Sunday, April 8, 2012

It's a Trade-Off

When a film crew comes into the neighborhood where I work to shoot their commercial, tv show or movie it is usually very...bothersome.  They always seem to block off the exact street that I need to go down to get to where I need to get to and be on time.

This week, though, they thoughtfully filmed inside one of the apartment buildings down the block from where I work - so for once I was actually able to take a moment to enjoy the hubbub.

They parked all of their semis down by the park.  There were about 8 of them lined up one after the other - each full of equipment, food, more equipment, props, even more equipment.

And of course there were the trailers for the actors.  They split the trailers this production, so 2 dressing rooms per trailer instead of the usual single room per trailer that most of the productions use.  Maybe because it was an HBO show instead of a blockbuster movie.

My favorite part was watching them try to light up the inside of a Manhattan apartment.  You need a lot of light to film in, apparently, and to make it seem like it is daylight outside, it has to be really bright (I'm guessing).

The problem is that most Manhattan apartments don't actually get a lot of natural light.  They usually have a few windows facing the ally (and the building next-door).  Then they have a few windows facing the street (and the building across the street).  And let's not forget that the apartments themselves have walls blocking the light from flowing from room to room.

So - pretty dark for filming.

And what's a crew to do when faced with such a dim situation?  Bring on the lights!

This back light shoots up to the window above where there's a huge white square that reflects the light into the apartment window where they're filming.

But that's not enough - not nearly enough...

So they have 2 huge lights out on the sidewalk on the other side of the apartment pointing at another reflecting square going into the window.

This was around 2pm in the afternoon - so you can see what I was talking about with the lack of sunshine in a Manhattan apartment.  The shadows from the building across the street block all the sunlight.

One building gets sun in the morning, the other gets it in the afternoon - unless there's another building that's bigger than both of them - then they get the sun and the smaller buildings get shadow.  Of course, if you're on the avenue instead of the street - you get a lot more sun, but then you also get a lot more traffic noise.

It's a trade-off.

When we lived in Manhattan, our home was across the street from a park area - so we got a lot of light.  And since it was on a street, not an avenue, we didn't get a lot of traffic noise.  I had a window box in the kitchen window off of the ally where I grew basil and tomatoes.  Lots of light there.  It was a great location.  (My DH has a knack for finding great locations.)  But we couldn't have pets and had to walk outside to get to the laundry room in the basement.

It's a trade-off.

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