10 Minutes With Daniel Day Lewis – Best Actor Oscar Winner:
Congratulations to Daniel Day Lewis for his best actor Oscar win last night – not that he needed the win for us all to know he’s the best actor of our time. Yep, I said it, he’s awesome.
It’s not often you get to stand face to face with one of your idols, so when I was asked to shoot Daniel Day Lewis, needless to say, I was pretty psyched. Although some of that excitement dissipates when your told you have ten minutes to shoot him, in a small hotel room, and his publicist tell you that you aren’t allowed to direct him. “Don’t ask him to move his arm or turn his head… he wants it to be an organic experience”. Although this makes things a bit more challenging, I totally understand his preference. He’s really not there to “act” like Daniel Day Lewis nor am I there to “direct” him to be himself.
So, I have ten minutes with my idol… how am I going to make the most of the situation? I really wanted to do 3 setups, with subtle changes in lighting and background, so I create a lighting setup that would allow me to do this by moving my position, without having to ask Daniel to change position, until the last setup. My lighting setup and description are below…
I set up two backgrounds, a blue one behind Daniel and a black backdrop to the left of him.
Image #1 I used a Mola dish as my main light, an Octabank as a fill and a strip bank behind him, to create an edge light. This was my “Cover” shot.
Image #2. I unplugged the edge light behind him, and moved my position to his left side – the black background was now “behind him” with Daniel in profile. He’s a nice guy with a great smile, so I was happy to capture this after a bit of small talk about Lincoln.
Image #3. I didn’t want to waste any time changing camera settings, so I used a second camera for this last shot. I used the natural window light and no strobe light for fill but instead, had my strobe’s modeling lights levels set to the perfect fill exposure. By the time Daniel walked 3 steps to the window sill, I picked up my second camera and was ready to shoot.
Here’s image #1 of Daniel Day Lewis on the cover of Italian Vanity Fair.