I chose these 2 interview scenes from Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich to talk about because they present a very interesting and common challenge – shooting in tight spaces. On many documentaries you have very little control over the space that you shoot in. Sometimes you have the luxury of choosing the perfect place to shoot and bringing the talent to you, but more often than not you must shoot where the talent is. The upside is that their space is unique to them and can help tell their story and create their portrait. From a technical standpoint these spaces can be difficult to shoot in.
When shooting in a small space a few things happen. You don’t have enough room for all the equipment, you are forced to shoot with wider focal lengths, and it is very difficult to control the light and not have it spill everywhere creating a very flat and bland image.
For the Brad Edwards interview (Pic 2) we were literally up against a wall. We keyed with an Arri S60 and if we put it all the way against the wall with a Chimera, half of the rig would have been in shot. Instead we took a 4×8 beadboard and taped it to the wall. We angled the S60 to be out of frame and bounce into the beadbard. We were able to squeeze in a 4×4 frame just off camera to make a book light & carefully placed 4×4 black solid floppies to control the spill.
For Steven Hoffenberg (Pic 1) we were also up against a wall and did the same booklight against the wall technique. Here we had the luxury of owning the space and were able to place a Joker 800 outside in the hallway coming through the doorway on frame left to light the background. Both setups were 3 lights but the key light and background light did 90% of the work.
Thanks for coming on this journey with me. I am finished posting about this project and am excited to move onto new ones. Stay tuned!