Calgary Winds Forced The Last Of Us Crew To Invent A Whole New Lighting System [Exclusive]

The filmmaker also says the cul-de-sac scenes were, in his words, “probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to light in my life.” The reasons for the difficulty were myriad: For one thing, Bolter and the team had an ambitious plan for the scene’s lighting, one that would look naturalistic as opposed to more polished and cinematic — lighting that he says may look “too lit, and too slick, and too fake.” For another, the Alberta weather didn’t exactly cooperate with anyone’s best-laid plans, leading the team to get innovative with their lighting solutions.

Plus, as the filmmaker points out, the scene wasn’t shot in a small space as most moonlit scenes tend to be for practicality’s sake. “I wanted to scale up the concept of how I would’ve lit it on a small scale, on a huge scale,” Bolter says, describing a 2,000 foot cul-de-sac that was built on a back lot from the ground up — concrete, houses, and all. The cinematographer had a pretty specific vision for the lighting, telling /Film:

“I wanted to have a very soft, ambient toplight, which gives you a ‘room tone,’ as I call it. So a kind of generic ambience that’s directionless, that just allows you to see. And then I wanted to circle it with lights completely, like a football stadium, just all the way round. Just always, whichever way I’m looking, I have the ability to backlight the cast.”

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