The camera, some lighting units and Rockwell were positioned on the large turntable so that the camera and actor could move together from in front of the kitchen/bathroom set to the second position in front of the boardroom set. A fast dolly/zoom into Rockwell’s eyes allowed some time for the crew to rotate the turntable, slide Weintraub and his desk in front of the camera and pull out to the over-the-shoulder shot.

The camera was underslung on a dolly and offset by several feet, which allowed it to float right over Weintraub’s head. The shot began about 5 1/2' off the ground; a combination dolly/zoom moves into the tight close-up of Rockwell’s eyes and then, once you see his idea forming, the camera zooms and dollies back out, booming down to about 4' off the ground, looking up at Rockwell as he makes his presentation.

Using the entire range of an 11:1 (24-275mm T2.8) Primo zoom, Sigel could combine the dolly move and the zoom to get the really quick push-in that worked for the shot. Sigel operated the camera manually; there was no remote head involved, and he simply handled the dolly itself using a monitor as a guide for framing. First AC Jimmy Jensen pulled focus and second AC Roch Boucher handled zoom detail. "It looks simple [onscreen]," Sigel notes, "but this was a really complicated shot. There were a lot of considerations. We were going from something very wide to an extreme close-up right into his eyes and back out again. The lighting had to change from one set to the next, but we didn’t want the audience to notice the light changing on his face. That meant we had to design lighting on him that would work for both situations. We had everything on dimmers so we could create lighting cues that would change the lighting from one position to the next."

Tony Nakonechnyj, who has worked as Sigel’s gaffer on many shows, points out that he lit to a deep stop – nearly T5.6 – so that Sigel would have the depth of field he needed to do the extreme push-in without losing focus. The shot, along with most of Confessions, was captured on Kodak Vision 500T 5279, and the emulsion’s speed helped. "We didn’t have to really scald the actors with lights," Nakonechnyj observes. Still, the gaffer was pulling more than 2,000 amps in the Montreal stages.

The lighting in the kitchen set was motivated primarily from the window, Sigel recalls. "It’s a warm kind of early-morning feel. There’s some modeling in the room and some beauty light hitting Drew in the bathtub. You have Sam being lit evenly and in a somewhat flat, but flattering, way that’s motivated primarily by a lamp above the mirror he’s using. It also looks like some of that light is hitting Drew.

"When we pull out inside the boardroom, it has a harsher, overhead, office-type lighting," he continues. "At that point, we pulled out the fill light on Sam to match that [toplit] look. "

The kitchen bathroom was illuminated by a 20K gelled with half CTS through the window. A 6K softbox over the tub helped provide modeling for Barrymore, while a 5K provided some toplight for Rockwell.

The primary lighting in the boardroom was provided by a 2K Zip on a grid above Rockwell and a 1K Redhead on a grid facing Weintraub. Two 10Ks at right angles, each gelled with 1/4 CTB and going through 1/4 gridcloth, provided top- and backlighting for the other executives sitting at a table behind Rockwell; they also added some cool backlight to Rockwell, separating his hair and blending him into the boardroom environment. A 20K pointing straight down onto the table gave it some definition. A 1K Leko was used to lend some extra detail to the foamcore set Rockwell holds.

On the turntable, Rockwell was lit with a 1K Leko and a 2K Zip. For the wide camera positions, a 1K Redhead was used for backlighting the foreground. The crew also used a 250-watt mini space light that Nakonechnyj built by placing a tungsten bulb inside a tubular cage. This fixture was positioned on the camera.

During the moments when Rockwell’s eyes fill the frame, the lights from the kitchen/bathroom were dimmed down completely while the boardroom configuration came on. Also, Rockwell’s lighting, which was mounted on a goal-post type device positioned on the turntable itself, had to change from the look that blended in with the first set to the look designed for the second.

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© 2003 American Cinematographer.