FujiFilm's 'Exposure USA" magazine (available as a PDF download at the link above) goes behind the scenes of 'Punisher: War Zone' with Cinematographer Steve Gainer.
Gainer said his primary marching order from director Lexi Alexander was to make the film look as much like the comics that inspired it as possible.
"Our aim wasn't to make it look kind of like the comic book," Gainer explains. "It was to make it look like the comic book! That means the color of the light, the wardrobe, the cars, the walls—everything is in the color scheme of the Punisher comic books. Andrew Nitzcoromny is a wonderful production designer and he did a great job within a budget that was a lot bigger than anything I’d worked on but was still limited for the scale of the film."
When looking to the comics for inspiration, Gainer realized the rules of lighting a comic book differ from the stock rules for lighting a movie.
"The location inside the Punisher's den," he says, "is bathed in this beautiful, deep blue. Lighting in the film isn't so much 'motivated' in the sense of, 'Here's a lamp so that's where the light's coming from.' The comic book really doesn’t look like that and so we felt free to use gels because they're cool and they're inspired by the comic."
Another quirk about comics lighting is that even night scenes appear well-lit.
"It can be night but you can see everything," Gainer said. "There is generally no atmospheric perspective. Nothing falls off. My choice was to put metric tons of light into the area and that allowed me to have enormous depth of vision. On lower budget movies you go into a neighborhood at night and maybe one city block is lit and then everything drops off. In this movie, every time you see down the street, it's lit for six blocks or more."
The article goes into the technical details of Gainer's work (which included using FujiFilm stock of course). It's an informative piece if you're interested in film and photography. Download the PDF for the complete article.