Light is what we see. It affects our moods and our memories. It’s the crack of orange that appears along the horizon as on that early morning flight, it’s the intense blue of the Great Barrier Reef that envelopes me descending on that rope and as I let go of fear and discover wonder.
It wasn’t until I started to go back to Tasmania, my place of birth; that I noticed how beautiful the light is. Now I can appreciate why Effects of Light, the 1985 anthology by Vivian Smith and Margaret Scott, was so aptly named. Many poets and artists have been seduced by it. For me the colour palette of Tasmania is different to the colours I notice most in Melbourne and that changes the light. There is more blue. The Derwent River sparkles, Mount Wellington towers navy and there is a big blue sky, until the clouds move in from the west. One day I will make a film there but this story is about Melbourne.
Melbourne has its own beauty, an urban beauty. The view of the city as you drive across the Bolte Bridge and then home to the east in the early evening is stunning. Melbourne has tall buildings and neon and mirrors against the skyline but is also has the grace of older structures. In the city Melbourne is people and life and energy.
In St Kilda the greens of gardens and shady trees attracts birds and possums. The parks and greenery are a sanctuary for all and provide some respite from the buzz of activity happening just around the corner. The CBD and St Kilda are the two locations for ‘My Husband.’
The lighting for the CBD was the least controlled as we had a skeleton crew and it was a sunny day. Working with available shade helped to overcome this.
The main concern with scenes shot outside in ‘My Husband’ was over exposure. For the outdoor scenes in St Kilda the light was controlled by using devices such as reflectors.
Stewart the gaffer was very experienced and knowledgeable. We had a meeting prior to the shoot to deign the lighting plan. I was worried about lighting the kitchen as the daylight varied and some very bright light shone across the ceiling in the late afternoon.
I didn’t realize until the apartment was lit for filming how yellow the everyday lights were. The end result achieved the desired effects. I’ve never seen the kitchen looking so good.
Stewart suggested a shot from outside looking in. This led to a script revision and the addition of a character Jo, the builder. As well as providing comic relief Jo, played by Richard la Velle, gives the audience a voyeuristic glimpse of the action.
Matt the lighting assistance did a great job as well, both in helping to set up the internal lights and in helping to control the external light. The lighting crew also created a big shadow in the stairwell but you’ll have to come and see the film if you want to know more about that.