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Horror film lighting


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#1 Ashley Walker

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 03:50 PM

Heya

OK, so i'm in my final year of uni and doing DOP and camera for a short film. It is a horror film with two locations. A bleak apartment and a basement that houses a chair with a man being tortured.

I'm not the best with lighting, loving filming but am a bit rubbish with lighting, it elludes me.

The apartment is bleak, only a couch and tv in the room. TV lighting the protags face. The torture room is spotlit with dark shadows in the corner. We're shooting HD so i really need to make this look good.

I have a general understanding of key and backlight but i'm still a bit over my head. School allows us a few 200's, 600's and 800 watt lights and dido lights.Are there any lens i may need? I admit i feel a bit over my head here. Any help with suggestions with light or even books on light torture and interrogation scenes? Thanks
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#2 Alex Zustra

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Posted 31 October 2009 - 12:43 AM

What you described sounds like the perfect opportunity to be creative. Your options are endless, almost to the point where you don't have to justify light sources. Personally, I would utilize color and contrast heavily, but you obviously know more about the project. Green and yellow often work well to create a twisted, sick feeling in horror. For contrast, keep the lights hard and few. As for the location, if you don't want it bland, work on some set design/art direction or if that isn't an option for whatever reason, use some cookies/snoots whatever to break up the dull background.
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#3 Steve McBride

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Posted 31 October 2009 - 01:53 PM

Use lots of hard light. For the basement, I would have a hard light going through one of those basement window vent things casting some light on a back wall and then light the inside with uncorrected fluorescents so that you get a bit of green to add to the horror look. If anything you might want to add a bit of plus green on the fluorescents to amplify the effect. You could also have a work light suspended above the chair to give some really deep shadows under the person who is being tortured's eyes.

Check out Jayson Crother's post for his film "The Brazen Bull" and you'll get a lot of good ideas (lots of visual aids with it), there's some really great inspiration in there. http://www.cinematog...showtopic=39945
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 31 October 2009 - 07:03 PM

I would grab lots of stills from DVD's of horror movie lighting that you particularly like, study them, and then practice recreating them.
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#5 RobertRaey

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Posted 27 December 2009 - 09:11 PM

I did a film noir project not too long ago and I created some great moody techniques with my Shadowfoils kit. Those deep shadows created great background patterns that really added to the moodiness. You should be able to use that same cucoloris pattern to enhance a horror scene. Check out shadowfoils.com
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