Outside The Windows Of Homeland

Cinematographer David Klein first learned about Rosco SoftDrop® from Production Designer John Kretschmer when they worked together on Season 5 of SHOWTIME’s hit show Homeland in Berlin. Anticipating the switch to a New York setting for season six, we arranged for David and John to use a 10’x20′ Manhattan SoftDrop so they could test LED vs tungsten fixtures in order to achieve the right effect for day and night lighting.

“It’s always a challenge lighting a new drop, but uniting the old school with new school tools and finding our capacity for this is what made it exciting,” said David. He found that front lighting the SoftDrop with Quasar Science tubes was just as bright as tungsten, but allowed him additional color-correction control for his day scenes. For backlighting the drops, David created optimal lighting by bouncing Sky Pans off the gray stage walls and by aiming ETC Source Fours at specific windows.

The final lighting equation was a mix of tungsten and LED lights. This included the sunlight David created to enter the set. David and his set lighting team used the Quasar Science LED Tubes inside soft boxes to generate soft daylight coming in through the windows, and Mole Richardson Big Eye Teners when direct sunlight was needed. David notes how the soft boxes were mounted above the SoftDrop for top-down lighting, while the Big Eye Teners were hung at a more direct angle to streak through the windows.

In the end, Homeland had five SoftDrops to work with on their sixth season, which allowed John Kretschmer's art department to create settings in a variety of New York locations – all of which were actually shot on their soundstage in Brooklyn. One of the more pivotal sets included a 22’x163’ Day/Night SoftDrop of central Manhattan.

Final art file used to make the 163'W x 22'H (49.7m x 6.7m) Day/Night SoftDrop of central Manhattan.
(Note: This backdrop is available for rent. Click the image for more details.)

Thanks to David Klein, ASC for sharing his SoftDrop lighting tips on the ASC Instagram account while filming the upcoming season. David is back posting on his own Instagram account now – be sure to follow him there: @davidkleinasc. You can learn more about the sheen-free, fabric SoftDrop technology David and his fellow filmmakers used on Homeland by visiting our Custom Backdrop web page. Be sure to watch season 6 of Homeland on SHOWTIME to see how well the SoftDrops perform at creating Manhattan outside the windows of the set.


Sara Leeper January 12, 2017 Questions?

About Sara Leeper

Sara Leeper is founder & owner of Walk the Moon Media, where she serves as storytelling consultant, writer, producer and video strategist. Sara transitioned into video production after more than a decade in Public Relations working both in-house and on the agency side with a focus on content development. Her career portfolio includes strategizing for companies including Red Bull, Disney Store and Nestle Crunch. Most recently, she was a communications manager at General Motors and oversaw media relations, social media and events for the western US.