Hav Faith – Lighting A Small Office

Hav Faith – Lighting A Small Office

Hav Fatih was conceived by writer/director Howard Bell as a modern day re-telling of the Biblical story of Joseph.  For those of you who skipped Sunday School (or who need a refresher), Joseph was the one with the coat of many colors.  His brothers were jealous of the relationship Joseph had with their father and betrayed him by selling him into slavery.  Things only got worse for him when his master’s wife tried to seduce him.  He was accused of attempted rape and thrown in prison.  Still through all this, Joseph remained faithful and eventually rose out of the prison to help lead Egypt in a time of great turmoil.  Eventually, Joseph was even reunited with his brothers whom he forgave.

The film centers around Hamilton A. Vaughn, Hav, who after a life changing event becomes senior pastor at a prominent baptist church.  This however doesn’t sit well with the previous pastor’s son, AJ, who feels he should be leading the church.  From there, the story of Joseph will become apparent to anyone watching.  Here is a scene from Hav Faith where Hav and the Bishop discuss their Sunday morning plans.

Hav Faith was a difficult film to shoot.  For starters, we only had 13 shooting days and the budget only afforded a bare bones crew.  In order to achieve the look we wanted in a compressed time frame, we opted to primarily light using Kinos and HMIs to supplement the natural light in the sets.  This worked pretty well, as we were able to shoot on the Red Epic with pretty fast Nikon lenses.

One of our many challenges on the set was the size and layout of the office sets.  There just wasn’t a ton of room for grip hardware in most cases.  We looked to light from the windows, but the Bishop’s office set only had one large window near the entrance way, behind the main character.  Another office had some sort of ND or colored gel that altered the color temperature and intensity of  all light shining through it.  In both instances, lighting from the windows wasn’t an option.

A handy tool we used to combat these restrictions was the drop-ceiling clamp.  This way, we were able to pre-light the scene using Kinos and supplement the natural overhead florescent light with our own (better color temperature, angle, intensity, etc.)  I used a lot of 1/8 minus green and 1/8 CTO throughout the shooting of the office scenes – warming up and taking green out of the over head florescents – making them match the color of the Kino Divas.  Overall, this approach allowed us to block shoot much of the 120+ page script.  We were averaging well over 10 pages a day, but thankfully most days were in a limited number of locations.  Hanging the lights from the ceiling allowed us to quickly move from scene to scene in the offices and saved time on the turn-around shots – we never had to move any light stands.  While not necessarily the best for the overall look of the film, lighting from above made this movie possible.

All in all, Hav Faith was a really enjoyable experience and the final product turned out really well.  Audiences around the Southeast have responded well to the film and it has even been nominated for best picture (as well as a few other awards) at the International Christian Film Festival.


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