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Lighting can be hard, soft, or any gradation in between.
Hard lighting creates
strong shadows, while soft lighting is shadowless. The
type of lighting depends
on the type of story to be told. Lighting can be
manipulated to achieve a desired dramatic effect
..Depending on its context,
lighting can signify truth and wisdom
Dark or harshly lit pictures can
trigger feelings of fear, tension and a sense of impending evil in the
"Lighting creates atmosphere. A
mixture of dark shadows and pools of light may
create a sense of unease, as in a thriller; if the lighting makes everything
the atmosphere may seem more relaxed. The filmmaker can use lighting to
our attention to, or hide, a person or object." 2
"Soft lighting and a low level of color contrast
(many gray tones) help give many
of the shots in To Kill A Mockingbird (1963) a soft, romantic, nostalgic
Chapter 10 "A Look At Boo" Running time ( 23:44)
Consider this scene
in regards to lighting. Have students consider the following:
what time of day is portrayed in the scene?
- where (from what direction) does the lighting emanate?
- what might be generating this kind of light?
(i.e. moonlight; streetlight)
notice how half of Jem's face is in the light, the other half in the dark
notice the shadows on the wall created by the column on the porch and by
the rocking chair on which Scout is perched
notice the other shadows, for example, running along the length of the house
wall, perhaps generated by trees in the distance
what ways does the "dark
or harshly lit pictures (in this scene)
.trigger feelings of fear, tension and a sense of impending evil " ?
(full chapter from the text: Cinematography: Theory Into Practice)
Language: Use of Lighting
With Light by John Alton
of Light: The Art of Cinematography
For a list of recommended
books about using motion pictures in the classroom, go here.
for all source material cited here