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CS4 Blog 3 – Lighting for Genres

Imagine watching a horror film with bright lights, bright colours and zero spooky shadows. When you’re done, imagine watching a comedy that isn’t well lit, shadows jumping out of nowhere and acting all kinds of crazy, torches and flashlights and side lamps that only light the side of the character’s faces. Seriously, what a confusing thing to encounter. Our brains would be playing hopscotch trying to figure out what exactly going on and our emotions would just shut down from the rollercoaster ride it was on.

This is why lighting for a specific genre is so important. I give cinematographers major props for getting simple things that might be overlooked by the common man right every time. Bad lighting doesn’t just make people not want to watch a video and irritates the hell out of them; it also completely manipulates the mood of the viewer and therefore manipulates the mood of the story. Bad lighting can skew the story you are trying to tell, while good and appropriate lighting will add to the story and mood you are trying to create.

So before you start shooting, figure out your genre and figure out the best way to light your set for your genre. Think about whether the story will need extra lighting, natural lighting, harsh lighting versus soft lighting and so on. Take heed and make very careful considerations.

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