Steven Poster: Making Chilly Look Warm

From American Cinematographer, A Midwife's Tale, Now and Then by Brooke Comer (Jan. 1998)

The first scene of the production, filmed on Staten Island and shot by Poster, involved an epidemic in the sweltering summer of 1787. It sounds straight forward enough, except for the fact that the filmmakers had to shoot the sequence in frigid December weather.

"This segment of the film is where most of the intertwining of past and present takes place. But Staten Island was freezing, and the actors were wearing summer clothes; we had to spray them with fake sweat, which made them even colder. We wrapped them in blankets as soon as they came off set."
- Kahn-Leavitt (Director of A Midwife's Tale)

It was Poster's job to transform the chilly December location into a summer heat wave.

"Most of the light sources for our day interiors scenes came from windows, and there weren't many windows in those houses. This afforded us the opportunity to be very directional with the light."

- Steven Poster, ASC

The cinematographer used HMI Pars equipped with 1/2 to full Rosco straw gels to create a hot, sunny look for daytime scenes. Night lighting was somewhat easier, since Poster's candlelight and firelight sources already glowed with warmth.

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