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Recreating Civil War Era Lighting for ‘Mercy Street’

PBS’ Mercy Street is a new dramatic series set at a Civil War-era field hospital. To light it, the creators relied on period-appropriate set-ups.

“Everything was source-specific, either coming from the outside, or from candles inside,” director Roxann Dawson tells ICG Magazine.

“Of course, there’s nothing better than natural light coming through the windows,” adds cinematographer Feliks Parnell. “As the sun would set – and the color temperature, as well as its intensity changed – I would just increase the amount of light I was using to supplement it, and then just push the camera a little bit more. You can open the stop and change the ASA, which gives you more sensitivity.”