Film Formally

S2E08 - Lighting Motivation feat. Paige Smith

November 17, 2020

How do we light our movies? The answer for many starts with the idea of motivation. What, within the world of our film, justifies the light illuminating our stories? In this episode we once again sit down with Paige Smith to discuss the ins and outs of lighting ideology. Most films circa the 21st century are lit in a way that prizes ‘naturalism’; we delve into the reasoning behind this as well as other ideologies, including the theatrical lighting methods that dominated early and mid 20th century cinema.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Lighting ideologies and how they can influence our creative process.

  • The dangers of using the words “Key”, “Fill”, and “Backlight.”

  • The evolution of lighting linguistics, from the birth of cinema through the era of classical hollywood realism to modern-day realism.

  • Gendered lighting techniques and other broken methodologies.

  • Gregg Toland’s groundbreaking candlelight in The Grapes of Wrath.

  • Janusz Kaminski’s use of ‘documentary’ lighting in Schindler’s List.

  • Ellen Kuras’ use of broken lighting motivation in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

  • James Wong Howe and Roger Deakins’ lighting seminars.

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