interview with M. Mescalchin

Matteo is an Italian photographer/videographer who specializes in high end products. He owns a few Jokers and is always eager to share his experience on how he uses them.

Making of ’The Leoni weekend bag’
Client&ArtDirection : DellaLuna - Venezia
Production : Digitalmovie.it
photography : Matteo Mescalchin

This is a commercial for a high-end bag manufacturer. How much time did you have on this project ??
We all know time is money so production time is really crucial these days, especially when multiple skilled professionals get together on the filming set, in order to work at unison for the best possible outcome. This project has been shot in 4 hours including set up, actual rolling, and wrapping up.
Not being new to confined spaces, I set up my lighting using a simple diagram based on only 2 active sources (k5600 HMIs), one black cutter and a white fill card.
One of the features I most appreciate about the Joker fixtures, is their ability to work in any angle including of course pionting straight downward. In this case, in addition to the use of Lighttools Black Egg Crates, a top-down key light contributed to achieve the desired level of foreground to background separation.
In facts I easily lived up to my client expectation of having pitch black background as a distinctive style element.

What camera did you use ?
I shot this project on 5K REDcamera. I work fine with RED DMSCs and I believe camera gear is a great player on set. That said, I am personally more focused on working in front of the lens more than behind it. In my vision, lighting is one of the most powerful areas of crafting good images and camera gear is the tool I use to capture the magic and delivery my work. Of course a great camera must be there in order to properly capture and reproduce the lighting work but I wouldn’t say that is all about the camera. I think all production assets must be well balanced and carefully considered as they all contribute to set the overall quality level.

Was the space in the company a limitation ??
Beside obvious time restrictions, working in confined spaces is also challenging. Production sites like factories and labs are usually tailored on their own needs, especially when handcrafting work is authentic like in this case.
Two Joker 800 were the perfect fit for the mission. They served into two small Chimera Video Pro creating a really efficient and compact set up.
I like key lighting with a top-down source and got pretty used to fine tune it for the best image look. Being the J800 pretty compact and lightweight, I was able to hang it up on a boom arm and move it around according to the action. Then all I need to do in order to adjust the back light for the different camera angles, was a simple stand post rotation.

You used only two lights, why HMI and not LED ?
From the initial briefing I knew that the image look had to be polished and essential with accurate color fidelity. Although the most recent LED sources out there are reaching incredibly good ColorRenderIndex, when color fidelity must be accurate, I still go for high quality HMI. Beside color anyway, the generous output level of HMIs is also useful for making my lighting more controllable. Higher output levels make softlight more directional, greatly working together with Egg Crates in shaping a beautiful falloff.
Even though at this time the footage is currently in the edit room, I like the final image look and I’m happy for having the art director’s quest greatly fulfilled.

Fine luxury, how do you treat it ?
I like working with luxury goods also because the expectations are high enough to deserve a distinctive image look and this is a good way to challenge myself. It keeps me engaged in refining my skills and getting better overtime.
Interestingly enough, down the line I realized how cheap goods actually call for strong and ’screaming’ looks, meanwhile high-end products really deserve a different and more elevated work in crafting images. The real goal is being able to transfer emotions, elegance, prestige and exclusivity through careful photography work. This really motivates me in going deeper into the endless quest of modeling beauty to the next level not disregarding classic aesthetics and visual trends.

Leather bag why not using warmer colors ?
My experience in photographing luxury goods has taught me the worth of authenticity and whispered beauty.
I believe that luxury feeling finds much more harmonies with simplicity and subtle variations in lights and shadows rather than too heavy coloured and screaming looks.
In the end good lighting creates the magic, a good sensor is meant to capture it. HMIs from K5600 are still the best source I can get when looking for pure white quality light as starting point.

Matteo Mescalchin