VIRAG ( Drama | Short | 12: 29 min | Prabhat Studio, India, 2012)
Credit: Director of Photography
Synopsis: An awkward evening unfolds in a lower middle class Marathi household. A student visits his ailing teacher who's taken the vow of Samadhi, has stopped singing and withdrawn from his surroundings.
Technical Specs: Shot in Prabhat Studio, Kodak 5219 Vision 3 Stock, Arriflex 535B, Zeiss Ultra Prime Lenses, Mole Richardson Fresnels + Open faces & Kinoflo Daylight.
Technical Description: My creative brief was to evoke the feeling of after-rain indoor evening light in an urban Indian apartment. In this film my strategic tools were brightness and color contrast ratios. The interplay between the two created a realistic world for the story. The characters in the film are in an intimate emotional space yet a little helpless and awkward. The director wanted to focus on actors' performances and decided to keep the camera still, working primarily with mise en scene for movement. To evoke intimacy and make it relatable, I decided to light naturalistically. I kept a pretty strong brightness contrast ratio, leaving faces moulded in partial shadows with low fill levels and simulating practical sources like fluorescent house tubes and naked tungsten bulbs for night scenes. All the light during the dusk scenes was coming from the windows at a topish 45 to 60 degree angle. On one side of the apartment the windows were partially gelled with CTO's to give it that mellow directional orange dusk color of the setting sun. They were left partially gelled because I wanted to retain some of the clean sharp light that comes through after it has rained and all the environmental dust settles. The mix of filtered orange and naked tungsten white light created a realistic feeling I was quite happy with. At the other end of the house where the exchange between the lady and the student happens, the window light was left naked/ not gelled for a pale white color and quick fall off. This was to help the viewers structurally orient themselves as we never go through the entire house with camera movements. It helped to shape and separate the inner rooms, hallway, kitchen and living room from one another into distinct spaces where the characters spend their time and interaction unfolds. The light acquires the color of whatever it bounces off of or filters through. And so the color contrast of the light and the walls in each room also situates the characters in relation to the outside world. It evokes the relation of inside-outside by the way it falls off, wraps around and acquires color as happens in the short golden hour in India. The changing characteristic of the evening light is typically rapid and fleeting especially in apartments surrounded by other buildings. The thoughtful sound design in the film helps to sculpt this world along with the lighting.
Jury Selections & Screenings:
CLAPSTICK SRFTI, Kolkata, 2014.
6TH JAIPUR INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (JIFF), Jaipur, 2014.
NATIONAL STUDENTS FILM AWARDS, Pune, 2013.
44th INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL OF INDIA, Goa, 2013.
National competition short fiction category, INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY AND SHORT FILM FESTIVAL OF KERELA (IDSFFK), 2013.
11th KALPANIRJHAR SHORT FILM FESTIVAL, Kolkata, 2013.
5th FIRST FRAME INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS FILM FESTIVAL 2013, New Delhi.