According to gaffer Helmut Prein, much of Wes Anderson’s new film The Grand Budapest Hotel takes place inside the film’s fictional Art Nouveau hotel, which was actually a converted department store in Görlitz, Germany.
Accordingly, “Our challenge was to light this large interior space in a way that allowed the camera to move as freely as possible. For the ceiling, we tested an arrangement of four lamps, which we set up in one corner of the roof. The result was great. We were able to light the entire surface of one 20×20 Ultrabounce reflector evenly. [Then] all we had to do was extrapolate the total number of lamps we would need to light all the 20x20s and add a few extra for backup. We ended up using 40 lamps, a combination of ARRISUNs and ARRI Compacts covered with 1/2 CTO. The aperture drop-off from T4.5 on the top floor to T2.8 on the bottom floor, along with the quality of light, felt very natural.”