Light has a starring role in Paul Cook’s new boxing film, “The Prospect.”
This short film takes viewers on a teenager’s journey as he struggles to escape a boxing rivalry that could make or break his career. Every scene is suffused with highly evocative lighting, from the blues and oranges that hallmark a fight in progress to the lower-key tones that accompany the film’s quieter moments.
A versatile filmmaker, DP, and producer in his own right, Paul served as gaffer for “The Prospect” in order to focus solely on the lighting. To craft the film’s aesthetic, he collaborated with cinematographer Ross Turner and directors James Lacy and James Bone on art direction and lighting. Paul notes, “We wanted to show the gritty realism of our lead character’s life growing up in London without many advantages.”
Go behind the scenes in the video below...
Litepanels Gemini Soft and Sola LEDs were essential for creating the mood in each scene.
Paul used a combination of Gemini 2x1 Soft and Gemini 1x1 Soft panels, with a Gemini 2x1 providing the key light for much of the film. A Sola 9 Fresnel provided a stronger burst of light when called for, such as a ray of sunshine coming through a window.
“I love the Gemini 2x1 because it has so much power. If you want to light a really large space like a boxing arena, you can diffuse the Gemini and create a soft overall exposure – and then shape the light with other fixtures,” he says. “And the Gemini 1x1 gives us all the features of the bigger version in a smaller and lighter-weight package, so it’s really easy to get it into smaller spaces and boom it over the top of the actors.”
The crew made full use of Gemini’s color, daylight, and special effects modes. For the boxing matches, they were able to mimic the colorful lighting fans might see at a real event. For day-to-day situations, such as training sessions in the boxing match or scenes in a living room or kitchen, the crew was able to generate realistic natural or tungsten light. And the “TV” effect added even more realism by casting a subtle flicker of light on the characters’ faces, in a scene where they were watching TV.
Gemini’s exceptional dimming was critical for a key scene.
The setting was a small room in which the main character is receiving a pep talk from his trainer, just before a big match. “It was supposed to be an intimate scene, but the room was tiny. I was wondering how we’d ever get a cameraman and sound man with full kit, lighting, and two actors in there,” Paul recalls. “What saved the day was the Gemini 2x1’s outstanding dimming ability.”
Because the Gemini can dim right down below 5% – without any loss of colour accuracy and with no flicker – the crew was able to place the light only a couple of feet away from the actors’ faces. “One of the actors had to practically sit on the light stand! But even so, we were able to put a lovely, soft key light on his face. This simply wouldn’t have been possible with any other LED,” Paul says.
Just through the doorway outside the room, the crew placed a Gemini 1x1 dialled to a blue setting to help place the actors at the scene of the fight and hint at the upcoming match. “This is just another example of Gemini’s versatility,” Paul says. “Without props or art direction, this could have happened in any small room, anywhere. But with the blue 1x1, we were able to give the scene context and a sense of place – the gym where the fight was about to happen.”
Lighting versatility for any scene and any set
The Geminis were essential players on another recent Paul Cook project, a commercial shoot for London gin distiller Pin Gin. Since the shoot occurred on a grey day in London, the crew combined a Gemini 2x1 and a Sola 9 to simulate a growing shaft of sunlight as the distillery staff opened up a large roller door. “That gave us a great opening shot,” Paul said. “And once again, Gemini’s colour capabilities did so much to set the mood. Pin Gin had just installed beautiful new copper stills, so we were able to dial in a warm orange gel setting to complement those vivid, coppery colours.”
Gemini’s ability to run at full power with Anton/Bauer batteries is another huge plus. “With my Dionic XTs, I’m able to get the Geminis into places where they simply wouldn’t go otherwise, including locations where there’s no AC power available for miles. And Gemini has so much punch, even on battery power, that it can compete with broad sunlight on just about any outdoor shoot,” he says.
I love working in fully controlled environments where I can block out all the light until I have complete darkness, and then start to craft a look for the scene and shape the light exactly as I envisioned it,” Paul says. “Litepanels Gemini gives me the versatility and flexibility I need to achieve my vision."