I am a student writing a research essay about the correlation between method acting and the trend towards soft lighting in American cinema. My take on the topic is going to analyze how the popularity of method acting increased cinematographers' use of soft lighting as a means of lighting a space for the actors to improvise. I am going to qualify the method actor argument with other factors (i.e. technological "advancements" away from sunlight or carbon arcs towards helium balloons or kino flos, and greater dynamic range/faster film emulsions) which may have also affected the trend towards soft lighting. My research so far (including on this site) has turned out very little; if you can give me any advice, suggestions, directions, or opinions, I would be very appreciative. I am planning to support my analyses of A Streetcar Named Desire
, The Godfather Part II
, Raging Bull
, and There Will Be Blood
by outside evidence. Thank you in advance.
"Soft light has been a trend for the last fifteen years. Largely because of what happened in acting techniques through method acting, namely that actors don't hit the marks like they used to. They want more dynamic range. Hard lighting is very specific, and if you want it to look good, you have to hit that mark all the time. The new style of acting makes it impossible to do. We went into bigger soft sources so people can move around"