UK-based Gaffer and Rosco Ambassador Wayne Shields recently worked with Cinematographers Jean-Philippe Gossart, Romain Lacourbas, and Terry Stacey on Season 2 of the popular Netflix fantasy epic The Witcher. The filmmakers worked to create a distinct visual aesthetic that combined fantasy with a medieval period setting. The set lighting team used a number of Rosco’s DMG MIX® LED fixtures to light the interior of the Witcher’s fortress – Kaer Morhen. Wayne shared with us one particular lighting effect he and his crew created for The Witcher inside British Arborfield Studios. He explains below how they used the MIX lights, plus some Rosco Color Filters, to create a vibrant, contrasty, sunset lighting effect for a pivotal banquet scene inside Kaer Morhen.
The Witcher was the first time I’ve had a chance to use Rosco’s DMG MIX lights on a production. We had several MAXI MIX fixtures rigged into the ceiling of the Kaer Morhen set. This allowed us to light the great hall area in a variety of different ways depending on what was needed for the episode. We also used a MIXBOOK® to look at various colours. The ability to preview our color choices on set ended up being pretty helpful. Then, once we had the colours chosen for a scene, we could easily dial them into the MAXI MIX fixtures that rigged above. We also had a few MINI MIX and SL1 MIX fixtures on the floor that we could use for closeups, etc.
After discussing the look we wanted to create for the banquet scene with DP J. P. Gossart, we decided to create a warm sunset feel with an almost purple sky. The idea was to bathe the great hall in the orange and purple colours you experience just before the sun dips behind the horizon.
We mounted the MAXI MIX fixtures above the windows and used our DMX board to dial them in to R2009 Storaro Violet. This was the colour we chose to re-create the ambient evening sky light coming from the windows above. Then we used Rosco Double CTO gels on some tungsten Dino Lights outside the windows to create the ultra-warm, streaking sunset effect.
We wanted to keep the vibrant colours off the actors and play them only in the background. We felt it would get a bit busy if we lit the actors in those rich purples and oranges. So, to keep the inside of the room more neutral, we used a mixture of Skypanels to create the general illumination. Then we used MINI MIX and SL1 MIX fixtures to light the closeups.
The DMG MIX lights were great for colour-mixing and it was easy to dial in the colours from our lighting console. The fixtures were also great on skin tones and a very versatile lighting option. This production was my first time using Rosco’s DMG MIX lights and really enjoyed the experience. I ended up buying a kit that I now use on every job I do.
Gaffer Wayne Shields was the gaffer on the 2018 reboot of Tomb Raider, and on television productions including Brave New World, Black Sails, and Homeland. To stay up to date on Wayne’s work, follow him on Instagram @westsidelighting. If you’d like to learn more about the lights he used on The Witcher, visit the DMG Lumière by Rosco website.