Wexler & Hall: Overcast Weather and Contrast

From American Cinematographer, Island of Lost Souls interview by Conrad Hall, ASC (July 1999)

Hall: "I actually didn't realize the effect that the overall look of Limbo had on me until I was walking out of the theater and thought about how nice it was to finally feel sunshine. The film had a kind of pervasively claustrophobic gloom that lent to the quality of the character's lives. There's something about the sun hitting your face that makes the you feel wonderful. As you said, though, that feeling wasn't something you waited for-- it was created by the 'gaffer in the sky.' Did you shoot when the sun was out too?"

Wexler: "As you know Conrad, in a way it can be easier to have overcast light for exteriors..."

Hall: "I'm not sure if I agree with that, actually. I think it's harder to get contrast in overcast conditions, and I'm always interested in contrast. The only contrast you do get on an overcast day is color contrast-- blue against green, for example. If I had a day like that, I'd throw a large black over the actors and put them in a darker silhouette against the brighter background in order to change the almost pervasive beauty of the situation, because the [natural scenery] is so colorful. In a way, the colors can be more saturated in that even, overcast light-- unless, of course, one overexposes the way you did."

- Haskel Wexler, ASC & Conrad Hall, ASC

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