"Halo: Nightfall" was prepped & shot in Studios & Locations in Belfast and on Location is Iceland over a period of 10 weeks from May 2014. Directed by Sergio Mimica Gezzan & produced by Microsoft & Scott Free, it was an ambitious project designed to introduce a new lead character of the Halo Game franchise. The premise: a unit combined of two groups of special forces journey to a fragment of the Halo Ring in order to track down a chemical element recently used in an attack on a planet.
The majority of "Halo: Nightfall" is set on a fragment of the Halo Ring. It is a hostile place with arrid landscapes and alien lifeforms. It can only support human life at night, when the sun is heating the opposite side of the shard. Once the sun rises the heat burns away all known life from the surface.
Though a small segment of this exterior had to be filmed in Belfast, the majority of the exterior was shot in Iceland. We wanted to see the landscape around us and so shooting at night would have been unthinkable. My plan was to shoot Day for Night. This would give us an interesting visual style on which to hang the overall atmosphere of this hostile location.
Day for Night shooting requires a huge amount of under exposure, negative fill from above (to reduce the natural top ambient light) suplemented by huge light sources coming in at ground level to cheat the light direction. In addition one group of special forces were dressed in suits which contained inbuilt LED lights. These lights needed to be the brightest we could get for the Day for Night effect to work, and dimmable so the exposure could be adjusted quickly. I put together a "practical lighting department" led by Scott Rogers to look into various ways of achieving this and researched "state of the art" LED technology in order to achieve what is on screen.