Getting the look of the TVA just right required Isaac Bauman to turn to tungsten, a type of lighting that productions used back in the day. Unlike the LEDs used in the first season of “Loki,” tungsten utilizes a chemical process that causes a filament to get hot and glow.
“When you use tungsten light, you get a very broad, full spectrum […] the net effect overall is just undeniable,” Bauman explained. “It looks fuller and richer, and the colors that it touches look richer and more saturated and vibrant, and everything just feels more organic and tactile. So that, I think, really clicked with the production design, which hearkens back to that, again, late ’60s, early ’70s kind of a thing. There’s Soviet stuff and there’s brutalist stuff, and then there’s more whimsical mid-century modern stuff all kind of blended together.”
In addition to turning to tungsten, Bauman also focused on lighting spaces rather than lighting individual shots. “I wanted to move entirely away from having any lights on the set,” he said, adding that he and production designer Kasra Farahani made sure “that each set had enough light sources built into it that I felt it would key the characters appropriately.”
Shooting everything overhead did have the undesired side effect of giving the actors “dark eyes,” which Bauman remedied with a battery-powered “little LED ball of light” that followed the characters around a given scene. This hack did the trick, with Bauman wirelessly massaging the level of LED eyelight. “As long as we had that little ping [of eyelight] in there, we could get away with murder in terms of how much from above the light was coming from,” Bauman said.
You can gaze into the characters’ well-lit eyes on Disney+, as the entire second season is now available for streaming.