Rockin' in the Free World
The comedy series We Are Lady Parts follows the eponymous all-Muslim women punk band as they juggle their lives and passions whilst chasing their musical ambitions in London. Behind the scenes, showrunner and director Nida Manzoor teamed with cinematographer Diana Olifirova for all six episodes of the first season.
Olifirova and gaffer Carolina Shmidtholstein collaborated with Panalux for lighting parcel. "Carolina's core lighting lineup for studio included a mix of everything - remotely controlled Geminis, LiteMats, Velvets, Asteras, as well as Molebeam, nine-light Maxi Brutes and big tungsten heads," the cinematographer shares. "We also were amongst the first ones to try the Panalux Sonara 4:4, which is an extremely powerful LED. We used it in Episode 1 for the scene where Amina [Anjana Vasan] has a 'sand dunes' fantasy moment."
Throughout the series, the band practice in the flat of lead singer-guitarist Saira [Sarah Kameela Impey]. "For each song performed in the Saira's Bedsit, the team tried to make the light be dynamic, in sync with the song and mood of the moment, programmed live to camera and the beat of the music," Olifirova explains. "We had an idea to ask design for ceiling pieces with translucent panels where we were able to shine moving lights through in various angles and colours.
"I am a big fan of 'Elvis' [checkerboard-pattern] bounce with the mix of silver and gold, so we would experiment with it within every setting to make the image more vivid," the cinematographer continues. "We used a lot of hard light and a little diffusion."
Additionally, Olifirova was always on the lookout for ways to support the narrative through the use of colour in the lighting. "I love using colour, so the gel list was extensive," she notes. "It all depends on the moment, when actors are in their costumes and what colour would benefit them at that particular point. I am never scared of creating my own bespoke, complex colour solutions for a scene, and this is one of the things I enjoy the most in cinematography - the freeness to experiment, be curious and discover new ways of telling the story and transferring the emotion onto the viewer."