Cinematography lesson 4 - lighting


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Clips for Alien & Gladiator can be found on our SSSFCFilm YouTube channel.

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Cinematography lesson 4 - lighting

  1. 1. Learning ObjectivesIntroduce: Lighting and the ‘Three PointLighting’ System Analyse the lighting used in Gladiator & Alien Complete an in-depth analysis of Alien and write a short essay style evaluating the use of lighting in the extract
  2. 2. The GodfatherWatch the following extract and makenotes on the lighting that has been used How does the lighting create atmosphere?What do we learn about the character of Don Corelone?How does the lighting visualise the two The Godfatherdifferent ‘family’ lives of The Corleones? Dir: F.F. Copolla (Gangster family / domestic family?) (1972)
  3. 3. The GodfatherIn the opening sequences the interiorshots of the Mafia doing ‘business’ in theoffice are very dark. This (along withThis ‘office’ sequence contrasts effect ofother cinematic codes) has the sharplywhen it cutsaudience wary andmaking the to the wedding sequence,which is joyous scene was deliberatelyexpectant. The and presents therespectable, legitimate side ofheavyshot in a way that would cast theCorleone and theThis sequence is brightlyshadows family. film stock was slightlylit with sunshine and makes effect.underexposed to add to the the audiencefeel like they are safe outside in thebright, natural light after the oppressiveAt times it is difficult to distinguish thingsshadows ofshadows butThe two sides ofamong the the interior. this was thethe familydirector wanted. Why? Soareeffect the and their duplicitous live thattherefore perfectly established throughofthe lighting complemented the themeslighting. concealment, dark intent,the film;threatening shadowy Mafia-men and themysterious underworld.
  4. 4. LightingLighting is fundamental to filmmaking and hasbeen a vital aspect of cinematography since theinvention of the cameraLighting can emphasise different moods andfeelings Horror FilmBy simply changing the lighting style afilmmaker can transform a romantic comedy into a horror film in secondsLighting has become an important signifier and Medialcan be used to create different meanings & Dramagenerate different responses from theaudience
  5. 5. Key Term: HighHigh Key Lighting is a form of bright lighting Key Lightingthat is used in normal, every day scenariosHigh Key Lighting is usually very bright and freefrom shadowsIt is generally used to create a light and openenvironment In what types of film would High Key Lighting be used?Action Movies Feel Good MoviesRom-ComsComediesChildrens Films
  6. 6. Key Term: LowLow Key Lighting is a form of DIM lighting used Key Lightingto create a subdued or fearful atmosphereIt is also used to create suspense and tensionThis is achieved by one light source casting lotsof shadows across the scene, blockinginformation from the audience In what types of film would Low Key Lighting be used?HorrorThrillerSuspense
  7. 7. LightingThese two definitions (High & Low Key) are obviouslyvery basic and there is a wide spectrum between thetwo.Rarely is there just one light illuminating ashot, instead several lights are used to create differenteffects The focus of the lighting department is always the ‘Star’. Some ‘stars’ even have special relationships with their cinematographers so they are lit just the way they want to be. This stems from the Golden Age of Hollywood when lighting achieved glamorous results on actors long before the invention of digital enhancement
  8. 8. GladiatorLighting is as much a part of the cinematic language ascamera angles and is essential in creating mood andatmosphere What type of lighting style has been used? How does the lighting contribute to the atmosphere of the scene? Gladiator Dir: Ridley Scott How does the lighting contribute to our (2000) understanding of Commodus? Make notes and compare them with a partner
  9. 9. Three Point LightingThe most common method lighting an actor is called Systemthe Three Point Lighting System Key light The biggest and brightest light shinning from the front, bleaching out any hollows or contours on the face but creating shadow behind the person
  10. 10. Three Point Lighting SystemBack LightThis creates a ‘halo’ effect andremoves any defects orcontrast with the backgroundand foreground.
  11. 11. Three Point LightingFill Light SystemUsed to fill any shadowscreated by the Key and Filllights. For example, shadowscast across the eyes or nose
  12. 12. Overhead LightingA Single light from above will cast harshshadows and create a sinister, unflatteringlook. The effect will highlight contours onthe face make characters faces lookharder, more masculine and colder What types of characters would be lit by an overhead light? For what reasons would a filmmaker use this form of lighting?
  13. 13. Under LightingThe opposite of an overhead light – buthaving similar effectUnder lights hollow out and obscure theeyes and emphasise lines on the face. Thisform of lighting is usually reserved for malecharactersPeople replicate this lighting by holding atorch under their face!What types of characters would be lit by an under light?For what reasons would a filmmaker use this form of lighting?
  14. 14. Side LightingThis light casts a shadow across the actorsface – an effect that might be used in athriller – for a duplicitous character
  15. 15. AlienWatch this scene from Alien and analyse the use of lightingMake notes on: What types of lighting have been used? The lighting is very effective in creating a tense and suspenseful atmosphere – how does the lighting do this? What does the lighting add to the scene? Alien Dir: Ridley Scott Provide specific examples from the extract
  16. 16. SummaryLighting is a vital element of filmmakingLight is used to create mood andatmosphere and infer information aboutcharactersThe way a character is lit will determinehow we respond to them and can be visualsignifiers of a characters intentions /motives / feelingsHigh Key Light is used to create a brightatmosphere free of shadowsLow Key Lighting is used to create a dark,sinister atmosphere full of shadows
  17. 17. AS Film – Cinematography HomeworkPick ONE scene from a film and complete an in-depth analysis of thecinematography and lighting All of the information youYou must: require to complete this task can be found in yourWrite a detailed analysis of how the shot types, Cinematography and Lightingcamera angles and camera movements inform bookletthe audience and creating meaning All lessons and resources can be found on our blog:You must Include:• Correctly labelled shot types and cameramovements Click on the ‘FM1 – Exploring• The form of lighting in use film form link for resources / lessons Word count: 500 words at least Due date: Friday 21st September Clips: Search ‘SSSFCFILM’ on YouTube for our YouTube channel