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Breakdown of Ridley Scott's 80's Films' Lighting


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#1 Francisco Martins

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 05:35 PM

In particular:

Alien (1979)
Blade Runner (1982)
Legend (1985)
Black Rain (1989)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLym5UgCOJE&list=FLkYkVvG5M1Pg5wqcXwNam_Q&index=11&feature=plpp_video

I was wondering if Ridley's lights and lighting methods could be broken down?

Im not super familiar with equipment, but I recognize a pattern in his lighting style (fog diffusion/atmosphere, Silent Film references such as Metropolis and Beauty and the Beast, facial edge rim lighting with fill and hard fall off, etc), I just cant break down how he does it with equipment.

Even comparisons to how he lights his films today would be welcome.

Any advice would be really appreciated.

Thank you.

Edited by Francisco Martins, 02 September 2012 - 05:38 PM.

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#2 blake williams

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 09:46 AM

Great initiative.

In my opinion, these are 4 of the most beautiful films ever shot (I would also put 1492: conquest of paradise on that list). I am also dying to know more about how it was accomplished. I know the audio commentaries for these pictures by heart, unfortunately Scott dont go into much technical detail about the images.
also I would love to know more about the grading for the films (not Blade runner:the final cut which looked terrible).

I don't know who would have this knowledge to share with us though.
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#3 Sean Terance Fisk

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Posted 21 September 2012 - 04:20 PM

I LOVE these movies! Really beautiful. Seriously, anyone out there with any moer nfo about how they were shot? I'm really curious now!
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#4 John Holland

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Posted 21 September 2012 - 04:25 PM

Ridley Scott likes his visuals , but he doesnt light the pictures .Maybe you should look more into who the DoP's were on the films you are talking about ?
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#5 Francisco Martins

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Posted 22 September 2012 - 12:17 AM

That's four different DPs, one with few other credits, another with nothing much else notable, and then Jan de Bont. As far as I've learned studying Ridley Scott, he has such a strong visual command that he makes most of the decisions as far as cinematography but takes input from his DP like a good director should do. As a result, there is a commonality to his cinematography in the 80s, 90s and 00s (each decade distinctive in one look). That's why I started this thread, to break down his 80's lighting, arguably his best.
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#6 blake williams

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 12:10 PM

that is exactly right. A Ridley Scott film looks like a Ridley Scott film, so i believe the cinematographers were directed very specifically by him. Jan de Bont is the only one left to ask about that, all the others have passed away (incl Adrian Biddle if we include 1942/Thelma and Louise)
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#7 Geoff Howell

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 01:00 PM

Here's a grab from Jordan Cronenweth's work on Cutter's Way which predates Blade Runner

Posted Image
Same back lighting through venetian blinds,
same diffusion through hazy atmosphere,
same cold color palette

All the above mentioned DPs brought more to these films than they're being given credit for
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#8 John Holland

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 01:53 PM

Yes they did .
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FJS International, LLC

Willys Widgets

The Slider

Abel Cine

Glidecam

Visual Products

Ritter Battery

CineTape

Wooden Camera

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Rig Wheels Passport