David Klein, ASC, explains the lighting style of Homeland

Creative Cow has a detailed Q&A with David Klein, ASC, about the lighting design, style and techniques behind Homeland:

Low budget indie features have time restraints in common with most TV series, so they’re a good training ground for the amount of pages per day you end up shooting in television. But normally, you have more time in features and that’s the most striking difference between the two. Luckily, on True Blood and Homeland, creatively, I’m left to my own devices. So I might not have the time, but I have flexibility and creative access. If somebody upstairs is unhappy with what I’m doing, they’ll let me know – and I’ve been known to get into trouble now and again for being too dark. But, for the most part, creative lighting decisions are mine in the TV I’ve been doing.

Once a shot starts to feel “lit”, I’ll change it. But to my eye, there’s Dogme95 lighting and then there’s intentional lighting that looks realistic, which are two very different things. I use a lot of big sources, extremely soft sources to start with and then I add to or subtract from that to shape the light according to specific scenes. That’s a very broad generalization and not an approach I use on every scene, but I sometimes start with that.

To this I add some contrast and try to take a bit of color out of the frame. On Homeland I tend to make my version of natural and raw lighting look like real life but with more contrast and less color.

In terms of inspiration, I always go back to the well that is Conrad Hall, ASC. He had a tendency to light scenes so precisely and thoroughly (and sometimes with a very large number of sources), but most of the time the outcome was a natural and realistic look. In my opinion, he was the greatest American cinematographer and so will always be a resource.

David goes on to explain the cameras, lighting packages and workflows that works best for him. Read the entire article here.