If you are watching a movie and feeling completely immersed in a scene or moment, there are a lot of different departments working on the elements that came together to create that final product. However, one of the most important aspects that you probably didn’t notice, but which certainly had an effect on you, was the lighting. Film lighting is a craft that is equal parts artistic expression, technical prowess, and subtle psychology.
Many times, even though it is illuminating everything in the frame, film lighting’s purpose is to not be noticed. And if it ever does want to be noticed, it must be done in such a way to highlight a moment of extreme purpose. However, the lighting that we see in movies today is much different than it used to be, despite retaining many of the same principles. Truthfully, you could fill a dozen college courses with the different movements and techniques of lighting for motion pictures, but in the spirit of a sample-sized reading, here is a brief history of film lighting… More