On most sets, there is usually some time built in to the schedule to readjust lighting with each set up. We knew we weren't going to have that time to spare on Fan Friction's action day, so the function of the pre-light was to make sure we could film at every angle straight through with only minor adjustments, if any. We were able to do this because we had created a shot list and knew where the choreography and blocking was going to placed ahead of time. On the day, the only adjustments were some temporary effects (bringing up a light with a gold gel on a dimmer as a practical for the transporter effect, which we set up and took down before and after that one shot), bringing in a bounce board for some more light on close ups, and bringing in the hazer in between takes. Other than that, we basically shot straight through without any adjustments.
Ashly and I chatted a lot about the look of the spaceship, and definitely wanted an Empire Strikes Back sort of vibe, with the contrasting reds and blues, but I did want to add some green as well so it felt a little more alien. I also liked the concept of vertical lines. shaping the hallway and adding depth.
Also, the background for the final fight, here:
Was actually directly inspired by the film Highlander, shot by Gerry Fisher:
(Which, funnily enough, Tarantino also referenced in Kill Bill, if you remember!)
I wanted to do something a little more romantic and warm than that, however, so we went more with pinks and purples than blue. Since that scene was the result of the two girls finding a compromise together, the setting of the fight/make out scene needed to feel different than the previous scenes, which were more cold and sterile. I also added gold up top to give their muscles more definition (important when filming hunks) and to separate them more from the background so it wasn't a total silhouette.
Because we were sharing the same equipment over eight different shorts, and couldn't afford to rent different lenses for each one, we went with two Angenieux Optimo zooms (a 16-40mm and a 30-90mm) for the whole run of the show, supplemented with RocketJump's Canon 16-35 L series and a Tokina 11-16mm for when we went handheld or onto the MOVI and needed a lighter or wider lens.
For the spaceship, the lighting and haze did all the heavy lifting. I would have loved to played with more vintage lenses (from the 70's or 80's) to invoke the Star Wars look even more, but alas! I also wished I had gotten to play with the Schneider DigiCon filter, especially with the shadowy scenes. But we had no time for tests (wasn't sure how a diffusion filter would have reacted to those bare fluorescent tubes, or if any halo effects would make matching the sabers harder in post) and our MOVI rig needed to be lightweight and bare-bones. We used the Angenieux zooms for the girls' bedroom scenes, and the Canon zooms for the spaceship. I think this definitely has a subtle effect on the "feel" of each location.
The spaceship's lighting was purposefully very stylized/unnatural and source-y. You saw almost all of the light sources on screen as practicals or as part of the set design. We wanted it to be high-contrast and shadowy, with some of the background falling off into black, but not too harsh on faces... the main rule of thumb was to keep our boys looking handsome. Everything except the white tubes had crazy color gels, and most of the lights on the spaceship were either fluorescents or LED's, which have their own feel compared to tungstens and HMI's, and lean a little cooler on the color spectrum in general. (LED's sometimes tend to have a weird effect on skin tone, I still want to test that more.)
In contrast, the girls' rooms were based in more natural indirect light sources off screen, like sunlight through windows. We mostly used tungsten fresnels or source 4's shot through silks or bounced off white cards, with very few in-camera sources. In Liz's room after enough time had passed for it to be evening, we had a gem ball (or china ball) as one of our main sources above camera, playing like a soft ceiling light. We wanted the girls' spaces to feel soft and warm and indirect, the opposite of the shadowy, contrasty intensity of the ship.