A couple of months ago I was on a plane watching "No Country For Old Men" for the first time. The audio was terrible through those headphones and the highly compressed, 4:3 image in front of me was pretty hard to watch...but, I was glued the whole time. I recently hired it and watched it again at home and enjoyed it even more. It's easily in my top 5 favorite films. Roger Deakins, the Coen Brothers and their amazing cast and crew have created a masterpiece! Whenever I watch films these days, it's actually difficult for me to switch off my analytical mind and just enjoy the story....cinema's help, but I'm always wondering..."how the heck did they light that?". The beauty of watching a DVD or Bluray is that often they come bundled with behind the scenes footage, which can sometimes give you a glimpse into the magic that goes into lighting a Hollywood feature film. "No Country for Old Men" has some great special features but sadly, there is ZERO content regarding Mr. Deakins and his work. There are however, some 2 second shots that reveal enough...if you look carefully and are quick with the pause button hehe :)
One thing I noticed, or at least think I have, is that many of the shots were lit with one MASSIVE soft light source (amongst other lights). I managed to pause the making of one shot (the hand-cuff strangle 00:45), and I saw what appeared to be a high intensity tungsten light behind thrown into a corner, which was then diffused by a huge bed sheet. The setup looked DIY but the results looked amazing...this got me thinking. The next day I drove to my local hardware store and purchased 2 x double 500w "workers lights". That equates to 1000Watts of light for $50. Pretty good deal! Next up I drove to the super-market and got 30meters of silver foil for $5. I then drove to a HiFi shop, parked out the back and went through their trash looking for a large flat box from an LCD TV....got one :)
Behold....THE MOTHER REFLECTOR!!