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Siti Rahmah Mohamed Idris

Lighting in a confined space (Coffin)

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Hello internet, I am a film student and I am in need of advice


I have to light a scene that is in a coffin. In this scene the character has a flashlight with him. Being in a coffin underground, I am well aware that there'll be no source of lighting in the scene except from the flashlight but yet, in the movies, like Buried and Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill Vol 2 (

), the setting is pretty well lit up, but the subject only has one source of light.


So how do I achieve that? Is that achieved solely by the flashlight, or by several external light sources?


Thanks Internet


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The walls are so close to the subject and flashlight that they act as bounce cards, so for most angles, the flashlight should be enough. If the only light was the flame of a cigarette lighter, it's a bit harder but still possible, I recall a cool 360 pan inside a coffin lit with a lighter in the remake of "The Vanishing", shot by Peter Suschitzky.

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Of course the mood inside a bare-board coffin would be very different from that in one of those padded fluffy silk-lined affairs. Personally I'd find the latter more disturbing, but it depends, as always, on the story.

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