Monster Ring-Light & Interetron
What? That’s tech-speak for a look we created for a series of interviews for HBO’S 2010 DOCUMENTARY FILM SUMMER SERIES. The “Monster Ring-Light” is a huge (appx 12ft) circular light that produces, among other things, interesting circular highlights in the pupils of the subjects placed in front of it (providing they have eyes). The camera shoots through the hole in the middle of the ring. See the piece above (the first of several planned) as an example of its use on humans, specifically human documentary film directors. The “Interetron” refers to an interview technique, often attributed to human documentary film director Erroll Morris, whereby the subject sees an image of the interviewer on a semi-transparent screen and the camera lens is placed directly behind this screen. This produces the illusion of the interview subject speaking directly to the camera as if it were another human being. The effect is quite intimate even though in real life the interviewer is sitting across the room speaking to another monitor. Combined with the haloed eyes, the overall effect does somehow seem to evoke the intensity and sense of heightened reality that so many of these documentaries posses. We were, if you hadn’t figured it out before, shooting promotional material for them - not the documentaries themselves.
Above, Jennifer Arnold, director of the moving doc A SMALL ACT posing in front of the before mentioned Monster Ring-Light. Her film, about an eccentric Norwegian woman who changes the life of a kid in Kenya by sponsoring his education, plunges us deep into the lives of a handful of contemporary Kenyan kids, exploring the connections between education, poverty, opportunity and violence along the way. A small philanthropic movement has sprouted up around the film, and it hasn’t even aired!
Above, Jeffrey Blitz, director of SPELLBOUND, ROCKET SCIENCE and the amazing LUCKY which will also premiere this summer on HBO. Even though we couldn’t use the Monster Ring-Light on him (because of his glasses), and he therefore does not help illustrate the important technology discussed in this posting, we include him here partially because the name of his film invokes the name of this website. LUCKY, which tracks lottery winners and players over long periods of time, is a profound meditation on the links between luck, faith, identity, and America.