Constantine Makris: Changing the Light as Actors Move

From American Cinematographer, Legal Eagle by Eric Rudolph (October 1998)

What are Makris's secrets?

"I use dimmers and cross-fading more often. We also walk lights, with electricians doing things like dipping under the frame-line to move a handheld light to the actor's new position. I read an interview with Allen Daviau [ASC] in American Cinematographer where he said, 'I don't know how to do things without walking lights or moving nets and flags as the characters move.' That comment really stuck with me and has greatly influenced how I light now, along with the revelations that came from directing. The dance between the actors and the camera is one of the most interesting facets of this show — in addition to the fact that the writing, acting and directing are so good...

If we can just use a board to bounce the light back to their faces, we will, but often we end up using a Griffolyn — anything from a 4' by 4' to a 12' by 12' — and hit it with a nine-light, from which we'll add or subtract light as the actors move closer and farther away. It's another example of how you can dramatically change the lighting during a scene. We'll bring down a single in front of some of the nine-light's bulbs as the actors get closer to the Griffolyn. We've found that you can change the lighting during a scene a great deal. As long as you have a moving camera and moving actors, the changes are invisible."

- Constantine Makris, ASC

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