Both Menzies and West chose to forsake "Blue" moonlight for a more practical approach.

"I wanted every scene to have that oppressive feeling of muggy Southern heat and I thought that any cool colored light would kill the feeling. As a result, we worked in warm tones. We chose locations that we would paint in darker colors like reds, ambers and oranges, and we stuck to Peter's main night plan, in which moonlight never came down from above. All of the night sequences were lit as if the illumination being generated purely by practical sources on the ground."

- Simon West

"In keeping with Simon's warm look, I went with a more sodium-vapor approach for all of the night sequences. We colored all of our lights to have that yellowish sodium feel. [Given the widescreen frame] a lot of the lights on the ground were going to end up in the frame. Obviously, they were not real streetlights, but film lights placed off in the distance and simply gelled to look sodium colored. Simon loved that idea, and once we defocused them, they became these wonderful background elements that resembled anything-- other buildings, streetlights. They created fantastic visual expanse without us having to light everything with Condors. Speed was the other added benefit. By keeping everything out of the air, and not minding that lamps were in the shot, we were able to move much more quickly and cover a lot more ground in a short period of time."

- Peter Menzies Jr, ASC

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