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Moody Street Pictures wrapped shooting on it's independent feature "Black Irish" with a pivotal scene where the youngest son (Michael Angarano - "Lords of Dogtown", "Sea Biscuit") of an Irish American patriarch (Brendan Gleeson - "Cold Mountain", "Gangs of New York") crashes his derelict older brother's car setting off an unfortunate series of events. To light 1000 ft of Marginal Street in Chelsea for driving shots on a process trailer and the scene of the accident, Line Producer Ben Dewey turned to Lighting Director Guy Holt of ScreenLight & Grip.

"Our biggest challenge" explains Guy Holt, "was to create through the lighting the feel of a car hurdling down the road at high speed." The problem was that even after lighting the equivalent of three football fields, the process trailer couldn't obtain a speed of more than 30 mph before it was out of the light. The traditional approach of under-cranking the camera to increase the speed was not an option because the scene was a pivotal one with extensive dialogue. So, it was left to Guy Holt to create the effect of speed through the lighting.

Guy Holt came up with a solution that was as beautiful in its practical simplicity as in its psychological complexity. To heighten the sense of speed of the process trailer shots Holt rigged 500w practical fixtures along a four hundred foot wall on one side of the road. "We spaced the practical wall lights twice as close together as they would be normally." Holt explains, "This way, as the car passed by, areas of light and dark would pass rapidly by in the background and exaggerate the speed at which the car was traveling." When it came time to shoot the static wide establishing shot of the car racing down the road, Guy Holt instructed the crew to dismantle every other wall practical in order to reinforce the effect. "On an unconscious level", Guy Holt explains "the viewer's mind registers in the establishing shot the wider spacing of the wall lamps. So when in the close up process shots the pools of light in the background are racing past at twice the rate because there are, in fact, twice as many lights, the viewer's mind registers the car is traveling at twice the speed it is, in fact, traveling."

In addition to the wall practicals, Holt simulated car dash board light on the actor's faces with a 12v 9" Kino Car kit. The play of the passing wall lights on the actor's faces were created by a revolving 650W Fresnel with diffusion on its doors rigged on the process trailer. To light the long stretch of road, Guy Holt simulated the pools of light that would be created by street lights by rigging 6kw space lights under the baskets of 60' condors that were spaced about 200' apart over the road. In addition to the Space Light, each condor basket also carried a 4k HMI Par that filled the stretches of road between the pools of tungsten light with a cool moonlight. To continue the moonlight down the road there was yet another 4k HMI Par on a Mambo Combo Stand. Because this 4K was further down the road than was practical to run cable, it was powered by a movie blimped Honda 5500W portable generator. A 12kw HMI Fresnel with 1/2 CTO through a 12x frame of Soft Frost served to pick up the deep background from the front on one end of Marginal Street while a 6kw HMI Par lit the other end.

To supply power on both sides of the road for a 1000' stretch was no small task explains Guy Holt. "We used three generator plants strategically placed so that our cable would never cross the road in a shot". In addition to the Honda 5500W portable generator that powered the 4kw HMI Par light for the deep background, he used a 800A plant to power the 4kw HMI Pars and 6kw Space Lights in the condors, the 12kw Fresnel, and the base camp trailers and work lights. The 6kw Par, 12 - 500W practicals, and an assortment of smaller HMI's used to light the post crash scene were powered by a 450A plant on the far end of the roadway.

Without a doubt, the producers of Black Irish were glad they chose Guy Holt and ScreenLight & Grip to provide lighting for such a large pivotal scene. As Guy Holt demonstrated, a gaffer that supplies the right tools for the job, and uses them in an innovative way, can create startling results on a modest budget.

Production Company: Moody Street Pictures

Written/Directed By: Bradley Gann

Produced By: Mark Donadio, Jeffrey Orenstein, Kelly Grean, Todd Harris

Director of Photography: Michael Fimognari

Line Producer: Ben Dewey

Wardrobe: Elizabeth Clifford

Make-Up Artists: Vincent Schicci, Rob Fitz, Trish Seeney

Stunt Coordinator: Jack McLaughlin

Gaffer: Ken Perham

Key Grip: Tim Driscoll

Lighting Designer & Rigging Gaffer (Crash Scene): GUY HOLT, ScreenLight and Grip

     (Click on images for more Information and Production Stills.)


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