Red and gold and purple collide in our most hectic of scenes. Protestors storm the “Golden Gates” as police hold a barrier. Only Pancho, carrying the golden key (stolen off a guard at the factory), is granted entry to the exclusive party for the elites.
For this scene, our scissor lift was the MVP. All of the units were hung to the sky to keep clear paths for everyone who was moving on cue — the protestors, Pancho, and camera team. To start, my flashlight was again employed on the “STPD” sign seen briefly as the scene wipes into view. The same Source 4 that was used to illuminate the van’s cop driver was refocused to shine through the van’s empty back window, and give Pancho and nice strong key as he releases the protestors from the van. Another Source 4 is aimed and shaped on the graffiti mural in the background, giving it some beautiful fall-off that highlights the clown’d Uncle Sam as he feeds a variety of vices to the masses. Watch again and investigate the details on this mural.
A standing police officer is watching over and insuring a red-suited worker is doing their community service (painting over the mural), but they are soon punched square in the jaw and sent flying by our hero Pancho. A strong backlight from a Source 4 helps separate this action from the rest of the commotion, and soft bags were placed among the trash piles to insure a soft landing.
We had talked about hanging two 2K nook lights in each corner of the protest scene up and behind all of the action. The thought was we would put blue gel on one and red gel on the other, alternating between the two with Luminair. The Boys made a compelling argument to simply raise the SkyPanel to top floor of high-roller and use it’s built-in “police car” chase mode instead of trying to make the effect manually. They were absolutely correct; this was a much more effective approach. The SkyPanel serves as our primary key in this scene, and adds a ton of flavor to the scene, making it feel real.
As Pancho approaches the golden gates, he and the guard are illuminated by a strong Source 4 backlight that’s snooted away from the rest of the action and picketeers. Four 300w tungsten fresnels were aimed at the golden gates, specifically on the front of the gold lame that was in use as set decor. This gave the fabric a much needed sparkle, but also helped to hide the rest of the set that was just behind the pseudo-walls.
This was the first scene we shot of the video, and the whole warehouse really came to life once everyone on crew got to see things on camera for the first time — suddenly all those hours of hard work and dedication made some semblance of sense.
THE GOLD WORLD
This was easily our most complex scene, and thus we devoted an entire production day to it. It used more units than any other scene, had more characters and more choreography, and required everything to come together in perfect unison for a full 1:30m+ before we could call it a wrap on the production. In this scene, Pancho takes on the world of the elites, The Gold World, making his way to the banquet table, and the stage that seemed destined for him. But amidst the party there are Red World revolutionaries (can you spot all of them?), and Pancho as their undercover leader comes with a surprise of his own. In the end, is he one of us, or one of them?
The Gold World saw our most rigorous lighting configuration yet. For starters, to get the “gold” in the world to really pop, we hung 8×8’ gold lame on the slanted roof at a downward ~30-degree angle in the center of the world, filling it in with a Source 4 and 50-degree lens. On the walls of the gold world, two Source 4’s with gobo patterns added a fancy flair to the world. They were kicked slightly out of focus so as to not be too distracting, but still make the walls more interesting than the otherwise bland brick. Between this and a 2K spacelight, again somewhat center-world, we developed our base illumination.
Each of the vignettes then had their own specials added. Avi’s pig-eating-a-pig vignette saw a 2K zip as a backlight (with a 2K spacelight filling the first third of the world, and bleeding into his zone). Our clown’d Uncle Sam was dinged with a Source 4 as a key. Our bathing Amazon princess, Jen, shared the 2K zip with Avi, but got her own 300w special up and above. This had to be placed in such a way that I, as the operator, would not shadow her. The boxed mannequins received 300w specials as well, and the woman suspended by paracord inside the box also received a Source 4 topper. Two cross-key Source 4’s illuminated Meowtha on the lyra, which was suspended from the same beam. Meowtha is an incredible aerialist, but for safety’s sake (none of us trusted the beam), we had to limit what she did on the rig to something simple and safe. Finally, a rear 2K zip added a backlight for the dogs playing poker and betting the pig head.
My personal favorite moment of this scene is when we dim the entire world and throw a spotlight onto Pancho via a Source 4 focused adjacent the dog poker scene. When he sings, “I bet you think this song is about me…” and steps himself out of the spotlight, we knew we had some magic. It was so perfectly literal.