Krrish 3 was way different from Ra.One: Prakash Shetty
“Kaal’s laboratory was our first set up and we all were very excited as it was looking like a Hollywood Sci-Fi film. Besides that it was my long awaited wish to light up such a grand set, so I was extremely happy,” expresses Prakash Shetty, the man behind lighting up all the big-budget movie sets, be it Shahrukh Khan‘s dream project Ra.One or recently released Hrithik Roshan’s Krrish 3. In an insightful conversation with Pandolin, this veteran gaffer explains the aspects, which went into the making of such a tremendous VFX film, Krrish 3.
How is Krrish 3 different from its prequel in terms of special effects and visual creativity?
It is actually very different because the prequel got released in 2006 and it’s almost 7 years now. Since then, the technology has improved a lot as well as the audience expectations have increased. Hollywood movies especially Sci-Fi films work on a very high budget. Common people in India might not know that hence they expect us to bring in the same quality. So, it becomes very challenging to provide the same content in a limited budget. However, in India we have loads of talented people who know how to deliver outstanding results with the given resources. And that’s what we tried to achieve in Krrish 3.
Brief us about the color tone and lighting strategy decided for the interior scenes of the film?
For the lab sequences we chose to keep the tone on the cooler side. We also added few LED colored lights to create interesting visuals. For few acrylic floor bottom-lit portions, we were required to put some 80 4 KW HMIs. Also, for a couple of action sequences, we used more than 150 Kino flos including 10 bank wall-o -lights and 4/4 Kinos for a softer look.
Also, can you elaborate a bit on the lighting design adopted for various exterior sequences?
While we were shooting the outdoor sequences at Hyderabad studios, we had a tough time lighting up Hrithik’s face because the weather was so hot and the sun was so bright that the contrast ratio was almost 4 stops. So, in order to cope with this situation, we used a lot of ARRI max 18kw lights, especially during Hrithik’s flying sequences. For every different angle we had to move these lights, which was time consuming since every light had three diffusion frames on each one of them at 30 feet height.
As cherry pickers (condors) were not available in Hyderabad, we decided to use an industrial crane and fabricated a 5’x4′ metal bucket to fit in it so that we could put the light there and easily move around wherever we needed. It was a bit risky, but we managed to work it out well.
How was your collaboration with the VFX team?
In Krrish 3, every second shot needed VFX treatment. I worked very closely with VFX directors, Harry Hingorani & Keitan Yadav. They are absolutely brilliant. We have collaborated earlier too on films like Paheli, My Name Is Khan & Ra.One. These guys form a truly talented team and are extremely sorted in their ideas. Every shot was planned way in advance. Hence, it wasn’t very difficult for us to execute their vision.
What were the kind of challenges faced by you while shooting and how did your team cope with it?
Kaal’s laboratory was our first set up and we all were very excited as it was looking like a Hollywood Sci-Fi film. Besides that it was my long awaited wish to light up such a grand set, so I was extremely happy. Cinematographer, Tirru wanted to shoot few high-speed shots in the lab, which became very challenging as we had to arrange 2000 Kino flow tubes with flicker free chokes.
Another challenging sequence was an action scene shot in a jungle and for that we had to create a moonlight source. Now since, it was a forest we couldn’t use helium balloon light as we were surrounded with tress, which were 50 feet tall and it was quite difficult to move with the balloon light. So, we created a 12 X 12 feet moon cube using 4.6KW Par lights and they were hung on a 150 feet industrial crane. Thankfully, it worked well for that particular scene.
Also, in Jordan, no heavy vehicle was allowed inside the desert area, so we couldn’t take generators or any lights and shot the whole song sequence without them.
Was your experience working on Krrish 3 different from Ra.One?
Working on Krrish 3 was way different from Ra.One because the latter was an extremely high budget movie where everything was well planned. We had enough time to create rigs and contraptions. However in Krrish 3, no one knew what was going to happen the next day. So everything was a surprise where suddenly somebody would come up with a new idea and we had to adhere to it, that too in a particular time window. In Ra.One, the action sequences were designed with computerized rigs with no manpower but in Krrish 3, more than 35 action guys worked together to execute the action scenes. Still, it is looking fabulous.
What are the major factors that must be kept in mind while one works on such an enormous VFX oriented film?
For VFX shots always use light-colored chroma cloth so that you don’t end up using lots of lights to light the chroma background. Also, the most important thing is to avoid reflections and if possible avoid shiny materials in the frame. Besides that a proper distance must be maintained between the subject & the chroma background in order to avoid bounce back of the chroma color on the actor’s hair, costume and skin. It is always better to use soft light sources to light up the chroma, for example, Space lights, Drum lights & Kino flos.