THE SHAPE OF WATER
The Shape of Water has been one of my favorite shows to work on thus far. Guillermo del Toro's latest film endeavor is a fantastical love story set in the cold war. I was on a team of about 6 lighters with the task of bringing the main fantasy creature to life. The great Doug Jones once again dawned an amazing suit to play an underwater character. Out job was to augment his performance by doing CG facial work so emotions could be conveyed more easily. I have never lit so many eyelids in my life! Every shot was focused on bringing believable life to the eyes and performance to the face.
One unique challenge was the water tank (my shot of it starts at 1:49) which required caustics inside the tank and to be projected in the front cylinder as well as onto the glass portholes along the sides. I was given the honor of creating the light HDA for the tank projecting caustics down from the top to mimic the practical lighting in the tank on set, as well as artistically projecting them through the windows (even though physics says it wouldn't work, but this is a fantasy movie and it adds to the mood). Also, since I was early onto the project, I was able to explore the lookdev on Charley's eyelid membranes and add a slight oil slick to it Del Toro fell in love with. It was then rolled into the official lookdev.
I was given the position of "Deputy Lead Lighter" on this project. Because we had so much to work through and problems to solve, the lead lighter Ben King would be digging through Houdini to come up with solutions to our technical challenges while I would do desklies with the rest of the team suggesting lighting positions, tweaking light comps, giving notes in dailies, and helping keep an eye on continuity for Charley's eyes and face across the board. With this system in place we were able to temp many of our shots straight out of light.
My shots in this trailer: 1:49 Charley in the tank, 1:56-59 where he pokes his head out of the water and stands