Tricks of the Trade
By Ron Garcia, ASC taken from the AMERICAN CINEMATOGRAPHER page.
During the filming of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, we had to shoot a night scene between Laura and Bobby while they were waiting to do a dope deal in the woods. David Lynch did not want to use any movie lights at all! He wanted the kids to use a flashlight (just one). I explained about photographic darkness, but this was David Lynch, King of Blackness in Sprit and Photography he was adamant about the scene not looking as though it was lit. He asked, if I used motion picture lights, where the light would come from naturally in the middle of the forest? I said the light would come from the same place the music comes from he didn't laugh!
Ultimately I talked him into using a small handheld Xenon light and instructed the actor (Bobby) to always try to light himself and the other actor while they were talking. Then I told David I'd kill myself if I couldn't at least bounce a 1.2K HMI par into the overhead pine trees (he thought the bead board was to bright). He finally agreed and we shot the scene.
I held the negative back from processing that night and shot two tests of the same night scene: one (Fuji 500 ASA ) was for the lab to push one stop, and one was to develop normally to see if I had to push the main scene. The results came back from the lab and I examined each negative by scanning a frame with a Fovex II 35mm film scanner and digitizing them into my computer (using Photoshop, my Mac IIcx and a digitizing board). The answer was clear as a bell: the film did not have to be pushed and the rest is history. (You can see results of that scene on the laserdisc of the movie.)
Fire Walk With Me page | Interviews & Articles | David Lynch main page
© Mike Hartmann